Having emerged from lockdown in flying form, taking seven points from their first three matches, Newcastle have now stuttered to a halt once the pressure of relegation dissipated. The Magpies have just one point from the last three Premier League matches, conceding nine goals.
Steve Bruce’s side have nothing but pride to play for, and the manager should be commended for guiding this side to safety with six matches of the season remaining, and One man who has been quick to shower the Newcastle boss with praise is Dion Dublin.
The Premier League Golden Boot winner even went as far as to make a prediction the Toon army would love to see come true.
What did he say?
Speaking to the BBC, via The Mag, about Bruce, Dublin stated: “That is why he is respected by the players and manager alike because he doesn’t blab off about what he is going to do, what he should be doing, or what the hierarchy should be doing.”
“At the moment Allan Saint-Maximin is exciting, the Newcastle fans love him. He might be that one player who can help Bruce take this team forward, help them to get strong,” added the ex-England striker.
Dublin finished by saying: “Bruce has got a nice squad of players, and if he is allowed the time to add to that, I think he is the man who could take Newcastle back to where they were.”
Long road ahead
If by ‘back to where Newcastle were’ Dublin is referring to challenging for Europe and reaching domestic cup finals, then this side has a long way to go yet. The fact that Bruce has taken strides forward despite challenging circumstances off the field, which have meant he has almost no interaction with the current or prospective owners, is commendable. Furthermore, the Tyneside finally experienced an FA Cup quarter-final after a 14-year wait, even if there was nobody present to witness it.
It is also easy to overlook that during the hectic festive fixture schedule Bruce had a catalogue of injuries Argos would be proud of. The manager himself described the situation as the worst he had experienced in his 22 years in the dugout. By January 11, Newcastle had suffered 22 injuries, leading to players missing 434 days of action, with the epicenter of the crisis being when the Toon lost four players in under 50 minutes on New Year’s Day.
Irrespective of the takeover, seeing where Bruce could take this squad without all the chaos he has experienced during his first term on Tyneside will be incredibly intriguing. Undoubtedly, he will be hoping for a smoother ride next season, and if he can get this side to a domestic cup semi-final or the fringes of European qualification, then fans might start to believe in Dublin’s comments.