Steve Bruce Expected To Get Newcastle Job Despite Fan Unrest
Joe Short | 6 mins
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Newcastle are considering Steve Bruce for their vacant manager post despite many fans expressing their unhappiness with the possible appointment.
The Magpies are desperately seeking a new boss to prepare the squad for the 2019/20 Premier League season after Rafa Benitez left his post last month.
Replacing Benitez has proved a tricky task, with owner Mike Ashley seemingly unable to land one of the initial frontrunners for the job.
The chaos at Newcastle could well settle down if Bruce — currently manager of Sheffield Wednesday — becomes the new manager on Tyneside this week at a cost of £1m.
But the former Sunderland manager is not seen in a good light by a section of the Toon fans — and that could cause trouble at a club where the supporters already want owner Ashley out.
Bookmakers Paddy Power saw their odds on Bruce replacing Benitez plummet from 50/1 (+5000) on July 8 to 3/10 (-333) two days later. He's currently trading at 1/5 (-500) with the top bookies.
The change has caught many sportsbooks by surprise but this has been a volatile market that has been hard to predict, and the dire situation has seen bettors flock to back Newcastle to be relegated this season.
Other Rumoured Candidates
Both Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta were frontrunners for the post but were said to have been dissuaded by Benitez from taking the job under Ashley’s ownership.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is also set to stay at Ibrox after reported initial interest.
Amazingly, there appears to be a staggering lack of options for Ashley to go for here. Even former Toon manager Sam Allardyce – who remains grossly unpopular with the fans too – claims to have turned down an approach to return to St James Park.
Newcastle were looking for a manager in the calibre of Benitez to take over at St James’ Park, but luring other Champions League winners to the North East has proven tricky.
Jose Mourinho is out of work but has now drifted to 14/1 (+1400) to get the job — and there is little indication he actually wants it. Allardyce is now out at 40/1 (+4000), while Coral have David Moyes at 20/1 (+2000).
One big problem for Ashley if he does appoint Bruce is the manager’s connection with Sunderland. Bruce was a Toon fan growing up but never played for the club and spent two years at Newcastle’s rivals down the road.
The 58-year-old has also endured a string of stints at Championship sides in recent seasons — to varying success.
Bruce's Recent Managerial Record
He earned two promotions with Hull over a four-year period but could not replicate that success with Aston Villa, where they lost in the 2018 playoff final.
Midway through last season he joined Sheffield Wednesday after being dismissed by Villa but won less than half of his games in charge.
Bruce returned from the Owls’ training tour in Portugal on Wednesday and is said to be open to taking the Toon role.
Last month:— Bookies UK (@bookies_uk) July 10, 2019
- Rumour of billionaire takeover
- Linked with Kylian Mbappe
- Benitez was manager
- No Benitez, sold Perez
- Steve Bruce favourite to become new manager
- 5/2 to be relegated
? Time moves fast for the Magpies#nufc #premierleague #stevebruce pic.twitter.com/qgz9emSZf0
Yet Newcastle fans are already frustrated with the club and its handling of Benitez’s exit — and they are said to be unhappy with a move for Bruce.
Former cricketer and Newcastle fan Darren Gough explained the situation on talkSPORT.
“If they go back to having someone like Steve Bruce now – after having Rafa Benitez – I think that is the final nail for Newcastle fans. I honestly believe that,” he said.
"They have to go as high profile as they possibly can to replace Rafa. For him to go now and then for them to go and get one of the managers who goes on the merry-go-round, if they go down that route, I just think it is 'here we go again.'"
About the Author
Joe Short, a contributor to Bookies.com, is a freelance journalist and former editor at the Daily Express, covering various sports, including soccer, darts and tennis.