He may be only two games into his Newcastle United career, but new manager Steve Bruce is already being unfavourably compared to Steve McClaren by a section of NUFC fans.
McClaren famously managed the Toon for the first half of the 2015/2016 season, a short but disastrous spell which would ultimately see them relegated at the end of the season.
But the campaign was particularly infuriating for Toon fans due to the fact the club had made a rare spending spree in the summer and winter transfer windows.
Gini Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba and Florian Thauvin were signed before the season commenced and Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Henri Saivet were later added to the squad in January.
The club spent around £80m on new players that season, only for it all to be in vain.
The Toon failed to win their opening eight games of the season in a disastrous run up to Christmas, and McClaren was eventually sacked in March with just six wins to his name.
Despite the new talent, the tactics and structure being assigned to the team were a mystery to everyone, perhaps even to McClaren himself.
And now Toon fans are worried history is repeating itself with Steve Bruce.
Deja Vu at St James’
This summer has seen the club spend around £75m on new players, despite previous manager Rafa Benitez receiving almost no transfer budget for the last three seasons.
The sudden splurge was likely a move to appease angry Toon fans after Benitez’s exit, and initially, you’d have to say it’s been successful.
Just as they did at the appointment of McClaren, Toon fans reacted extremely negative to Bruce’s arrival this summer and planned boycotts and protests were immediately in the works.
However the signings of Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin put a dint in the revolts, and suddenly the bulk of supporters were excited for the new season again.
But after just two matches, fans are now beginning to question the tactical prowess of Steve Bruce.
Against Arsenal and Norwich, the Toon have looked devoid of attacking threat, despite their new look attack of Joelinton and Almiron.
Bruce’s 5-3-2 formation seems to starve the strikers of all service, and last year’s stonewall defence are now suddenly sloppy and unorganised.
Not only is Bruce being questioned, but also the players themselves, who seemed unwilling to put in a fight against Norwich in a 3-1 defeat.
Toon fans were dismayed by the result and have instantly compared it to the flat performances of the McClaren days.
Toon fans compare Bruce and McClaren
Exactly the same as McClaren – lots of money spent to no effort, season will end in disaster
— Dave Parish (@paz_parish) August 17, 2019
I know it is only 2 games into a season but I'm happy to lay it on the line now. If Bruce stays, #nufc will go down. The only chance they have of staying up is if a swifter decision is made than they did with McClaren
— Ross Gregory (@rossgregory9) August 17, 2019
Comparisons to McClaren are unfair. McClaren had a load of new signings dumped on him and had to takeover a squad that narrowly avoided relegation.
— thisannoyedme (@thisannoyedme) August 17, 2019
i'm sorry to say that was the worst performance i have seen since mclaren … wrong team selection … no plan A (never mind a plan B) … players looked laboured & confused … but at least the players enjoy training more, is that right?
… bruce is not qualified @AlexBruce84
— Mark Lawrence (@MarkLaw404) August 17, 2019
After we suffered the months of tragic football served up by McLaren, how long before the board realise that Bruce is just as clueless? Will they wait until it’s too late AGAIN before they act? Relegation is a certainty under this “coach” @bbcnewcastle
— Dugga™️ (@dugga84) August 17, 2019
#nufc going into full Bruce honeymoon mode here. I mean normally you get a boost when a new manager comes in. Sadly the fans had it right when he was announced. Not good enough. Not capable. Look at his record. Another McClaren. This time give him 10 games and act!
— Mr P (@ipickering) August 17, 2019
Hopefully results will improve but on the evidence we've seen so far it's a hell of a long way off.
Bruce is not the man for the job and never was, he's McLaren all over again but this time there won't be a Champions League winning manager to pull us back out of it. #NUFC
— Andrew Weatherhead (@TheHamfather) August 17, 2019
Steve McClaren looks like a god send compared to this. Grant Hanley at the back and we haven’t had single go, Hayden basically on the wing, no tactics in play, tried to be positive but this is just shocking. Bruce out, Ashley Out.
— Patrick Carey (@PxtrickCxrey) August 17, 2019