Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley do not “seem to care” as they “drive” Newcastle United back down to the Championship, according to Stan Collymore.
The Magpies are on a wretched run of form. They have only won two of their previous 20 games in all competitions dating back to their 5-2 loss to Leeds United in December.
This barren stretch has seen them plummet down the Premier League table. They are now just two points above the bottom three, but they do have a game in hand over nearest rivals Fulham.
As cited by The Chronicle, Collymore suggested that Bruce’s squad do not believe in him:
“Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley are the worst double act in Premier League history.
“They are driving Newcastle down to the Championship, and neither seem to care.
“If they did, Bruce would have resigned after that desperate defeat to Brighton, one of the least competitive performances in the Geordies’ recent history.
“Or Ashley would have woken up on Monday morning and cleared the decks, sacked Bruce, and lanced the discontent among Newcastle players that is poisoning the training ground.
“Instead, Ashley stood behind Bruce, admired his “passion” and experience… despite the rest of the world seeing he’s well past his sell-by date.
Sometimes I praise owners for giving a head coach time, but not after seeing what has unfolded at St James’ Park since mid-December.
“Two wins in 20 games, 13 defeats, only 14 goals scored and 35 against.
“He’s got a squad who don’t believe in him, and who downed tools at the weekend, showing no fighting spirit or pride. Totally directionless.
“This is not a bad collection of players. They are a lower mid-table outfit.
“Bruce’s first season was ok, helped by the drilling and organisation left behind by Rafa Benitez. But this term it’s unravelled.
“Bruce never seems to be the one to take the blame. He shirks responsibility. Matt Ritchie called him a “coward”, so others have noticed too.
“He exudes misery… talking up average opposition, moaning about injuries, and talking in meaningless generalities.. while rival coaches give insightful detailed answers.
With Ashley, it feels personal. Like he wants to mess the club around because he feels personally wounded because of the stick he’s taken.
“He’s the in-house aggressor, the more fans say they want him out, or journalists, the more he won’t. There’s an element of spite: ‘I own this club and I’ll do what I like, on my terms’.
“What is on Bruce’s CV that means he deserves to boss Newcastle, or his past clubs Sunderland, Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, or proves he can make these clubs better? He goes in, there’s a little bump and leaves them no better off, distinctly average.
“By keeping Steve Bruce at the club Ashley is saying “the more you moan, I am leaving him there”.
“They might get away with it and stay up. But poor Newcastle fans have gone from thinking they’re being taken over by Saudi Arabia and signing Mbappe, to a relegation fight, in the space of a few months. That’s as bad as it gets. From hope, to decline and possibly relegation.”