Luke Edwards, known for being irritatingly pro-Bruce and a ‘friend’ of the NUFC boss’, has floated the idea that Steve Bruce may end up as a Director of Football before long should Graeme Jones ‘step in if the worst happen’.
There’s currently a great amount of intrigue around the instalment of Graeme Jones as coach, especially as there’s a good, few questions around the nature of his employment and how much was down to Bruce. So, an article like this, raised by a journalist credited with having the inside track on Bruce, is particularly interesting.
As Edwards mentions, Mike Ashley has tried to use the Director of Football model before with the bizarre employments of Dennis Wise and Joe Kinnear, so the chances of him trying it again don’t feel completely off the mark.
‘[Graeme] Jones may well step in if the worst happens and Bruce is removed, but it also raises another possibility – could Bruce be moved upstairs to oversee the whole football side of the business alongside managing director Lee Charnley?
‘If Ashley cannot sell the club…Bruce could move into a director of football role at St James’ Park.‘
There are definitely some benefits to the idea of moving Bruce upstairs, a glaring one being that he wouldn’t be managing the team anymore. However, without being facetious, I think having someone who knows that you should be investing in players such as Wilson, Fraser and Lewis has its benefits and could be genuinely useful at a higher level.
Do I think that Bruce would be a mastermind Director of Football in grand scheme of things? No, but I think he’d be a damn sight better than Wise or Kinnear.
We know that Bruce has some good connections in the footballing world (see all his pundit friends) and he has a fair record of discovering players such as Robertson and McGinn.
The thing that worries me about me about something like this is the idea that we would then be relying on a seriously under-qualified Jones as our manager.
Part of me wants to say that anyone is better than Bruce and therefore I’m in favour, but the complete failure of the Luton does raise some serious red flags. On the other hand, he’s credited as a talented coach and there is something in building from your mistakes.
Ultimately, I don’t know. This is an Ashley-only type of long-term plan and I think that the idea of retaining Steve Bruce isn’t something that would be seriously considered under new ownership.
However, a Director of Football isn’t always a bad thing and is something that could have possibly saved Eddie Howe’s management at Bournemouth where he was allowed to spend a lot of their money on Dominic Solanke and Jordon Ibe.
If I were to be offered a situation where we had Howe as manager, Jones as first-team coach and Bruce as DoF then I think we’d have a nice little budget set-up.