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17th Jul 2019

Steve Bruce’s greatest disqualification for the Newcastle job is that he wanted it in the first place

Wayne Farry

steve bruce

The king is dead, long live… Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce has been appointed as the manager of Newcastle United Football Club, a day after he resigned from Sheffield Wednesday, replacing Rafa Benitez in the process.

When Rafa departed the Magpies upon the expiry of his contract at the end of June, the club’s announcement was met with a mix of exasperation and numb fury by supporters who expect heartbreak rather than joy from the club they adore.

Benitez hadn’t exactly brought the good times back to St. James’ Park, but he had brought back the hope, and the connection between club and city, something fractured to the point of a clean break during owner Mike Ashley’s time on Tyneside.

His departure meant that it was just Ashley and the fans again, co-existing without a lovely, affable and tactically astute Spaniard buffer to smooth things over and make the future bright.

Immediately talk turned to who would replace him, with Garry Monk – recently sacked by Birmingham City – the name on a lot of lips. The thought of going from a Champions League winner to a man who has gone through four clubs during his five-year spell in management was one most fans didn’t care to entertain.

Hindsight is 20/20, but Monk doesn’t seem like such a bad selection now that Steve Bruce is at the reins.

If Sam Allardyce is to believed – and why wouldn’t he? – Bruce was at least second choice for the job. During a radio interview, Allardyce claimed that he had been offered the job by Ashley, but turned it down due to his knowledge of how the sausage gets made.

Bruce, being a Proper Football Man™ with connections in the game, more than likely knows how the sausage gets made as well, but rather than turn away in disgust, has chosen to gobble it down.

Lots of people are angry about Bruce’s appointment – as evidenced by the fact #BruceOut was trending on Twitter just hours after his appointment.

Some of the anger stems from footballing reasons – he isn’t a very good manager after all; empirical evidence tells us that he has won fewer than 39 percent of his games as a manager; but mainly due to the fact that he has opted to take the job in the first place.

He has sat down with the club’s management, listened to what they had to say about finances, and the remit that comes with the role, and thought ‘yes, this is the place for me’.

This itself should be and is something of a red flag for a fan base that has such a toxic relationship with its club that even tweets regarding a Danish youngster’s debut with the team has a majority of replies urging to get out while he can.

Any manager willing to accept Mike Ashley’s terms for managing Newcastle United and willing to be employed within the soulless and shoestring frame work at St. James’ Park probably doesn’t have the club’s best interests at heart.

Instead, they probably have their own interests and desire to back into the Premier League at heart, a theory that’s only strengthened by Bruce’s willingness to jump ship from the football club that had afforded him time and patience at the beginning of his reign in Yorkshire.

Newcastle United fans have suffered immensely over the years and in Rafa Benitez they had a champion willing to fight their corner. They deserved that again. Instead they got another yes-man, willing to toe the party line just so long as they can call themselves the manager of a Premier League club.