Hargreaves: I don’t blame fans for staying away

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Newcastle United fans have shown an awful lot of patience down the years.

Through 12 years of Mike Ashley ownership, plus innumerable failed managerial experiments, they have had more than their fair share of drama and disappointment to put up with.

And this season doesn’t look as if it’s going to be much better in those departments.

With Steve Bruce at the helm, the Magpies have had fewer shots than everybody expect Norwich City and Sheffield United so far this season, and have made fewer passes than everybody but Burnley, as per the Premier League.

So when you couple that kind of underwhelming output with the ongoing Ashley saga, it’s little wonder that the club posted their lowest home attendance in eight years against Brighton on Saturday.

Just over 43,000 turned up to watch a turgid bore draw, and honestly, the ones who stayed away were probably the lucky ones.

And that was a view shared by Owen Hargreaves.

Speaking to the Premier League, as quoted by the Chronicle, the former England international said: “You have one of the best fanbases in the country behind you. Get them onside, go and have a go, press them and force them into mistakes.

“I am surprised they were so negative and if that is what is on offer then I don’t blame the fans for staying away.”

United had just 29% possession against the Seagulls, and Hargreaves’ comments make it painfully clear as to what Steve Bruce must do to get fans rallying around him.

Play some positive football, approach matches with a bit of guile, and maybe you will start getting backsides on seats again.

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