Steve Howey was a striker who was never going to make it at Newcastle United, even in the second tier.
Switched to centre-back, Steve Howey not only became a Newcastle United regular in the Premier League, under Kevin Keegan he became an England international.
Now active as a media pundit, Steve Howey appears to have returned to the kind of performance level he showed when trying to make it as a centre-forward.
Steve Howey talking about Steve Bruce and the job he is doing at Newcastle United, speaking to This is Futbol:
“For me, at the moment, being manager at Newcastle United is like a poisoned chalice.
“You could get a top manager in, but if you’re not giving them the funds to buy the right players, then you are always going to struggle.
“I can’t think of anybody who could do better [than Steve Bruce] because top managers would want a vast amount of money to spend, and I don’t think they would get it from the owner.”
The media don’t do ‘subtle’ in any kind of way when it comes to lecturing Newcastle United fans on their club.
It isn’t even ‘subtle’ to be able to talk about the two very different but connected things.
Firstly, Mike Ashley’s ownership and how he runs the club.
Secondly, Steve Bruce’s performance at Ashley’s club.
With Mike Ashley, Newcastle United are always going to be a strange club, one that will never be given the chance of reaching its full potential, whatever that might be…
However, the separate question is, with this group of players and having been allowed a net spend of over £100m by Mike Ashley since arriving 22 months ago, should Newcastle have struggled so badly and with only six days until the season finishes, find themselves still to reach 40 points and having had to rely on three woeful teams at the very bottom to ensure safety is guaranteed at this point?
Turning the question / point around, I honestly don’t think any other Premier League manager could have done as bad as Steve Bruce has done with these players and the relatively decent net spend he has been allowed (unlike Rafa Benitez who wasn’t allowed any net spend over the course of his three years in the job).
If Steve Howey was asked the following question and was honest, then it tells you everything…
If Steve Bruce left Newcastle United this summer and looked for another job, would he get offered one in the Premier League, or would it be a return to the Championship (or lower) where his previous three jobs had been before Mike Ashley employed him?
We all know the answer and that tells you everything, fans of other Premier League clubs are happy to taunt Newcastle supporters by saying what a great job Steve Bruce has done, until you turn it back on them and say well why don’t you have him?
Five wins in the last twenty seven games, two wins in the last twelve Premier League matches at home, six wins in the Premier League at St James Park in the entire fourteen and a half months that games have been played behind closed doors.
Rafa Benitez recruited a top quality goalkeeper for only £4m and with very little other money built a disciplined excellent defence in front of him, only six PL clubs conceded less than Newcastle in 2018/19 and only six in 2019/20. This season so far, with two games remaining, only West Brom and Southampton (conceded one more than NUFC and they conceded nine in one game alone against Man Utd) have conceded more than Newcastle.
At St James Park, Steve Bruce’s team have collected only 20 points from 18 home games so far, if they fail to beat Sheffield United it will be the absolute worst of the Premier League era, less than the current lowest of 22 scored in 2008/09 when Mike Ashley relegated Newcastle just less than two years into his ownership.
Even if Sheffield United fail to score though on Wednesday, Newcastle United this season have conceded the most goals at home of any PL season, 33 in the first 18 St James Park matches ensuring the worst ever goals conceded at home total, in this PL era.