Newcastle United have planned “clear the air talks” for later in the week, and it is surely a worrying sign of how bad things have already gotten under Steve Bruce at St. James’ Park.
The Magpies suffered a dreadful 5-0 defeat to Leicester City on Sunday afternoon, and according to a report from The Guardian, that loss was felt so heavily that the Toon boss instructed his players to stay away from training on Monday.
The article also states that the Toon Army are set for reconciliatory talks between players and coaching staff at some point in the coming days as emotions reached “boiling point” after the final whistle at the King Power Stadium.
And the fact that Bruce, just seven games into his Premier League career at Tyneside, is having to resort to such drastic measures, shows how quickly things are beginning to spin out of control for the 58-year-old.
Make no mistake, this is a United side in real trouble.
So far this season they have registered the fewest shots of any side in the division, as per the Premier League, and only Burnley have managed to put less passes together.
The Magpies are spluttering and stuttering their way through a campaign that was always going to be tricky in the wake of Rafa Benitez’s departure over the summer, and to call a summit like this so early into Bruce’s tenure does not bode well for him going forward.
Of course, these talks could prove to be the catalyst on which Newcastle’s season hinges, and they could prove the doubters wrong by kicking on after getting all of their issues out there on the table.
But the truth is that it’s difficult to arrest a slump like the one they currently find themselves in, and this feels more like the harbinger of some seriously difficult questions that Bruce may not hold the answer to.