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Steve Bruce retains the full backing and support of Newcastle United despite growing fan unrest

Luke Edwards
·2-min read
Steve Bruce Newcastle manager - PA
Steve Bruce Newcastle manager - PA

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce retains the full backing and support of owner Mike Ashley despite growing calls for him to be sacked by angry supporters who insist there has been no evidence of progress being made with the team.

Newcastle were comfortably beaten by Chelsea at St James Park on Saturday, their second successive defeat and their fourth in the Premier League in nine games this season.

Disturbingly for fans, Newcastle’s performances, with the exception of the wins over West Ham, Burnley and Everton in the league, along with the 7-0 thrashing of Morecambe in the Carabao Cup, have been poor.

Bruce’s team are close to, or at the bottom, of the table in almost every statistical measurement for attacking play and are also allowing teams more shots and possession in the final third than any other side. Against Chelsea, only two excellent saves from goalkeeper Karl Darlow and some poor finishing from the visitors kept the scoreline respectable.

Although Bruce talked about the team improving on last season’s 13th place finish in the summer, while shifting to a more attacking style of play that is more entertaining for fans to watch, he has not been able to deliver it.

Newcastle's Ciaran Clark left reacts after the Newcastle v Chelsea Premier League match  - NMC Pool
Newcastle's Ciaran Clark left reacts after the Newcastle v Chelsea Premier League match - NMC Pool

Instead, having been beaten too easily at Southampton before the international break, Bruce has talked openly about returning to the same unambitious, hard to beat, principles that ground out results last season in order to survive in the top flight for another year.

With no fans inside the stadium, it is difficult to assess just how angry and disillusioned Newcastle supporters have become over the last few weeks, but on social media Bruce Out has been trending on Tyneside and the majority of fanzines and podcasts have started to ask whether it is time for the manager to be sacked.

However, Telegraph Sport understands that Bruce is not under any pressure behind the scenes with both owner Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley far more appreciative of the job he has done given he had his transfer budget cut by around £40m in the summer, which severely restricted his plans to improve the squad.

Ashley has always been reluctant to sack managers and is said to be happy with the fact Newcastle remain eight points clear of the bottom three, while also progressing to a second cup quarter final in the space of a year.

Newcastle play Brentford in the Carabao Cup in December and with games against Aston Villa, West Brom, Leeds and Fulham before that cup tie, there is confidence results and performances will improve.

Sources have indicated that although the club are aware of growing unrest on social media, they will not make decisions based on what is perceived to be anger and animosity towards the manager whipped up by a vocal minority.