Every Newcastle fan is jumping for joy at the prospect of Saudi Arabia’s billions being pumped into our club.
Every Newcastle fan, except Steve Bruce that is.
Day one of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s potential reign will be met by a massive elephant in the room – ‘what on earth do we do with Bruce?’.
Anyone with half a brain will tell you that the most important figure at a football club is the manager, and by splashing out £300million on NUFC, you can be sure that Staveley & Co will want their own man at the helm.
If you spent that much on a house, you certainly wouldn’t want the previous owners wall paper in your living room.
Whether you like him or not, Bruce could quickly become a dead-man walking on Tyneside. To say the reaction to his appointment last summer was poor is an understatement, with many voting with their feet and vowing to stay away from St James’ until Ashley was gone.
Many, myself included, thought we were dead and buried. The departure of Benitez, Rondon and Perez appeared too big a job for Bruce to fill. He was obviously going to be tainted by his stint at Sunderland too, with fans feeling this was another one of Ashley’s tricks to intentionally wind the fans up. Remember Kinnear and Sports Direct Arena?!.
The football has been woeful, but Bruce has surprisingly steadied the ship and kept us in the league, reverting to a back five has worked wonders and we even have an FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to – coronavirus permitting.
He has managed to convince the majority of the fanbase that he is just about up to the current task at hand (which is keeping us up these days), but you’d do well to find a single football fan who’d feel he is capable of achieving the ambitions our potential new owners are likely to have.
One man who springs to mind is Mark Hughes. The Welshman was in charge of Man City when Sheikh Mansour came strolling into town, and most feel he was always on borrowed time from the get-go.
When he was replaced by the more fanciable Roberto Mancini less than 18-months into the gig, this marked the beginning of a City era spent competing at the upper echelons of the Premier League.
Bruce could suffer a similar fate, and the romantic return of Rafa Benitez is what some Toon fans are already hoping for. Staveley is thought to be an admirer too.
Let’s not forget, Bruce hasn’t always been the most loyal of dogs himself over the years. As well as both North-East clubs, Bruce’s CV consists of Aston Villa, Birmingham, Sheffield United and Wednesday.
He has reached his ceiling as a manager. He certainly won’t be poached for a job bigger than Newcastle and any exit would likely see him make the move back down to the Championship.
If a takeover is to be the end of Bruce’s stint at the club then our fanbase should only wish him well. After all, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia certainly wouldn’t be interested in freeing us from Mike Ashley if we were sitting in the bottom three.