The Newcastle mauling: now for the inquest (1)


It is an inquest that will run and run. Salut! Sunderland repeats, without further, unnecessary comment of its own, the statements emanating from SAFC following the Nightmare of St James’ Park:

Niall Quinn, chairman, at the club site …

“It is entirely appropriate that we apologise to our fans.

Whilst acknowledging the hurt that this defeat has caused, I would like to emphasise that everyone at this club will face the music together.

Last night the owner and myself sat and reflected on the day’s events and we are as defiant as ever that this club is going to make progress.

While everybody here is suffering, the players’ hurt must be galvanized into a big performance on Saturday.

I’m not asking anyone to have sympathy for us but we are confident that the solution will be found within the walls of our dressing room. We may have to spend a long time apologising but this entire football club knows that it owes its people right now and for me that is the priority. “

Darren Bent, via Twitter …

“Just wanna apologise to all the fans who went to the game and watched else where. Didn’t go the way we wanted. We are hurting too. We promise too put this right. Starting with stoke next week.”

Steve Bruce. To me (yeah, OK, and to one or two others) …

“Dear Colin,

We’ve got a group of people who will have to apologise.

No excuses. We were beaten well and truly. We were naïve and didn’t handle the occasion at all.

I know it will take a lot to win the fans back over. We’ve let ourselves down and it couldn’t have happened at a worse place.

It was the worst performance since I’ve been in charge.

To come and let that happen at Newcastle is very disappointing for us all. The whole thing accumulated into a terrible afternoon for us.

My message to you is – we apologise.

To witness that is difficult to take and there’ll be a few – me included – who have a repair job and rightly so.

All the best,

Steve Bruce “

Colin Randall

16 thoughts on “The Newcastle mauling: now for the inquest (1)”

  1. Well said Martin – this was a terrible setback, but we’re going in the right direction and SB will get us there.
    I was drenched cycling back to N. Tyneside from the Blue Bell on Sunday, but had my first sight of blue sky today and it looked wonderful.
    We don’t need wholesale changes; this team needs to be tweaked and gradually added to – there will be more setbacks, but we’ll improve.
    I’ve already forgiven the players if there was anything to forgive, I love Niall, have confidence in Brucie and feel sure these lads will take us forward.
    I’ll be at the SOL on Sat. with optimism.
    See you there.

  2. A few words on the 4-4-2 discussion.
    First, 4-5-1 works if everyone is up for it (see my comment from yesterday) and if we have one or more midfield players capable of getting into the box quickly when the ball goes wide. Clearly, we don’t. Malbranque has been our best shot and it hasn’t worked. Riveros might be the one but we can’t tell. Cattermole can’t get there and Henderson (and I know this is debatable) isn’t a central midfield player.
    Now, 4-4-2. Ferguson knows what it takes to play this way. You need TWO exceptional central midfield players. He has been blessed with many, Keane, Scholes,Butt,Ince,Robson,McClair etc,etc. They have been the key to success. He knows that. When he was a bit short he tried what he thought was the world’s best eg Veron. It failed but he tried.
    You can have adequate wingers and OK forwards but its the two in midfield that are key. They often have to get the ball from three and be capable of bringing in the wingers.
    Sunderland ? We don’t have that. With 4-4-2 we wouldn’t have enough of the ball. We are difficult to beat now (excluding the debacle) precisely because we’ve had the ball more this season.
    The solution ? There isn’t one. At this point, I would continue with 4-5-1 and look for a young and hungry forward thinking midfielder in the window. Personally, I think thats about all we need to become a decent team.

  3. So it is better to play a man utd loanee..over a 13 million pound world cup player if bruce thinks that is the way forward then i cannot work that one out..why spend that money ???surely its a no brainer…..

  4. Ifos, this is exactly what I’ve been saying! But I’ve been slated for it. Quiin, especially, keeps saying how he wants European football, we will not get it under Bruce. Remember when we were looking for a manager and Mancini said he had accepted an offer? I was excited, Roberto Mancini was going to be manager, I don’t know what happened 10 mins after this, but it turns out their was no offer and a few days later we employ Bruce. Steve Bruce. The man who has never been any where near Europe, and someone who has never been past the 4th round of the FA Cup. His tactics are our downfall

  5. Ifos – I will answer your question. I’ve been going to matches since 1971 and with the exception of those 2 years under Peter Reid when we finished 7th, I have had to endure some pretty dire teams – let me tell yer!! Unless you go back more than half a century, I’m pretty sure you can’t come up with a better team, unless I was in a coma for a few years and missed it. And if I was in a coma, I certainly can’t remember it.

    Nobody could have predicted the stuffing we got the other day – and to their credit, even the majority of Newcastle fans have expressed their surprise.

    However, the same team in the same formation performed amazingly well against Man City, Arsenal, Man U and Liverpool. Can you ever remember us giving the big boys a game, consistently, in the way we have done recently? I Can’t. We usually put 11 men behind the ball and run around waving a white flag. Not only did we compete, we could quite possibly have won all four games, and were undoubtedly the better side. Doesn’t that give you a little pride in your team and your manager? Or would you rather go back to the days of Lawrie McMenemy, and join me on a trip to Southend?

    Yes – they looked scared. They have since admitted that they were intimidated by the occasion and the atmosphere. And we have to agree that the atmosphere was as highly charged as it can get. If SB had an antidote for human frailties I’m sure he would buy a few bottles. Hell – I would invest in some myself!! But let’s not take away from Newcastle, and how they took advantage of it, and how it evidently inspired them. They were immense, and the atmosphere would have played a part. But against the big clubs there was no evidence of nerves and apprehension. You can’t blame Brucie for not changing a successful formula! I’m sure he would concede that with the benefit of hindsight, he would change it up. Had he done so and we suffered the same fate, he would have been equally damned by the likes of you. I have been critical of the limpness of the performance, but for me the players have to take the majority of the blame. Tactically he got it wrong – he would tell you that himself. But like Bill Taylor said in a previous post, it’s one game. Let’s take it on the chin and move on.

    Nobody can disagree that we are not scoring goals. Brucie has gone to great pains to identify that as the number 1 priority.

    As for the world cup stars warming the bench. I would trust Bruces judgement over yours mate. Sorry n’ all, but I think he’s a little more qualified than yourself when it comes to player selection. I like Paulo Da Silva, but his performances in the Premiership have not been anywhere near as strong as when he plays for Paraguay. I wish he could turn it on in the same way, but our other boys have been better options at club level. Riveros needs to bed in, and like Bruce has said repeatedly, South Americans generally take about a year to adjust. Although I would like to see him start some games now.

    Bruce has an exceptional record managing teams with a limited budget. The majority of his transfer dealings have been tip-top at every club he has managed. Yes – we have “issues” – you rightly point them out. But we have a young talented squad. He’s been with us for less than 2 years, and in that time we are looking slicker than I can ever remember and I stick by that!! I’m sure Steve wakes up every day and reminds himself that he “must prove Infos wrong”. Or maybe he just has a coffee and an egg sandwich and occupies himself with matters of greater importance.

  6. I’m not entirely sure how long Martin has been going to matches, but to say this team plays the most attractive football he’s seen begs a few questions. We’ve scored 8 goals this season, poor by any stretch of the imagination, and actually, yes, Bruce is responsible for the performance on the pitch, he’s the manager. If our players looked like rabbits in headlights then it says something about the players he’s bought and picked. I’ll remind you that he had on the bench players who have appeared in world cup quarter finals, semi finals, european matches, etc and he chose to put out ‘boys’ who looked like what they are, untried and untested potentially good players, instead of more experienced heads who won’t crack in a pressurised situation.
    So, yes, I do blame Bruce for his tactics, his selections and his substitutions.
    To the Newcastle supporters who let fly with accusations of being fickle, for some of us Bruce was never the answer, not because of his roots, but because of his average managerial record across a decade. Something I’m still waiting for him to prove me wrong about.

  7. Mensah, Gyan, Riveros? Why isn’t SB playing them? All stars of the World Cup and they warm the bench. We need 2 up front, we played well with 2 up top, just think of the Burden on Bent’s shoulders because let’s be honest, who looks like scoring from our defensive midfield?

  8. I hope now that instead of leaving 13 million pounds on the bench he will change and have two pacy lads up front.Richardson at right back onuoha in the middle alongside mensah.. drop turner and have bolo in the middle cos henderson is starting to look a little star struck

  9. For one of the first times in my life I am finding myself agreeing with Newcastle fans!! Phil – have a word mate. Sometimes in any sport a team or an individual can have a nightmare day. They don’t go out there with a pre-meditated intention to flop!!

    All the tactics and sound management in the world couldn’t prevent what happened at St James’s. Newcastle were outstanding. They had the mental strength, and the belief, they passed it better than us and they out-muscled us within fair parameters. I for one am brave enough to concede that, but I refuse to chuck my teddies after one result, despite the hurt I am feeling.

    There’s something different about a Derby game. It’s a frenetic, all-hands-on-deck, 100-yard-dash, not for the faint hearted!! Steve Bruce rightly identifies the crucial element of any team is to have the characters to go out and deal with that kind of pressure. Trust me – one or two changes to the team would not have made a difference. I can’t remember a team demonstrating such a huge desire to win a game as Newcastle did. That’s what they had in abundance, and it’s what we lacked. In fact – we were like bunny’s in the headlights, seemingly content to roll over. How can Steve Bruce be responsible for that??? All the players will tell you he’s one of the best motivators, and best man-managers in the game. I have witnessed this team play more attractive football than I have ever seen at our place, and however devastating it was to be torn apart by our close rivals, I want to support SB and especially Niall Quinn. The above (genuine) comments typify both of them, and demonstrate how much in touch they are with how the fans feel. It is mind-bendingly stupid to suggest heads must roll.

    After a humiliation such as we witnessed, it is excellent strategy to come out and say that they are more determined than ever to make progress. It is consolation, however scant, to read their ernest response to the defeat.

    Newcastle fans can attest to how damaging it can be to make sweeping decisions based on knee jerk reaction. On that point, if Ashley doesn’t give Chris Hughton a handsome contract, his brain is as small as his stomach is large!!

    By the way, personally, I would like to see Darren Bent playing with Andy Carroll for England!!

    It’s onwards and hopefully upwards, and I agree with Andy Mac. Long may Tyne-Wear derby’s continue!!

  10. toon ffan here

    every fan from every team has felt like you today,

    but like iv said on another post inhere, proud to be from thenorth east ,, you area credit to your club

  11. Not a typical Geordie but Toon through and through nonetheless. I write not to poke fun or abuse but just to commiserate. If the score had been reversed I know only too well how badly I’d take it so get over it quickly and make Stoke pay for it.

    Whatever else is said about these games, the Premier League is the poorer when there are no Tyne Wear derbies. We missed it last season so lets hope we’re both in this league for many years to come and maybe just maybe you’ll get a chance to right those wrongs ?

    But dont hold your breath 🙂

  12. Heads must roll?

    Typical knee jerk reaction after one heavy defeat! Tell me, who will come to save sunderland IF SB is fired?

    Christ, look beyond losing one game to your nearest rivals. Two weeks ago Bruce was just what the doctor ordered.

    And you call us NUFC fans fickle and delusional!!!

  13. Apologies are all and well.

    The game was a total embarrassment for all Sunderland fans.

    People need to have a serious look at themselves – What they did before the game, as well as what they did do/didn’t do during it.

    If anyone, at the club, believes that a simple apology is sufficient then they are deluding themselves.

    Heads must roll!!

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