"Bruce has something Rafa didn't have", says former Newcastle defender

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 7:30pm

By Francis Whiteley

Steve Howey says that Steve Bruce's positive relationship with Mike Ashley is helping the Magpies on the pitch

Many Newcastle fans were devastated when former manager Rafa Benitez left the club. He was viewed as being a class above on Tyneside: a Spaniard cut from a different cloth, with the ability to the Magpies to the next level.

But, sadly, it wasn't to be. Inaction from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley saw Benitez depart the club for the Chinese Super League, and his replacement on Tyneside was rather less glamorous: a certain Mr Steve Bruce.

Steve Bruce got a lukewarm reception from the Newcastle fans when he arrived, with many viewing him as a symbol of Mike Ashley's unpopular ownership. But the former Aston Villa boss has done a fantastic job so far, with the Magpies twelfth in the Premier League table.

But it's not just on the pitch that things are looking up. Transfers have been more frequent since Steve Bruce came through the door, and former Newcastle man Steve Howey told Love Sport Radio that that's not a coincidence - it's because Bruce has something that Benitez lacked.

"I think the fans liked Rafa because he was always tricky with the press because he got it, and he understood the fans' feelings on Mike Ashley".

"Now, the fans feel that Steve Bruce is a Mike Ashley man. But I disagree, because when Bruce wants a player he will go to Ashley and he will ask him to make that signing happen".

"A lot of times, Rafa had very few conversations with Ashley and that meant the transfers didn't materialise. I think that's what frustrated Rafa in the end".

"Rafa's gone, the fans did love him when he was here but Steve Bruce is the manager now and I've said all along, we need to back him".

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