Alan Shearer has opened up on Newcastle’s struggles and why he encouraged Steve Bruce not to take the position as manager at St James’ Park.
Newcastle are in the midst of an alarming run of results having lost eight of their past 10 league fixtures, the club currently free-falling towards the relegation places with just a three-point gap between the Magpies and the Premier League’s bottom three.
Fulham’s recent improvement has raised real concerns that Newcastle could be relegated this season, the absence of leading scorer Callum Wilson having left Steve Bruce’s side short of firepower as they bid to turn around their faltering fortunes.
Bruce has come in for huge criticism for the club’s performances in recent weeks and has been a largely unpopular appointment at Newcastle since replacing Rafael Benitez, the pressure continuing to rise on the 60-year-old ahead of this weekend’s home clash with Wolves.
Shearer admits performances must improve but has sympathy for the under-fire boss, admitting his former side are a ‘difficult club’ to manage under the current hierarchy after enduring his own brief and testing period in charge.
“It’s not particularly nice reading and hearing the criticism he’s getting, but I understand it and it’s warranted,” Shearer wrote in The Athletic. “Why? Because Newcastle are fourth-bottom, three points above the relegation positions. True, we’ve lost our best player in Callum Wilson, but as I said about Liverpool, that can’t be an excuse.
“I didn’t think we were in a relegation battle until a couple of weeks ago, but Fulham have had a fantastic spell — you have to give them and Scotty Parker great credit — and Newcastle haven’t.
“This situation is precisely the reason I didn’t want Steve to take the job in the first place. It’s not impossible or impossible circumstances, but it’s very, very difficult. It’s a very difficult club, full stop. I’ve been there and done it, albeit for a limited time. I know how they operate and I didn’t want Steve to be part of it. Having said that, I took it all those years ago. I felt the pull. And so I can’t be a hypocrite and criticise him for wanting to have a go.
“When we speak, it’s never about tactics or about players or anything like that. I don’t think that would particularly help. I don’t even want to speak about that stuff with him.”