The good, the bad and the very ugly in a topsy-turvey Toon season

Publication Date25 May 2021
However, the Magpies deservedly earned credit after five wins and two draws from their final nine games earned a respectable finish in the table.

Or at least it was respectable in the end.

There was still a huge gap between the top 10 and Newcastle as they trailed Everton by 14 points.

Remember the top 10 was where boss Steve Bruce had spoken of as the aim last summer but his side finished some way off the pace on that score and in the end spent the campaign battling against the drop.

The season can be broken down into three strange chapters - a reasonable start, a horrendous middle and an impressive enough end.

Steve Bruce 'survives' three times In my opinion Bruce survived three big hits during the campaign - the League Cup exit at Brentford, the awful loss at Sheffield United and the horror show at Brighton on the night Newcastle made the Seagulls look like Barcelona.

Bruce was booed by some fans on the lap of appreciation after the last home game but in the end he has guided the Magpies to 13th and 12th in his two seasons - not brilliant but not disastrous either.

The problem is Newcastle are viewed as a club lacking ambition and Mike Ashley has made it clear he wants to sell the club, leaving

Bruce to pick up the pieces. United's season was far from straightforward as far as injuries were concerned and that is before you mention the bout of Covid which forced the training ground to shut down in November.

After beating West Ham away on the first day of the season and picking up a point, albeit a fortunate one, at Spurs thanks to a 98th-minute penalty from Callum Wilson, things were not so bad for Bruce.

United made a decent start to the season and after seven games sat in 11th place following a 2-1 victory over big spenders Everton.

Throw in the fact United were also through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup after wins against Blackburn, Morecambe and Newport County and you could hardly argue with how things were going.

That tally may seem average but it was only the fifth time in 25 years United had managed 11 or more points by that stage of a Premier League season.

However, it was before the Covid crisis which struck down 12 players and staff at one stage that the first sign of trouble flashed in front of us.

As the fireworks exploded outside St Mary's Stadium, the real explosions took place after the game in the Toon camp.

Fabian Schar turned the air blue when asked what had gone wrong after a flat 2-0 defeat against Southampton in which the...

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