Steve Bruce has underlined his credentials as the right man to lead Newcastle, should the club’s proposed takeover be completed, but what do the supporters think about the man who was hardly welcomed into St James’ Park with open arms?
With Newcastle’s prospective new owners reportedly identifying a number of potential managerial options, Bruce’s position looks increasingly uncertain following the eventual conclusion of this campaign whichever way it is to be decided.
And after a £300m deal with current owner Mike Ashley was agreed last month, the club’s proposed takeover, led by Prince Mohamed bin Salman, is currently awaiting the outcome of the Premier League’s owners and directors’ test.
“If it’s good for Newcastle, and the club are going to try to compete with these teams, to be part of it would be great,” Brice told Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves. “I would love to see it, and I’d love to be part of it.
“I hope it’s where it goes, but in the meantime I’ll just crack on, wait, roll my sleeves up and get on with trying to get some results to try and get the club going forward.
“If that happens for Newcastle in the future, then great – I’d be delighted. You do get labelled in the game, and that’s why I enjoyed my time managing in the Championship.
“I’d back myself against most people in that division. But to be in a position where you’re actually challenging, and you have a good enough team as Newcastle did in 1995 and under Sir Bobby Robson as well, then it would be wonderful. I’d back myself, of course I would.”
When asked if Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley has told him anything, Bruce said: “I have a wonderful working relationship with Lee Charnley and he told me ‘when there’s something to tell you, Steve, I’ll tell you’.
“We’ve left it at that and gone back to work. I’m in the dark like most other people, and for that, I’m glad, really, because I can’t comment on it. It’s not worth talking about it as I really don’t know.”
Not surprisingly, with talk of a takoever in the offing, there has been much speculation regarding possible replacements for Bruce and with the Magpies on the verge of a takeover which promises to re-establish a sleeping giant amongst the English football elite.
Newcastle were 13th in the Premier League, eight points clear of the relegation zone and homing in on another season of top-flight football, when the campaign was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mauricio Pochettino and Rafa Benitez have been linked to the job along with Juventus legend Max Allegri, while Lucien Favre of Borussia Dortmund and ex-Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti have also been mentioned.
His appointment was hardly greeted with enthusiasm among Toon fans when it was announced last summer and the former Wigan, Sunderland and Birmingham boss is not exactly the most glamourous of names with billionaire Saudi prince Mohamed Bin Salman apparently considering an appointment which would turn heads among Europe’s elite.
But for one St James’ Park regular, Bruce has done enough over the past 12-months to at least give himself a chance of leading the club into an exciting new era should the change of ownership take place.
“It’s easy to get carried away with mention of Pochettino and Rafa, but regardless of what happens next, I think Bruce deserves credit,” explains Danny Gee, who believes Bruce deserves to be appreciated for what he has done so far.
“His job was never going to be easy, and although there’s been criticism over his tactics from time to time, he’s still led the team to a half-decent position and FA Cup quarter-final.
“Ultimately, new owners will have their own ideas on who they want, but I think Bruce has done enough to stay until the end of the season.
“At the very least, he’s given us that cup run, the late winner against Chelsea and that bizarre, Lejeune-fuelled comeback against Everton.”
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Like Jonjo Shelvey being one of the Prem’s best crossbar challengers when he wants to and having a suspicion that one day Jose Mourinho will manage there.
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