Newcastle United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3: Liam Kennedy’s review

Newcastle United writer & editor Liam Kennedy gives his take on an extraordinary day off the park at St James’ Park - but a damp squib on it.

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United waves during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Change has become the norm off the park at Newcastle United in the last 10 days - but so much remains the same on it.

New owners lined the directors box - non-executive chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan was announced to raucous cheers pre-game, flanked by Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, Jamie Reuben as well as Geordie royalty Ant and Dec. However, and most importantly, Steve Bruce remained in the dugout. And change on the pitch, frustratingly, cannot be sparked until January 1.

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Three first-half goals from Tanguy Ndombele, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min was enough to cancel out a Callum Wilson opener and deflate the Magpies’ takeover party. A late Eric Dier own goal reduced the arrears.

The Magpies remain second bottom in the Premier League. No team has conceded more goals than United.

Here Liam Kennedy takes a look at the key talking points from the game, starting with the future of Bruce.

What next for Steve Bruce? Will he remain at United?

Bruce looks very much like a dead man walking at United. It is NewcastleWorld’s understanding that the head coach has already accepted he will be sacked - and he expects it to be sooner rather than later.

But, this evening, he remains in his post.

There seems to be an inevitability he will be axed, but until he is a cloud continues to loom over what looks a brighter future on Tyneside.

Fans made their feelings clear on Sunday afternoon. Chants of “we want Brucey out” grew and grew as the game wore on.

With the new owners present, what will they have made of United’s performance?

Firstly, they will have been blown away by their welcome from the crowd. It was an incredible opening 10 minutes of the game, and the hours that preceded it, too.

However, I’m not all sure they will have come away from SJP thinking positively about the team they’ve inherited.

Change is needed in the dugout and on the pitch.

Far too many of United’s players are a long way short of where they need to be.

Are Newcastle United in a relegation battle?

Yes. And they need to realise it. Bruce doesn’t seem to.

United have played just two of the traditional ‘top six’ and face four of them home and away in their final 30 games. It is an ominous schedule - and one Bruce, or another manager, must spark a considerable improvement from the players in order to get clear of the bottom three, who are already being cut adrift from the rest of the top flight’s strugglers.