Can Steve Bruce win over the furious Newcastle United fans?
The Magpies have named their new manager, and it's only added to the air of mutiny at St James' Park
Steve Bruce will have his work cut out at Newcastle United, who have appointed the 58-year-old as manager.
He arrives at a club where the supporters are in open revolt against owner Mike Ashley and are seething at the departure of Rafa Benitez.
Aside from the usual boardroom chaos are also issues to address on the playing front after the departure of the club’s two main strikers Ayoze and Salomon Rondon, which should ring alarm bells as the Magpies only managed 42 goals last season and finished with 45 points.
An uphill battle
“The decision to choose Bruce, who has signed a three-year contract, has not gone down well with many fans who are still mourning the loss of Benitez, after he rejected a new contract in order to take up a lucrative role in China with Dalian Yifang,” says the Daily Telegraph.
“Bruce will face an uphill battle to win over sceptical supporters, but he was always adamant he wanted the job and has already discussed transfer targets.”
The fans’ reaction makes “tough job even more challenging”, says the Newcastle Chronicle.
“Benitez had given the fans something to hope for - reason to believe that fighting relegation would not always be the priority at Newcastle. He gave fans a sense of ambition; sadly the appointment of Steve Bruce doesn't do that.”
A lack of ambition
“Many people see his arrival as a marker for the levels of ambition of the hierarchy, and his history in the Premier League - compared to Benitez - also makes for poor reading.
“Bruce's appointment has been met with disdain by many, and as the days go by that doesn't seem to be subsiding.”
The Guardian describes Bruce as “a safe if somewhat unexciting pair of managerial hands”, who could make a decent fist of things at St James’ Park.
“What he does at most clubs is steady the defence, sort out a settled team and begin to make small but significant improvements. Newcastle are certainly in need of someone who can do that but they have just lost an arch-pragmatist and organisational master in Rafa Benitez, and it remains doubtful whether Bruce is quite up to the Spaniard’s tactical standards or as stoically diplomatic in adverse circumstances.”
The fans are unhappy but beggars can’t be choosers, adds Wilson. “Capable managers with Premier League experience willing to work under Mike Ashley are not exactly beating a path to the north-east at the moment… and [Bruce’s] enthusiasm for football and fondness for Newcastle are likely to win over any doubters.”