Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

Allan Saint-Maximin 8, Steve Bruce 6, Joelinton 4: Newcastle United season ratings

We take a look at how the Magpies have performed in a season when top-flight status was safely secured and the shadow of takeover talk has loomed large

It has been a trademark season of turbulence and turmoil at Newcastle United.

Before a ball had even been kicked in anger, hugely popular manager Rafa Benitez had left Tyneside, growing tired of what he perceived was lack of ambition by controversial owner Mike Ashley.

Fans were furious and the appointment of Steve Bruce – a Geordie and lifelong fan. The Englishman was seen as a backwards step, and did little to ease tensions between owner and fans.

On the pitch, the team's fortunes would fluctuate between the good - victories against big guns such as Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea – the bad – displayed both home and away against Norwich, Brighton and Burnley. And the downright ugly – heavy defeats to Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Club-record signing Joelinton would prove a massive failure as the team – like under predecessor Benitez – struggled for goals, with Miguel Almiron top scoring with eight.

The manager would also claim he was struggling to change the defensive mindset installed in the players by his predecessor, a charge that was met with incredulity by most fans.

The shadow of a proposed Saudi Arabia-backed consortium takeover has also hung over Bruce for months, leaving everyone at the club in limbo over what lies ahead and making plans for next season almost impossible.

Some respite from the dour performances, restless supporters and takeover talk was provided by another summer signing, the marauding French winger Allan Saint-Maximin, while Newcastle also reached their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2006.

Bruce also did exactly what is required of an Ashley-era manager by keeping Newcastle in the Premier League. The Magpies finished 13th for a second consecutive season.

Whether the manager or owner will still be in charge when the the 2020/21 season starts in September, remains to be seen.

We take a look at how the players have performed this season in the photo gallery above. To move on to the next image, click on the arrows, or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

Updated: July 28, 2020 09:41 AM

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