'Employment abuse' - Gary Neville hits out over treatment of former Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce who dumped Owls for Newcastle United
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Bruce was treated as something of an uninvited guest to a party in the North East on Sunday as, for the match against Tottenham, Toon fans revelled in the arrival of new Saudi owners, replacing figure of fury Mike Ashley.
The current manager is being left in limbo with his sacking expected imminently and his former Manchester United team mate Gary Neville says the way Bruce has been treated by Newcastle’s new owners would be considered “employment abuse” in any other industry.
Bruce arrived at his hometown club in July 2019 after spending just six months at Sheffield Wednesday.
He was officially announced as Owls boss on January 2 but having been sacked by Aston Villa the previous October, Bruce was given the opportunity to rest after a turbulent period in which he lost both his parents and underwent two medical procedures.
The manager took that time to watch England’s cricket team in the West Indies before eventually taking up the role at Wednesday officially in February.
Less than six months later, and two weeks before the start of the new season Bruce dumped Wednesday and having had talks with Newcastle United subsequently moved ‘home’ to St James’ Park.
Despite the 60-year-old’s evidential lack of loyalty, Neville insists that it is ‘wrong’ that the Magpies’ new owners are stringing Bruce along.
What Gary Neville said about Steve Bruce and Newcastle United
“I think this thing now with Steve Bruce is totally wrong,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. “If this was any other industry, any other walk of life, it would be classed as employment abuse.
“The employer would be in serious trouble with their employee, they absolutely would. They would be in big trouble. You’ve got to show, and demonstrate, decency.”
It was widely thought that Bruce’s days were numbered after Amanda Staveley’s consortium completed its takeover on October 7.
But he remains at the helm as the new owners continue to assess their options and, despite heavy criticism from a large section of fans, he has vowed to fight for the job handed to him by previous owner Mike Ashley in July 2019.
Neville added: “I’m not talking about the criticism from the Newcastle fans, I’m talking about the ongoing situation, the leaks, the things that have happened in the last week, two weeks, four weeks, six weeks.
“It is not fair on a brilliant man, a great football man, a great player, a manager who has had 1000 games. He deserves to be treated with decency.
“Football managers get the crack, Steve Bruce will get the crack. If you’re going to sack him, pay him up the full money, don’t resist it, do the right thing and move on.
“If you’re not going to sack him, tell him and at least be clear about what you’re going to do, so at least the fans can start having a go at you.
“Stop using Steve Bruce as what would be a shield for the criticism at that football club.”