Graeme Souness has always had a slightly strained relationship with Newcastle United.
The Scot was hardly a success during his time as manager at St. James’ Park, and has failed to hold another job in the dugout since his departure in 2006.
Not that he’s needed one, of course, and he now sits atop an ivory tower of elite punditry – the snarling, straight-talking Simon Cowell of Sky Sports’ Super Sunday.
Still, however, you get the impression that Souness is not the type of character to forgive and forget easily, and time and time again he has shown that when discussing his former employers.
Take his latest comments from the Magpies’ 1-0 win over Tottenham at the weekend.
A wholly unexpected result, it has certainly led to a greater feeling of optimism after a pretty dire opening fortnight to the new campaign.
And Souness was quick to suggest that the Toon Army have been wrong to offer up such a negative view on Bruce’s early tenure.
Speaking on Sky Sports, as quoted by the Chronicle (15.45), when referring to criticism of Bruce, he said: “It does hurt him. I would always question the people who were criticising him. What have they done in the game?
“Newcastle have to accept that there is a big gap between the top six and the rest.”
There are two real takeaways from Souness’ comments.
Firstly, what kind of precedent does it set if pundits are out here suggesting that fans cannot criticise managers for fear of upsetting them.
Nobody is suggesting that there should be negativity for negativity’s sake, but equally, anybody who watched the Toon Army over the first two weeks of the season and felt anything other than concern for the rest of their season would be nothing short of delusional. One game does not and should not change that.
Secondly, Souness seems to have it in his head that all United supporters believe they have the god given right to be a top six side.
That’s simply not true. There is a big difference between having delusions of grandeur and wanting some kind of respectable effort from the club you love.
Worrying because you have just seen your side crumble at newly promoted Norwich City does not mean that you believe you deserve a league title.
Ultimately, as talented and as experienced as he is, Souness needs to stop ;getting his history with Newcastle cloud his perception of the situation on Tyneside.