After finally accepting that a Saudi-backed takeover looks all set to go through last weekend, Martin Samuel has now spoken out about the managerial situation at St James’ Park
Samuel – who’s known to by Mike Ashley’s ‘mate’ in the media after facilitating his shamelessly one-sided PR statement last summer – has been consistently inconsistent when reporting on the recent takeover saga, but his latest report on the Saudis plans actually ads up, surprisingly.
Here’s the first of two intriguing snippets from his latest piece for the Daily Mail, which explains both why Bruce is fearing the worst and Pochettino attracted by the project:
‘Steve Bruce sees his departure in the coming months as close on inevitable. He’s been around long enough. He knows how this works.
‘Bruce is still aspiring, even at the age of 59. Mostly, he aspires to work at a club that has the money to compete and that may be Newcastle one day.
‘Yet he is also a realist. He sees the stories linking the club with Mauricio Pochettino and knows they contain a cruel logic. Newcastle do not possess an endless list of options and neither does Pochettino.
‘They are a team that need to be built, he is a coach that loves building. They are desperate to win a trophy, and so is he after repeated near misses at Tottenham. It all makes sense.
‘As at Blackburn and Manchester City, the appointment of a marquee name would serve as a statement of intent. Who could Pochettino persuade to come with him? Dele Alli? Harry Kane? So we get it. Even Bruce gets it, probably. We understand the appeal of Pochettino and Newcastle. We know the message it sends, and why it changes the dynamic.
Samuel then discusses why Newcastle may well be reluctant to stick with Bruce – feeling there’s huge pressure to get their first appointment right ahead of an inevitable period of big spending:
‘With UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, Newcastle’s owners have to get it right first time. They can’t spend their fortune on a trial.
‘And what if they did, only to find the world is much the same as it was in 1991 and 2009 and they need that public statement?
‘It all points to change, and Pochettino; but that does not make it any fairer on the man cast aside to facilitate the great leap forward.‘
I didn’t expect to say this anytime soon, but Samuel is pretty spot on here.
With the would-be new owners clearly having big ambitions and even bigger wallets, they can’t afford to give hundreds of millions to a man they are unlikely to see as their long-term manager – and I bet Steve Bruce knows that.
Pochettino has spoken about his eagerness to return to the Premier League and begin a ‘new project’, so that combined with his rebuilding jobs at Southampton and Spurs suggest he could see this opportunity at St James’ Park as his ideal route back into football.