Bruce’s side finished in 12th place in the Premier League with 45 points, ending their season on a strong note.

 

Newcastle went on a run of five wins in their last eight league games in a late surge which included victories over top six teams in the likes of Leicester City and West Ham United.

 

 

Barnes believes that the absence of supporters in the stadium proved to be beneficial for Bruce and his side during their end of season surge up the Premier League table.

 

The former Newcastle winger went on insist that the return of fans to St James’ Park could be detrimental to the Magpies’ performances next season as they will not put up with some of their lacklustre displays which were on show this term.

 

 

“For where Newcastle are now, the next level for them is mid-table at this moment in time”, Barnes told Betting Odds.

 

“If Mike Ashley sells the club and they get in somebody who the fans like and they spend more money on players then they can begin to move on.

 

 

“In the current climate, Steve Bruce is doing as well as any manager could.

 

“Newcastle shouldn’t be looking at the next level.

 

“They should be looking for stability and the best they can hope for is around mid-table.

 

“This season it was probably the best thing for them that there were no fans there.

 

“Fans would have been negative because of the way that they were playing and I could have seen them getting relegated.

 

“Unfortunately for Steve, as long as Mike Ashley is the owner, when the fans return there will be that negativity which will affect him and the team.”

 

It remains to be seen how the Newcastle players respond to having fans back in the stadium when the Premier League makes its return in August.