According to The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, Steve Bruce is set for a series of potentially decisive meetings with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley over the coming weeks.
Now he’s kept us in the Premier League, many seem adamant his job will be safe as houses and he’ll be in the dugout for the first game of the 2021/22 season, however Edwards – a self-confessed friend of Bruce’s – has explained why the unpopular head coach could yet leave this summer.
In his latest piece for The Telegraph, the North East reporter claims that it is far from certain that Bruce will stick around – which perhaps explains why he’s refused to commit his future to the club when quizzed in a recent interview on talkSPORT.
Edwards claims that he has been ‘badly hurt’ by the abuse he’s received both online and in the press, even stating that some close to the NUFC boss have urged him to leave for the good of his own health.
Here’s a snippet from the article itself, which also suggests Bruce may feel he’s fighting a losing battle to prove Newcastle fans wrong and guide us to a top 10 finish if he’d not given money to spend by Mike Ashley this summer:
It is not certain he wants to carry on. Far from it. Bruce could well leave. Much will depend on what sort of transfer budget he is offered to improve a squad that lacks the quality in key areas to compete in the top 10.
Bruce has been beaten up; badly hurt by the treatment he has received. Supporters will say that is entirely his own fault and will have no sympathy.
With that sort of attitude, what reason does Bruce have to continue? There are people around him who are urging for him to leave because, they feel, he does not deserve what he has been subjected to.
He will get another job elsewhere, whether it is in the Championship or the Premier League. His stock, if anything, has risen nationally.
That sentence will annoy Newcastle supporters, but it is true. When you take a step back from the emotion – the years of frustration and under-performance under Ashley, the what-might-have-been if Saudi Arabia had been able to buy the club, the fact Bruce replaced the hugely-popular and immensely-talented Rafa Benitez – he has done a good job in difficult circumstances
But is he the man who is going to improve the team and will he have the chance to do so in terms of recruitment?
Bruce has never consistently led a team into the top 10 in the Premier League so why should anyone believe he can do it with Newcastle? Is this his ceiling?
That will never be good enough for the fans, who insist the club is one that should be in the top half of the table, even though they rarely have been under Ashley.
Bruce has directed all the flak away from Ashley and maybe it is time for another manager to come in and see if they can do better under the same regime.
Newcastle should be doing everything they can to sign Willock on a permanent deal which will mean matching Arsenal’s £20m asking price. Bruce wants him, he improves the team and fits the supposed recruitment model perfectly – a 21 year-old with potential and huge resale value.
They also need another centre-back, a full-back and another striker to take the goalscoring burden off Wilson.
But this is Ashley’s Newcastle and, deprived of gate receipts for more than a year, there is not going to be any money to spend, certainly not the amount needed to do all of the above. The club spends what it makes only.
Ashley is still supposedly desperate to sell and has the perfect excuse not to fund putting a better squad together.
Unless Bruce is told he will be allowed to spend money on better players, why would he want to put himself in line for more abuse?
The last two years have shown that he will get the blame for another disappointing season, not Ashley. The opposite was true under Benitez, who had all the same battles with the owner and left when he realised he was not going to win them.
If Bruce is told to make do with what he has and the fans insist the current team is being held back by him, it is best for everyone if he walks away.
What happens next is anyone’s guess, but if Bruce receives a poor reception when Sheffield United come to town next Wednesday, both he and Mike Ashley be thinking twice this summer.