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Opinion

5 options for Mike Ashley to replace if Steve Bruce makes it 2 Newcastle wins in 18 games

5 months ago
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With Steve Bruce on increasingly thinner ice as the days go by, Mike Ashley may soon have a decision forced on him.

It’s looking like Sunday’s game against West Brom could be make or break.

Missing players or not, anything less than a win could spell curtains for Bruce, if the NUFC Head Coach makes it only two wins in eighteen matches, a run that would include thirteen defeats if losing to Sam Allardyce’s side.

Mike Ashley issuing an official statement on Friday regarding the Newcastle United takeover related arbitration. Bottom line is that regardless of any other factors, for any takeover to be possible in the coming months, Newcastle must remain a Premier League club.

Here are four likely options (and one less likely) that Mike Ashley could replace Steve Bruce with, if he is finally given his long overdue marching orders.

Graeme Jones

Probably the most likely one on the list, especially in the short-term.

I think most fans would actually be happy with this appointment.

It’s not a coincidence that some positive changes to our playing style and the dropping of the timid, passive approach we’d grown to loathe, happened almost as soon as Jones joined the coaching staff.

Our performances improved massively after Jones came in and if given free reign, he may be able to instil the positive playing style we’ve all been craving. Plus, if Bruce is shown his well deserved P45, this would be a cost free replacement and a seamless transition to keep things running smoothly, and with Ashley still in charge, that will be seen as a major plus point.

Mark Hughes

Somewhat less likely than Jones but still depressingly possible.

Hughes has been without a job since being axed by Southampton in 2018 and due to his long career as a Premier League manager, may be seen as a possible steady hand.

If you ignore the slow downward spiral at Stoke City, the narrow escape at QPR and the short lived resurgence for a few months at Southampton, that is. This appointment would be another sign that treading water is the main priority for the club, and while survival is always a number one priority in the Premier League, to do so with no hope of change is just another blow to the fans morale.

Neil Lennon

A slightly less depressing possibility than Hughes, Lennon is only recently out of work, having resigned from Celtic a few weeks ago after their disastrous title defence, despite winning a domestic treble last season.

His last time in the English leagues was back in 2014- 2016 with Bolton, where he was somewhat overshadowed by their precarious financial situations.

Some may scoff at “farmers leagues” and the quality of players he has worked with at Celtic, but to be honest, could he really do much worse than Bruce?

Garry Monk

A bit more left field, Monk seems to be one of those managers who had been tipped to be a bright and up and coming young manager, only to be put in several precarious hot seats.

There was the infamously revolving chair that was the Leeds role, troubled Birmingham and recently Sheffield Wednesday, but would he be worth a punt at St James?

He started off very well in his time as Swansea manager and I’m sure fans would rather see an upcoming manager with plenty to prove, over a middle of the road Premier League “stalwart” like Hughes, Pardew or Pulis given the reins.

Rafa Benitez

It wouldn’t be a list without him would it?

Just imagine, the fairytale return, picking up where he left off and rebuilding and restabilising the club (again.)

However, all romanticism aside, this is not going to happen if Ashley is still in charge, not after the burnt bridges and the spiteful signings of players that Benitez had originally blocked, as soon as he was out of the door.

Maybe if the fabled, often mythical, takeover happens he’ll want to finish the job he started, but until then, no chance.

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