I’ve noticed that there has been a marked increase in the last month or so in arguments breaking out amongst Newcastle United fans about the relative merits of Steve Bruce and Rafa Benitez.

It originally started with the media constantly reminding us that Bruce has “more points than Benitez had at this stage last season” and doing it week after week ad nauseum.

At the time, I put that one down to a media who largely appear to side with the current regime at the club deliberately mounting a campaign trying to convince us to move on from Rafa, accept Bruce and above all stop protesting.

Reading various posts on social media, it seems that some fans have indeed been converted to Bruce-o-philes, even to the point of starting to look back at Rafa’s record here and slagging off the great man and his tactics.

Also, since many long-term fans gave up their season tickets to support the various protests, and have been replaced by newcomers and 10,000 grateful freeloaders, there has even been at least one occurrence of some of these people chanting for Bruce to “give us a wave”.

Personally, I stopped mourning Rafa’s departure shortly after he left, as did a number of fans, I reckon. I’ll always be grateful for what he did but life goes on, and coming to terms with hard facts and setbacks – like losing your job, illness or Rafa moving on – is all part of how we live our lives.

I also decided to ignore the strange media campaign about Bruce having “more points than Benitez had at this stage last season” because, like most statistics, it’s total twaddle. Comparison of this season’s points total with last season is nonsense because we’ve played different teams, in a different order, in different conditions, with different players etc

Clearly, that is not a like for like comparison whichever way you look at it – just like most of the statistics quoted in the media.


The whole Rafa v Bruce argument misses the point, however.

The problem at our club has always been and will always remain the owner and his inability, for whatever reason, to make the necessary funding available for a club this size to invest the money needed to improve the infrastructure and the playing squad. He simply doesn’t seem to have the resources or the will to fund us at Premier League level.

To add some balance, the owner recognises this, and has actually said so in public, and as a result we are told he is actively trying to sell the club.

Against this background, arguing about individual managers or “head coaches” is therefore a bit like being on the Titanic and arguing over who has got the best deck chair!

Yes the managers named have markedly different track records. One world class and the other,at best, a regular journeyman. But both have had the common problem of trying to produce a good team with limited support and resources. Although I don’t remember Rafa being given £40M to spend on a striker – but that’s a discussion for another day.

For the reasons set out above, I would suggest having a go at Steve Bruce is unfair. He’s doing his best with what he has and what he’s given. Just like every manager we’ve had during the current ownership period. I just wish the media would stop telling us he’s a “geordie born & bred” when he was born in Corbridge and is therefore a Northumbrian!

Equally, questioning what Rafa did whilst here is also unfair as he did his very best with the resources given to him, as the consummate professional that he is.

Rafa had a vision, a project plan for how we could go forward and build something special here, but came to realise it was not a vision shared by the powers that be.

We are where we are. It is what it is.

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

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