“Callum is four weeks in, so we’re seeing him on the grass and he’s progressing, That goes for Allan and Almiron as well.”

Not my words, but the words of Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce trying to give an update on the injuries to his key attacking players.

It isn’t clear what Callum is actually “in” and the least said about him (or Allan or Almiron) being “on the grass” the better! If anyone knows what Mr Bruce was actually trying to say – answers on a postcard to UTD111 Towers please!

The match with Aston Villa is fast approaching and I’ve never known so much apathy amongst Newcastle United fans. It’s more than apathy really. Hope of salvaging the season and avoiding relegation left town weeks ago and the current run of two wins in eighteen games has left us despondent and angry – especially as we know that with the players at our disposal all of this could have been avoided.

Not many fans are talking about whether we can beat Villa. The chat seems to be more about how many we will lose by or whether Bruce will scrape a point with his ultra-defensive set-up, and the kind of dismal performance we saw in our last game at West Bromwich Albion.

Whatever happened to Bruce’s claim “I’m going to do it my way”? Was the idea not that we might start playing on the front foot and actually venturing over the halfway line now and again to try to bang in a few goals?

Team selection by our current manager seems to leave many fans mystified and scratching our heads.

At West Bromwich Albion it felt like a game from the lower reaches of the Championship, with both teams absolutely abysmal. Yet it could have been different. The NUFC subs for that match included Carroll, Ritchie, Gayle, Lewis, Fernandez, Manquillo, Murphy and Sean Longstaff. Would these players not have been a better option from the off? What has happened to Matty Longstaff, the scourge of Manchester United, who Bruce has banished to play with the bairns.

Performances like our non-performance at West Bromwich are even worse when viewed against the recent performances of Scotty Parker’s Fulham, who are playing football the way it is meant to be played, and as a result are brimming with confidence to the point where they can go to Liverpool and win. Contrast that with the mood on Tyneside and our own squad and it is clear there are some glaring problems with the current management which also is affecting the squad.

Bruce’s latest pronouncements go something like this:

“I’ve said it many times, the buck stops with me, I understand that totally”

“We started the season trying to get into the top ten, probably because we finished 13th last season and we would like to have improved on what we accomplished last year”

“When I analyse the season, and now is probably not the right time, then we were going along very nicely until Covid hit. Then we’ve had injuries to our big players, and that’s been a really big problem to handle”

“That’s what it is, that’s what we’ve been dealt with. I don’t think people will want to use that as an excuse, and at the end of the day, we’ve still got an opportunity to climb up the table and finish somewhere near to where we finished last year. I think all of us will accept that and take it now. It’s not what we set out to be, but that’s the way it is at the minute.”

At the end of the day, fans couldn’t give a monkeys where the buck stops. And we don’t care about the list of excuses which get trotted out after each failure.

We want our team to stay in the Premier League. To do that we need wins.

To get wins we need a manager capable of picking and organising a team from the players available who will go out and get those wins – not try to just scrape a point here and there.

And it needs to start against Aston Villa tonight.

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

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