The north-east writer for The Athletic also believes that Bruce was a ‘third of fourth choice’ option for the club, claiming Ashley saw him as a ‘safe pair of hands’ when their pursuit of a ‘young, European, forward-thinking’ failed.
Here’s what Waugh has had to say during an appearance on Newcastle Fans TV’s latest podcast:
“Bruce certainly wasn’t that far down the list.
“Who Newcastle’s first choice was? Now I know they looked at Patrick Vieira. They were very keen on Patrick Vieira.
“The same with Mikel Arteta, the assistant manager at Man City. I think talks got reasonably advanced with Arteta’s people and I think there was a stage where he was considering it, but it never got to the stage where it was imminent and he was going to be appointed.
“That’s what I don’t understand about what Newcastle did over the summer. They initially went for a young, European, forward-thinking manager, then they reverted to Steve Bruce.”
“I think Bruce was third or fourth choice on the list and the back up to the first couple of choices that they couldn’t get.”
While this does suggest that Bruce was not way down our shortlist as Sky Sports once claimed soon after his appointment, it does indicate that our interest in Vieira and Arteta was serious.
With this in mind, it’s worth going back to that article from the Sun’s David Coverdale back in July, which claimed that Rafa Benitez had told both Vieira and Arteta NOT to take the job.
It’s probably time we moved on now Bruce has got the job, but this sheds some light on our scatter-gun approach over the summer – which saw Ashley settle for Bruce once our brief pursuit of an exciting young coach proved to be fruitless.