Steve Bruce: Newcastle manager sacked following Saudi takeover

Bruce leaves Newcastle without a win this season as the new ownership sound out candidates

Tom Kershaw
Wednesday 20 October 2021 14:42
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Steve Bruce looks resigned to Newcastle sack after 3-2 Spurs defeat

Newcastle United have confirmed that Steve Bruce has left the club by “mutual consent”, drawing an end to the protracted saga over the head coach’s future.

A change of manager had been considered inevitable ever since the £305m Saudi-backed takeover of the club was completed, with Bruce mocked by home supporters during Newcastle’s 3-2 defeat by Tottenham last weekend.

The 60-year-old had kept Newcastle in the Premier League for two seasons but much of his tenure has been mired in hostility, owing to his relationship with former owner Mike Ashley and a cautious playing style, with divisions deepening in recent weeks. He will be due around £8m in compensation and leaves Newcastle 19th in the table without a win this season.

Graeme Jones, Bruce’s assistant, will take charge of the club on a temporary basis until a new manager is appointed, with Newcastle facing Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre, Eddie Howe and Steven Gerrard are currently considered leading candidates to take over at St James’ Park.

In a statement confirming his departure, Bruce said: “I am grateful to everyone connected with Newcastle United for the opportunity to manage this unique football club.

“I would like to thank my coaching team, the players and the support staff in particular for all their hard work. There have been highs and lows, but they have given everything even in difficult moments and should be proud of their efforts.

“This is a club with incredible support, and I hope the new owners can take it forward to where we all want it to be. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the rest of this season and beyond.”

Bruce later hit out at his detractors, who he believes never gave him a chance since he took charge in July 2019.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said: “By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me, but it has been very, very tough. To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head or whatever. And it was from day one.

“When we were doing OK results-wise, it was, ‘Yeah, but the style of football is rubbish’ or I was just ‘lucky’. It was ridiculous and persistent, even when the results were good.

“I tried to enjoy it and, you know, I did. I’ve always enjoyed the fight, proving people wrong, but that’s all it ever seemed to be. A fight, a battle. It does take its toll because even when you win a game, you don’t feel like you are winning over the supporters.”

Bruce also revealed the toll the experience had taken on him and his family, and in particular his wife Janet.

“It’s not just about me; it’s taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can’t ignore that,” he said.

“They have been worried about me, especially my wife Jan. What an amazing woman she is, incredible, she’s just a fantastic woman, wife and mother and grandmother. She dealt with the death of my parents, hers have not been very well. And then she had me to worry about and what I’ve been going through the last couple of years.

“I can’t take her for granted, she has spent her whole life following me around from football club to football club and if I was to say to her tomorrow, I’ve been offered a job in China, or anywhere, she would say, ‘Steve, is this right for you, do you want to do it?’ And she’d back me again.

“I’m 60 years old and I don’t know if I want to put her through it again. We’ve got a good life so, yeah, this will probably be me done as a manager - until I get a phone call from a chairman somewhere asking if I can give them a hand. Never say never, I’ve learnt that.”

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