Rafael Benitez might have been a man adored by the Toon Army for his ambition, pedigree and ability to work miracles with a side many would have deemed Championship quality, but it is impossible to argue that his football was enjoyable to watch.
It was always about getting the result no matter what – a system that worked in pulling off shock results against the likes of Manchester City but left fans falling asleep in the stands.
With Steve Bruce arriving under unceremonious circumstances, many of the supporters writing him off before he had even stepped through the door at St James’ Park, he was always facing a fight to win them over.
The football on show has been a little more expansive, offering more shots that Benitez’s side might have, but it has once again struggled to provide goals, with just three in their opening four games in the Premier League – the same amount Brighton netted on the opening day of the campaign.
Despite the likes of Joelinton and Miguel Almiron struggling to make the desired impact, Bruce has admitted his focus is on the other end of the pitch.
He told the Chronicle: “The one area we are going to have to put a lot of work into is in defence. Our defensive organisation has to be spot on to give yourself any type of platform.
“We will have to keep it to that and make sure those standards stay high.
“The next step, which will take weeks and months, is the hardest one. It’s creativity and that little bit of something that will cause a threat to other teams.”
Weeks and months? Newcastle do not have weeks and months to find a creative spark – they could be left floundering at the bottom of the table if it takes that long.
Not only that, but continuing to play pragmatic, boring football – without getting results, of course – is going to do absolutely nothing to endear him to the supporters at St James’ Park.
They want to see the best of Joelinton, Almiron and the rest of their attackers sooner rather than later – and getting them firing on all cylinders in November or December might be too late.
Bruce is risking the wrath of the fans on Tyneside with his approach – the question is whether it will it come back to bite him?