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‘Retaining Steve Bruce is simply out of the question’

2 years ago

So, is the Newcastle United takeover a done deal yet?

Well, not completely, but as it seems more credible than before, speculation has inevitably shifted to where the club goes from the day the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and broker Amanda Staveley finally announce that they have taken the keys to St James Park from Mike Ashley.

Various reports state that their PIF guy Yasir Al-Rumayyan will take over as Chairman (with Amanda Staveley said to be set to run things in  more hands on approach), meaning that it’s highly likely that one major link to the Ashley farce, Lee Charnley, will thankfully be sent packing.

It’s inconceivable that such a high profile and costly takeover will result in Charnley remaining in situ, as it’s highly unlikely that this group will keep someone in the position of Managing Director when he is simply woefully unqualified to do the job. A yes man he is, a driven Chairman of a professional football club he certainly isn’t.

Now it has been said that Yasir Al-Rumayyan is aiming to win trophies and qualify for Europe on a regular basis, music to the ears of every Newcastle United fan I’m sure, but to do so requires planning and a sound base from which to build.

Crucially, the same outlet (Sky Sports) that has suggested that Al-Rumayyan will be installed as Chairman, also hint that Head Coach Steve Bruce will be kept on until the end of the season to ‘prove himself’ and it’s that idea that comes across as a bit of a strange one. Keeping him on until the end of the season I can understand but beyond that? Much like Lee Charnley, retaining Steve Bruce is simply out of the question.

Long gone are the days where Bruce was an up and coming manager with something to prove. He has managed over 900 games at club level and has yet to raise his career win percentage above 40% with experience at both Championship and Premier League level. His ‘honours’ get no better than two Championship runners up places (Birmingham, 2007 and Hull, 2013) and an FA Cup runners up medal with Hull (2014). Cue the slow hand clapping.

I was dead set against him becoming Sir Bobby Robson’s successor when it was first mooted back in 2004, as he simply wasn’t up to managing a team that was in Champions League contention. Let’s be clear, nothing that Bruce has achieved in the intervening 16 years has swayed my opinion otherwise and, in fact, my opinion has gone the opposite way. He simply shouldn’t be anywhere near the club.

Let’s look at it another way.

If a Championship club were looking to gain promotion to the Premier League, would they headhunt or consider employing Steve Bruce? The answer to that question gives it away I’m afraid.

He certainly wouldn’t be first choice and there would certainly be major question marks over his ability to deliver that promotion. Owners and Chairmen of sporting clubs want guarantees and as close to a sure fire thing as they can possibly get and there is no guarantee that Bruce would get a team promoted from the second tier of English football. So why on earth would ANY owner in the Premier League even look twice at Steve Bruce? The simple answer is, they wouldn’t.

Now, I’ve commented in the past about Bruce’s ability (or lack of it) but it’s time to be serious. In his relatively short time at Newcastle United he has proved to be a willing deflector for Mike Ashley, a rent a quote if you like. Personally, I don’t believe all of the stuff he comes out with is his own words but that’s why he was brought in, to be a patsy for the regime. However, whenever he does speak, he inevitably either trips himself up from previous interviews, or comes out with some excuse that managers only ever use when things aren’t going well, often blaming everything and everyone but himself, hence the nickname “Bruce The Excuse”.

The thing is, if this takeover comes off, will PIF be looking at keeping Steve Bruce to push us on to greater things?

Of course they won’t. A polite statement will be released thanking him for his work and both parties moving on. The only thing I accept with Bruce will be the timing of his departure as it won’t be immediate because it doesn’t need to be. Time can be taken to get the next appointment right. Waiting for the appropriate candidate to become available and then acting accordingly.

You know? The stuff that goes on at professional football clubs all the time.

Any new owners will quickly set about making decisions with in mind the best interests of the team on the pitch AND the club as a business. They won’t think that MD Lee Charnley is the right man to take the club forward off the pitch so I’m damn sure they won’t think that the man to drive the team forward, is Steve Bruce.

I can promise you now, if he was applying for the job, he wouldn’t even get as far as an interview. That is fact.


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