Newcastle World journalist Liam Kennedy has given his thoughts on the "bizarre situation" that took place between Steve Bruce, Graeme Jones and Matt Ritchie earlier this month.
With Newcastle 1-0 down and struggling badly against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds at St James' Park, full-back Ritchie was called over to the touchline to speak with Bruce and Jones.
The pair appeared to both try to get their point across to Ritchie in an animated discussion, but it seemed clear from the video footage that the defender was only really listening to the assistant coach rather than his manager.
Whatever the message was, it did the trick, as Newcastle battled back to pick up a hard-earned point thanks to an Allan Saint-Maximin equaliser.
What did Kennedy make of the incident?
Kennedy has described the incident as "incredible" but admits that it was fascinating to see Ritchie being more willing to take on board instructions from Jones rather than listening to Bruce.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “It was quite an incredible sequence that was caught on camera there. And I think the most telling thing that I’ll say on that is you’ve got to watch the focus, that Matt Ritchie never takes his eyes off Graeme Jones despite what Steve Bruce is doing alongside him.
“It was really telling of an almost bizarre situation where you’ve got an assistant and a manager, and one’s barking out the orders, the other’s almost just trying to dart in and get a word in edgeways, and the player’s focus never leaves the words that are coming out of Graeme Jones’ mouth. And I think you can read a lot into that.”
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Who is really in charge at Newcastle?
In terms of job titles, this question is an easy one to answer. Bruce is the club's manager, and Jones is his assistant, so the former ought to be having the final say in terms of the tactical setup of the team.
However, this exchange between Ritchie, Bruce and Jones appeared to paint a different picture. Jones seemed to take the lead throughout the conversation, and while Bruce tried to chip in with his own thoughts, his words largely fell on deaf ears.
Newcastle have made a bitterly disappointing start to the season, failing to win any of their opening six league games, plus they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Burnley. Right now, it is not clear how they are going to turn things around, and it is equally confusing as to who is taking the lead in the dressing room out of Bruce and Jones.
One thing cannot be denied: the current dynamic is not working in terms of getting results on the pitch, and needs to be fixed swiftly or Newcastle's Premier League status could be at risk.News Now - Sport News