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Steve Bruce: Newcastle United appoint ex-Sheffield Wednesday manager

Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce was born in Corbridge, 18 miles west of Newcastle

Newcastle United have appointed Steve Bruce as their head coach on a three-year contract.

Former Sunderland manager Bruce, 58, resigned as Sheffield Wednesday boss on Monday following talks with the Magpies at the weekend.

Newcastle have been without a manager since Rafael Benitez left when his contract expired in June, saying the club “did not share his vision”.

Bruce was born near Newcastle and was a boyhood Magpies fan.

“There is a huge challenge ahead of us, but it’s one that my staff and I are ready for,” said Bruce. “This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family.”

Bruce will be joined by coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, who have been part of his team at a number of his previous clubs.

Did you know?
Steve Bruce has been in managerial employment during every calendar year since his first job with Sheffield United in 1998.

Lee Charnley, managing director at Newcastle United, said: “Steve knows what this club means to supporters and to the region and he will put his heart and soul into leading our talented group of players with the full support of our staff.”

Newcastle are the 10th club Bruce has managed and this is his 11th post, having led Wigan Athletic twice.

Sheffield Wednesday issued a statement on Wednesday saying “there remains outstanding legal issues to be resolved between the club and the staff and Newcastle United. The Club is currently considering its position and taking the appropriate legal advice.”

His appointment has prompted widespread debate among fans, with factions of the club’s support still angered a deal could not be struck for Benitez to stay on at St James’ Park after more than three years at the club.

Benitez was appointed manager of Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang little more than a week after his departure and said his Newcastle vision was not shared with “those at the top of the club”.

Owner Mike Ashley has drawn fierce criticism from Newcastle’s support, with a perceived lack of spending often a focus of frustration. A joint statement attributed to several Newcastle supporters groups said: “Steve Bruce is an unambitious appointment by an unambitious owner”, and suggested fans would protest outside a local Sports Direct store on Wednesday evening.

Last week, former England boss Sam Allardyce said he had turned down the chance to be Newcastle manager.

Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta had also been linked with the job, as were ex-Manchester United boss David Moyes and Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

Bruce saw his Sheffield Wednesday side lose only three times in 18 matches after taking charge on 1 February, leading them to a 12th-place finish in the Championship.

He briefly delayed taking over at Hillsborough in order to recover from surgery and the death of both his parents in 2018.

Bruce will now fly to China to meet the squad following Wednesday’s Premier League Asia Trophy 4-0 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Steve Bruce – competitive record (all comps)
Games: 904 Wins: 348 Draws: 227 Losses: 329
Average win percentage: 38.5%

A promotion specialist – the stats

Bruce has won promotion to the Premier League four times
  • Steve Bruce has managed 392 Premier League games, the seventh-most in the competition’s history.
  • Bruce has suffered relegation from the Premier League twice, in 2005-06 with Birmingham City and 2014-15 with Hull City.
  • His highest finish in the top-flight was 10th, with Birmingham in 2003-04 and Sunderland in 2010-11.
  • Bruce has won four promotions from the second-tier of English football (2001-02 and 2006-07 with Birmingham 2012-13 and 2015-16 with Hull), the joint-most in history along with Neil Warnock.
  • Since the start of the 1998-99 season – his first in management – Bruce has taken charge of 798 English league matches (inc. play-offs); in that time, only Neil Warnock has managed more (812).
  • Among the 33 managers to have managed 200 or more Premier League games, Bruce’s win percentage of 28.1% (110 games in 392 games) is the second-lowest, ahead only of his former Manchester United team-mate Bryan Robson (26.8%).

Analysis

Former Newcastle United captain Kevin Nolan

He is a Newcastle boy and I think it has always been his dream job.

The glamour of managing Newcastle has gone – you are not going to get a Jose Mourinho.

When you have got people of the calibre of Sam [Allardyce], who has been known to keep teams in the Premier League, turning them down then we are on that next step where Steve Bruce is probably the best one for the job.

They’ve lost three of their top players in Salomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez and Mohamed Diame. This is where the worry is. Is Bruce going to get what they received from the sale of Perez? I’d like to think that he is – because they are going to need it.

If there’s anyone who can do it, if there is a local lad who understands what the fans and club are about, it is someone like Bruce.

BBC Newcastle’s Newcastle United commentator Matthew Raisbeck

While is hard to see how Newcastle could have found an upgrade on Rafael Benitez, many supporters are rather underwhelmed by the idea of Steve Bruce taking over.

With the departure of the hugely popular Spaniard, and the fact takeover talks between owner Mike Ashley and Sheikh Khaled appeared to have stalled, it has been a frustrating summer for United’s fans – many of whom are now in rebellious mood and have called for a boycott of St James’ Park until Ashley leaves.

Bruce has been a contender for the job in the past and there is little doubt he will be determined to do the best he can for the club he supports.

He will also be less political than Benitez, who regularly clashed with the club over its recruitment policy, in particular, during his three years in charge.

But, the vastly experienced 58-year-old has a huge job on his hands to prepare the Magpies for the new campaign.

They have already lost strikers Rondon and Perez – responsible for 23 of their 42 Premier League goals last season – plus midfielders Diame and Kenedy.

And, with less than a month until the transfer window closes, they are the only top-flight club yet to make a signing.

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