What’s the story?
Indeed, the former Scotland international was reportedly close to re-joining Bournemouth back in January but a lack of new arrivals meant he had to stay at St. James’ Park for the rest of the season at least.
Who’s in the wrong?
With Ritchie thought to have called Bruce a ‘coward’, it would be easy to blame him for the apparent training ground bust-up.
Still, Bruce did blame him for his role in Wolves’ recent equaliser and – while that may be true – it’s not exactly Ritchie’s fault that Newcastle have had a miserable season under Bruce’s watch. The 60-year-old has constantly been criticised for his decisions and though his players haven’t always been on top form, he is the man who should ultimately be held responsible.
Ritchie has struggled this season (his averages for tackles and interceptions are down this year compared to last) and Bruce did talk about the player needing to get his head right after his January move broke down, so it’s far from an ideal situation for anybody.
Still, with other players also thought to have been annoyed about Bruce’s treatment of certain individuals, the manager does appear to be the common denominator.
Whoever is truly to blame, this is simply not a good look for a team fighting against relegation while blighted by injuries.