The Mirror’s chief football reporter, speaking to Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement, claims that the lack of resolution over a potential takeover in the summer, with Mike Ashley remaining as the owner, has the players questioning the direction the club is going.
He says that the squad are not going to be 100 per cent focused on their duties on the pitch and that some of Bruce’s plans and tactics will be ignored or forgotten.
As quoted on Sky Sports’ website, Cross said: “The club is basically treading water, which is not all Bruce’s fault.
“Until Mike Ashley decides one way or another to stay or go, the players can feel this complete paralysis around them over where the club is going.
“With that level on uncertainly, frankly some of the manager’s instructions are going to go straight through them.”
If the Newcastle players were distracted by the summer takeover talk, they need to get over it. They simply cannot afford to be focused on anything than getting results right now, especially after their bitterly disappointing defeat to Norwich. Bruce will have known how difficult the job at St James’ Park was going to be before taking it on but he would have also expected to have the players ready to hit the ground running this season. That does not appear to be the case and he needs to figure out a way to get everyone pulling in the same direction. If he feels the takeover talk is causing issues, then he needs to get on the phone to managing director Lee Charnley and get answers about Ashley’s future at the club. As for the players, they know that nothing is going to drastically change until the January transfer window opens and that they just need to work as a team to avoid the threat of relegation.