‘Steve Bruce has only ever left two clubs in his career with best wishes of the fans arguably’
Steve Bruce has to be the luckiest football manager in the United Kingdom, the man should be counting his lucky stars at the fact he has managed the all new Amanda Staveley consortium Newcastle United for almost a week.
Whilst media reports are suggesting that the delay in sacking the manager is down to the quick nature of the takeover turnaround and a lack of process set up between Newcastle and Riyadh… I’m not really buying it and think that there is definitely more than meets the eye.
Perhaps the new owners are only prepared to sack the manager once they know they have a readymade replacement in line. Whilst I disagree with that logic – it may be a fair one nonetheless.
What is clear though is that Steve Bruce, not only shouldn’t be in the job, but should never have been anywhere near it in the first place. I don’t like the argument that Bruce has kept Newcastle ‘ticking along’ or kept them in the Premier League. In truth, NUFC’s ability to stay up has been in spite of Bruce being in the dugout, rather than because of him.
With NUFC all over the news, Bruce has been hot on the press this week due to his looming departure. I can’t bring myself to even respond to some of the things I have heard in the newspapers, on podcasts, talksport and pundits. Although, how the f.ck Danny Murphy can even get himself dressed in a morning, never mind make his way to work to talk about football, is beyond me.
I have always wondered where the idea that Steve Bruce is a good manager comes from. I must have read his Wikipedia page about 10 times but last night I stayed up and delved deep into his past career to find out how he has really got on over the course of his managerial career… it makes for dismal reading.
Failed to reach the second tier play-offs in one season, then resigned.
This was a decent Sheffield United side who had played Newcastle in the previous seasons FA Cup semi final. Despite high hopes, Bruce finished 8th, just outside the play-offs.
Nevertheless, an ok season for a first in football management. According to various sources, Bruce resigned due to a lack of funds available to sign players.
Sacked for failing to meet minimum expectations.
Despite joining another club who were one of the favourites for promotion, or at least the top six, Bruce again failed to reach the play-offs. This was followed by a terrible start to the following season and Bruce was sacked.
He was described by then board members at Huddersfield, in a local paper, as having a massive ego (perhaps due to his Man U days) and wasting millions of pounds on signings that gave no benefit to the club in the short or long term.
Resigned to go to another club.
It wouldn’t be right to say Bruce ‘took Wigan to the play-offs’ considering he only took over the club in the April, but nonetheless, he found himself in a position where he could take Wigan up. He failed to do so. Losing in the semi-finals and immediately leaving the club.
Another resignation – this time to take over at Palace.
Resigned to go to another club.
Bruce’s Palace side made a good start to the season in the championship, but he wasn’t there for long, resigning after three months. That’s three resignations in four years… quite frankly, astounding when you think about it.
Couple of mid-table finishes, two promotions and one relegation. Resigned to go to another club (but did a good job).
At his 5th attempt, Bruce did a great job in his first season at Birmingham, taking them from a team hovering just below the play-offs to eventual promotion on penalties against Norwich in the play-offs.
Bruce would turn Birmingham into a solid Premier League mid-table side whilst never going on a cup run or threatening the top half of the table.
At this point, Bruce would turn down the job of managing his ‘boyhood club’, the team he ‘watched growing up’, the team from his ‘home area’, the team who had spent the past three seasons playing Champions League football, to stay at mid-table Birmingham.
Fair play though, for the first time in his career, Steve Bruce hadn’t shafted his club by resigning for a bigger pay packet.
At this point though, Bruce’s luck began to run out as his Birmingham side fell further and further down the table and were eventually relegated.
The first relegation battle of Bruce’s managerial career and Birmingham went down without a whimper.
Credit to Bruce though, he got Birmingham back up at the first attempt.
Resigned to go to another club.
A rather uneventful time at Wigan in which Bruce again led his side to a mid-table Premier League finish.
Sacked with the club in big relegation trouble.
Bruce took over at Sunderland and just survived relegation in his first season despite going on a shocking 14 game winless run. Bruce signed over 20+ players in his relatively short time at Sunderland. You could even argue his tenure and bizarre spending was the beginning of Sunderland’s financial demise.
After finishing tenth in his second season, he was sacked by Sunderland on 30 November 2011 with the Mackems in big relegation trouble – although he claimed through various sources in the press that his departure was because he was a Newcastle fan, rather than not being a very good football manager (really!?).
Two promotions, one relegation. Resigned after falling out with the board (did a decent job).
At Hull, Bruce did a good job in getting promoted to the Premier League. In their first season back in the Premier League, they just survived relegation (37 points) and he miraculously got them to the FA Cup Final… a good job!
The following season though, Hull were relegated. Despite taking Hull back up again, he resigned. Again.
Having perhaps shown at Hull and Birmingham that he had the potential to get teams out of the Championship, Bruce then took over at promotion favourites Aston Villa. Despite having the most expensively assembled squad in the division, he failed to get promoted with his side falling short in the play-offs. He was sacked the next season following a terrible run of form and playing a brand of football that Villains criticised.
Resigned to move to another club (again!).
Bruce took over at Sheffield Wednesday but wasn’t around long enough (just over five months) to do anything. Quite amazingly, Bruce resigned even though the club had given him a grace period before starting the job due to sad family issues.
So what do we make of that?
That’s 10 jobs:
7/10 jobs Bruce has resigned (2 of those he did a decent job: Hull 9 years ago and Birmingham 16 years ago).
Zero trophies won
Only at two clubs in his whole career has Bruce arguably left with the ‘best wishes’ of the fans…Birmingham and Hull.
I can’t for the life of me work out what qualifies Bruce to manage a Premier League club. Despite two relegations, Bruce has done at Newcastle what he has done most of his entire career when in the Premier League – play shocking football, wind people up, and just about keep the team up.
Any other manager with this record would be castigated. Look at Claudio Ranieri! People are laughing at him taking over at Watford… he won the Premier League five years ago, has never been relegated and won trophies all over Europe!
However, thing for me with Steve Bruce, is not even his record (although it speaks for itself), or even the shocking brand of football he has dished up to supporters – despite having the best attacking options at the club we have had for a long time.
It is the way he belittles fans at every opportunity.
It is his language and rhetoric. The way, in the main, he conducts himself as manager of Newcastle United. At every opportunity, Steve Bruce has ‘dumbed down’ Newcastle United. He has acted as a yes man for Mike Ashley. Not once has he stood up for the fans. He has treated news reporters, who simply told the truth, with no respect. He’s made no time and no effort for the fans of Newcastle United – despite claiming to be one. He’s described fans worried about the future of their football club as ‘hysterical’ or ‘mass hysteria’. At no point has he shown fans the basic respect that they deserve from their manager.
It would appear that our new custodians, Amanda and Mehrdad, are decent people – but please, when it comes to Steve Bruce (and Lee Charnley for that matter) don’t give them the time or respect from this great football club. They haven’t earnt it. They don’t deserve it.
You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonnyinsg
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