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Opinion

Mike Ashley can benefit from Manchester United approach when making Steve Bruce decision

11 months ago
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As a boy, I remember my dad driving into the Manchester United car park; and in front of us in six foot high capital letters on a massive red brick wall was painted “BUSBY MUST GO”.

Many years later, after eight games without a win, a banner appeared in the crowd at Old Trafford demanding the sacking of Alex Ferguson.

Neither Sir Matt or Sir Alex were sacked, the club gave them practical support. The rest, as they say, is…

After calls for his own sacking, Ole Gunnar Solskaer benefits from the same practical approach.

With no wins in nine games, including a humiliating defeat by Brentford, there is no shortage of calls for the head of Steve Bruce from Newcastle supporters, the media and some pundits.

Assuming same-old, same-old is not an option, Mike Ashley has a choice of sacking or giving support.

Sacking Steve Bruce with all his problems and bringing in another manager with a different set of problems is an easy option. Here is a case for the Manchester United approach.

There is no question that Steve Bruce goes to work every morning to do his best, but his best has proven to be hit and miss, so what would make him better?

As Manchester United know, no new employee, even senior managers, arrive as fully rounded articles, so when the best businesses appoint a new person at any level, one of the first things they discuss is what development that person needs to succeed in their role. No doubt when Steve Bruce was appointed he was told that he is the new manager and should get on with it. He was an outstanding footballer, has managed a number of clubs, but that does not make him a Sir Alex.

To open his mind to new and good influences, Steve Bruce must first look in the mirror and be prepared to not like everything he sees. As far as I am aware, Manchester United keep development within the football community.

Personally, I think Newcastle United could look to other sectors for rapid development opportunities, as well as football. One of the best staff developments I ever heard of was when an airline wanted to support teams to make their turnaround methods more efficient and more rewarding. It didn’t send its people to learn from other airlines but from the pit-stop teams of Formula One. However, within football, a closed session with respected TV pundits to discuss how things look from their experience could add some valuable and timely, if painful, self-awareness.

Steve Bruce’s employment is in the hands of Mike Ashley. Will he support and develop or sack?

Here’s hoping he chooses one; either would be better than carrying on with the frustrating same-old, same-old.

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