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The reasons why Steve Bruce hasn’t been replaced by a new Newcastle United Manager…yet

1 month ago
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I think I may know why Steve Bruce is still the Newcastle United Manager and unsurprisingly, it’s Mike Ashley’s fault.

Like many others, I’d assumed / hoped that sacking Steve Bruce would be top of the agenda for Amanda Staveley and our new owners.

In fact, I’d hazard a guess that it still is.

With this in mind, the question below has been bothering me…

If this is the case, then why are the new owners risking unrest on Sunday by having Bruce in the dugout?

The answer to my own question (which I’m sure others have asked themselves too), revolves around a few different aspects. The main one, which seems obvious to me, I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else. So I’ll start with that. Bear with me.

Newcastle United in the Mike Ashley era has been run on the absolute bare bones. Yes, I know, nothing new to see here. But I’m not referring directly to financial investment, I’m talking about staff. Staff at every level.

Until the sale of the club, I’d bet my house on the fact that there isn’t another Premier League Club with as few staff as Newcastle United. The list of missing key staff is astonishing. Right from the very top all the way down to the very bottom.

Board of Directors? No thanks.

Director of Football? Nah, not for us.

Fully fleshed out scouting team? Nope.

Reserve and Youth Team coaching teams? We’ll manage with the minimum.

But surely our First Team has all of the staff and everything they need to succeed? Errr, yeah? No.

I’m happy to be corrected, but I don’t think since Sam Allardyce have Newcastle United had a full First Team coaching set up (not even the finest Manager we’ve had since Sir Bobby was allowed more than three coaches!). Ask Sam and I’m sure he’ll gladly tell you he was ahead of his time with his myriad of Sports Scientists and Analysts, but I’d suggest the cost of getting rid of him and his team scarred Mike Ashley so badly, it contributed to the mess the club currently finds itself in.

I’ve heard it said from multiple different journalistic sources that Steve Bruce would be sacked and Graeme Jones, Steve Harper and Ben Dawson would be put in temporary charge. An idea I’d happily get behind and would’ve preferred. I can’t describe how disengaged I’ve become watching the team run by Bruce.

So why hasn’t it happened?

Well, bear in mind the above about having no staff in place for critical roles and then remove Bruce, Agnew and Clemence. Are we really to expect Jones, Harper and Dawson to run the whole sporting side of a Premier League Club? Including first team, reserve and youth team fixtures? As well as the roles they were already fulfilling?

Well, yes, probably. Surely they could manage for a few days whilst the new owners get sorted out? And this is the next major part of the conundrum as to why Steve Bruce hasn’t been relieved of his job yet. Time.

Our new owners are very wealthy and very competent people in their own right. But not one of them has any experience in football (with the exception of Jamie Reuben who was a director at QPR for two years). But that doesn’t matter in the slightest because they have the resources to go and find the right people to fill all of the roles the Club has been missing. For me, this is an incredibly exciting prospect. Potentially we could recruit some of football’s leading people to help us into a new competitive era.

Can this be done in a week? A month? A year? Maybe a year, but the individuals they want may be halfway through a project or contract that they don’t want to break. It’s easy to forget that the majority of the best staff will be in roles at the best clubs. Who are already worth a fortune and paying the best wages. Prising them away won’t be easy.

Having said that, you could argue there are plenty of managers unemployed who could come in and make an immediate impact. I agree wholeheartedly. But who is picking the new manager to lead us forward and build a dynasty? Our new owners who have no experience in the game? Ok, I accept everyone should know who Zidane and Conte are, but do they have any idea if their style is correct, or they are the right personalities for the project?

Based on paper talk, it seems the new hierarchy would like someone to come in as a Sporting Director or Director of Football. Fantastic news, finally a properly structured club. If this is the case then we won’t be appointing a new manager until that person is in place. It would make absolutely no sense to.

I have no inside information at all on who may fill any of the roles but I’ll pull two names out that had been touted to use as an example. Ralf Ragnick and Lucien Favre. These guys would be an upgrade beyond belief. I’d take them both in a heartbeat.

However, let’s say the Club appoints Favre as Head Coach. A month later we get Ragnick as Director of Football. Happy days! Except, they don’t get on. Their philosophies don’t align (it has been mentioned in the press by those that do know the individuals that their views are diametrically opposed on football) and disagreement on everything follows. Potential for complete disaster. Of which we’ve already had our fill.

If the Club wants a Director of Football, then they will have a major part to play in who our next Head Coach will be. With this in mind, I don’t expect we’ll see the back of Steve Bruce until a Director of Football is in place. The fact Bruce is still Newcastle United Manager, suggests to me we are still a little ways off appointing someone.

I’m as guilty as anyone for wanting immediate change. When something has been so bad for so long, it would be crazy not to want rid of it. That said, I think we (the fans) have to have an understanding for how bad things are behind the scenes and that there are so many things to be fixed, it will take some time.

I’m sure our new owners are aware that 100% of fans want Bruce removed (surely we can agree the 5% who said they were happy with him were joking) and I think it is their top priority. But in a strange way, the fact they haven’t just binned Bruce and left the skeleton staff to pick up the pieces, fills me with confidence moving forwards that more considered decisions are on the horizon.

This has been my first submission to The Mag so thank you, sorry and be kind!

HWTL

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