Former Newcastle United favourite fears Steve Bruce's side 'could do a Leeds United'
Warren Barton fears Newcastle United ‘could do a Leeds United’ if they are relegated from the Premier League this season.
Steve Bruce’s side are just two points outside the bottom three after losing comfortably away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
Fulham’s defeat to Leeds, 24 hours prior, had given the Magpies the opportunity to open up a five-point gap but they completely fluffed their lines at the Amex Stadium.
Angry supporters demanded Bruce was sacked, however, owner Mike Ashley has already moved to publicly back his head coach, despite the 60-year-old winning just two of his last 20 games.
The longer Bruce remains employed on Tyneside, fears of relegation among fans increase.
During their two relegations under Ashley in 2009 and 2016, Newcastle have bounced straight back on both occasions.
Barton, however, believes Ashley won’t be as fortunate this time around – if the unthinkable is to occur in May – and spelled out the harsh reality of what relegation does to people.
And of course, the common example cited is Leeds’ previous decline, which saw them spend 14 years outside England’s top division.
Barton told Sky Sports’ Football Show: “I don’t want it to be like a Leeds United when you disappear for years – it scares me that this could happen.
“I just feel for the people up there because it means so much to that area. They work so hard to support their team and for that to happen to this group of fans and this region would be devastating.
"If they go down, I dread the worst. It would be a disaster for everybody. People would lose their jobs in the current economy. You look at the players who would probably leave.
“It’s a great football club, it’s a great area, great people – the players have got to give everything.
"I echo what I said, someone needs to grab it by the scuff on the neck as a group of players and make sure we ain’t going down. If we go down, I don’t think we’ll bounce back.
"We had Rafa Benitez that realised what Newcastle was about, realised if he gets it right they’ve got potential to be successful and he would be a treated as a legend up there.”