"He wants his head examining": Newcastle United writer says Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce would not be welcomed as manager
A writer for a prominent Newcastle United fanzine has explained that the appointment of Steve Bruce will only stand to encourage fan protests in what is set to be a turbulent season at the North East club.
Reports have suggested the Sheffield Wednesday manager has asked his club for permission to speak to the Magpies after he was installed as the odds-on favourite to replace Rafael Benitez after he left the club last month.
But Jamie Smith, a Newcastle season ticket holder who has written for The Mag for over 20 years, said the appointment of the 58-year-old would only exacerbate a “toxic feeling” at the club and that he “cannot believe he is considering it”.
The reaction of Newcastle supporters around the potential appoitment of Bruce has been of anger and disillusionment and a boycott against Mike Ashley’s ownership is planned for the club’s first home match of the season against Arsenal.
“If he really does want that job he wants his head looking at,” Jamie said, “having come through what he went through at Villa, where he started to turn the club around, to the job he’s doing at Wednesday. Newcastle United is a disaster waiting to happen.
“From the outside looking in, Sheffield Wednesday look like they are a real contender for promotion. Fast forward 12 months and Bruce is back in the Premier League with fans that love him.
“At Newcastle, it’s feasible that we could stay up, but to be honest if we do it will only be because there are three teams that are worse than us.”
The bad feeling among Newcastle fans, Jamie said, is nothing personal against former Sunderland manager Bruce, but is one of long-standing anger against the Ashley regime that saw Benitez walk out of the club citing a lack of ambition.
He said: “From our point of view, there is nothing 100% negative against Bruce as a man. Benitez is a world class manager and when he walked away he took with him any sort of hope that we could build some sort of team.
“We can all see that Ashley wants to run Newcastle United in the same way that he does Sports Direct – buying cheap, selling on at a profit and staying in the Premier League money.
“Steve Bruce has not been a successful manager in the Premier League and his appointment would represent a return to a model that just doesn’t work.”
Jamie notes that Mike Ashley is yet to have paid compensation fee to sign a manager, and with a reported £5m price tag on Bruce’s head, believes that could scupper the move. But what would the reaction be if Bruce was to be unveiled as the manager of Newcastle United?
“I think there would be an initial hysteria but there is a feeling that people don’t actually care who the manager is,” Jamie said, “I don’t think it makes a difference, the football club is broken and we want Mike Ashley out.
“As far as I’m concerned, anyone taking the job at Newcastle is doing so for the wrong reasons, but if it’s not him, it could be someone even worse like David Moyes, Sam Allardyce or, god forbid, Tony Pulis.
“This season will be one of huge unrest and one of protest regardless of what happens with the manager.”