A situation quickly developed at St James Park after promotion, where Rafa Benitez, the fans and Newcastle United players created a three-way bond.
This undoubtedly was a massive help in a difficult couple of year after promotion.
Mike Ashley was obviously the one cut out of this mutual respect three-way relationship, as he repeatedly undermined the manager, fans and players, with a refusal to allow proper investment in the squad, facilities and club infrastructure as a whole.
The biggest benefit of the three-way arrangement came when times got tough.
Despite some pretty dismal runs of results at times, the Newcastle fans kept faith.
They trusted Rafa Benitez to get things sorted given time both seasons and there was also a degree of trust in the Newcastle United players as well.
Partly that was down to respect for Rafa and his judgement but also because the Newcastle United players when they all played well and tried their best and followed Rafa’s detailed instructions, proved themselves to be just about good enough as a unit in the Premier League.
If they ever dropped below that line of giving it everything and following Benitez’ instructions, then you could normally easily tell on the pitch.
In the post-Rafa era we all understood that the Newcastle United players wouldn’t be constantly pointing out how great Benitez was and how rubbish Steve Bruce is, after all that is our (the fans’) job!
However, surely it was always going to be best that the players said the bare minimum, kept their heads down, then showed it on the pitch that it was a seamless transition, it wasn’t Rafa Benitez who had been the overwhelming factor.
As I said, you don’t expect players to talk negatively about the current manager/head coach, or indeed would want them too, as at the end of the day their job is just to get on and do it on the pitch, regardless of who is in charge.
However, I think a fair few Newcastle United players have significantly made things even worse this season by overstepping the mark when going so far out of their way to be negative about Rafa Benitez and way over the top positive comments about the new Steve Bruce (and Mike Ashley) era.
Picking out these comments below from long established players such as Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie (there are others as well), they should really know better as they have all been here well over three years.
To make these over the top positive statements is bad enough but to then be so poor as both individuals and as a team on the pitch, makes them look pretty ridiculous.
Comments about how great the coaching and training sessions are, how impressed with Steve Bruce’s ideas and guidance, as well as claims of how hard they are all working.
To then see the disorganised and uninspiring chaos in matches is tough to take, especially when at times there clearly hasn’t been 100% effort from players, which even Steve Bruce has commented on a number of times.
We obviously all hope for a win against a struggling Manchester United on Sunday but if it does happen, I don’t want to hear the Newcastle United players claiming this to be proof of anything, it would still only be two wins from nine games and NUFC would still be deep in a relegation struggle and already out of the League Cup at the first obstacle.
They need to put a proper run together, you know, like they did under Rafa….before any of them start talking about things being on the up and any kind of credible set up at the club.
Jonjo Shelvey – 20 July 2019:
“I think the change of manager could be a good thing.
“Steve (Bruce) is a lot different to Rafa. You never knew what Rafa was thinking.
“At every club when a new manager comes in the training goes up a notch.
“Steve Bruce has made a massive difference…he is constantly talking to you, telling you what he’s thinking…things like that.
“As a player that is what you want – you want to know what a manager’s thinking, where you fit in his plans.”
Matt Ritchie – 7 August 2019:
“I don’t understand the unrest I have got to be honest.
“The club has gone out, we have spent money, we are pushing.
“We are trying to compete with the teams that we can compete with and you have to be real.
“I think the owner has been honest in his interviews in the press…”
Matt Ritchie – 13 August 2019:
“I was so pleased to see the stadium full (against Arsenal – Declared attendance 47,635 but at least 8,000 empty seats due to season ticket holders staying away as well).
“There is a real positive vibe, especially in the dressing room, at the moment. Throughout the club and the training centre, the vibe is very positive.
“It is a positive dressing room at the moment and optimistic and the stadium felt that way today as well.
“We’re only going to get better, stronger and fitter. It’s not all doom and gloom.”
Isaac Hayden – 17 September 2019:
“The team spirit is massive here. The manager could see it the moment he walked through the door.
“Steve Bruce has got us together even more and made us better at it.
“You can now see that everybody is fighting for the same cause.
“We’re all trying to listen to what the manager wants us to do. We’re all trying to go in the same direction.’