Jamie Carragher fears Newcastle risk becoming “a nothing club” under Mike Ashley’s ownership and feels Steve Bruce’s side are “sleep-walking” into another relegation battle.
Newcastle’s winless run stands at 10 games in all competitions after their dismal 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on Saturday night.
Bruce’s side fell behind to goals from Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore in the first half and failed to muster a single shot on target after the break, intensifying the pressure on the man in the dugout.
Newcastle remain five points clear of the relegation zone in 16th place but Sky Sports pundit Carragher is worried about their prospects and understands the disillusionment among fans.
“I mentioned how impressed I have been with Aston Villa, not just tonight but all season,” said Carragher.
“It’s the complete opposite with Newcastle. It feels like a club that’s just nothing at this moment, just sleep-walking into another relegation dog fight.
“Twice they have gone down under Mike Ashley. At this moment they have a bit of a gap between them and Fulham but I would say Fulham and West Brom are in much better form than Newcastle.
“So poor yet again. You never feel like they are going to score a goal. You never feel like they are going to keep a clean sheet.
“There’s no doubt the supporters don’t like the team, they don’t like the owner, they don’t like the manager.
“Steve Bruce is getting criticism at the moment. He’s the manager and the buck stops with him, but until Newcastle get new ownership, we’re going to be seeing the same thing.
“A team who are just drifting, doing nothing, becoming a nothing club and that’s what Newcastle have never been.
“There’s always been some sort of spark, some sort of interest, some sort of enthusiasm when you watch them play.
“Now it’s just boring.”
Bruce: I’m encouraged by the performance
Despite a fourth straight defeat in the Premier League, Bruce felt he saw enough in the performance to give him hope for the future, pointing to the return of Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser.
He told Sky Sports: “Unfortunately we have gifted them a goal and after that it was difficult. But there were large parts of it I was pleased about. Certainly, the additions of Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser.
“I have seen enough to be encouraged. Yes, we have to accept defeat but there was enough there to work on.
“I’ve not had the opportunity to play Allan and Ryan as both have not been fit. Scoring goals is always the difficult part of the Premier League and we understand that. We have found it difficult to score a goal but I was encouraged, especially when those two got on the pitch.
“I have seen enough in the squad. Having them two back and then a couple more, we are not as ravaged as we were by injuries.
“We have got three or four missing at centre-back, so we have a problem there. But the big players in the team, the ones who can score and create goals for us, are getting back to fitness which can only be a good thing.
“We are not alone, there are other teams in difficult runs, it is how we handle it. Keep working hard. That is the only way you will change it.
“We are halfway. We have been stuck on 19 points for the past [four] games. We have had a difficult period but I have seen enough of the team to try and finish where we did last year or even above it.”
“We are in the Premier League and we all know what it is. When we are on a run like we are you come under the pump as a result. I am not alone, there is a lot in that situation. It is the Premier League and it is how you handle it.
“I have been criticised for everything. I don’t necessarily agree with it. We are in the bottom half and that’s where we’ve been for a while.
“We are not going to be entertaining and open because if we go that way I don’t think we will have enough. There has to be a certain way we go about our work. We have to tighten up at the back especially and that will be key.”
Redknapp: Where are the young players?
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp agreed with Carragher about Newcastle’s prospects and also bemoaned the lack of local talent coming through the club’s academy.
“There are so many things wrong with that club and one of the biggest ones that’s bothered me for a while is the academy,” he said.
“Years ago, they always had a superstar Geordie. You look at Gazza, (Chris) Waddle, (Peter) Beardsley, Lee Clark, Steve Watson.
“That used to be a football hotbed. Where is the talent there? Why are they not producing their own players? That’s what they used to do for so many years.
“Even the likes of Michael Carrick and Alan Shearer. Shearer had to go to Southampton and Carrick had to go to West Ham. But there were so many good Geordie players.
“Why are these kids not playing football in the streets anymore like they used to?
“I think there’s a young kid, Elliot Anderson, he’s 18 and maybe he’s one for the future.
“But that club, they have always had a superstar player and there is not one now.
“It’s a mess. I feel for Steve Bruce and I feel for the fans.”