Speaking for the first time since the Saudi takeover was made official on Thursday afternoon, Steve Bruce has accepted he could be about to lose his job at Newcastle United.
That said, the 60-year-old says he would love to be given the chance to show the new owners what he can do, yet speaks like a man who knows his fate – despite the fact he is yet to be given an update on his future by Amanda Staveley.
He admits it would be ‘cruel’ to be sacked before his 1,000 game against Tottenham next Sunday – a milestone he seems desperate to reach – but stresses it’s ‘not about me’ in his interview with The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards.
Bruce also states that he is ‘all for’ the Saudi takeover and the riches it could bring to Newcastle United, even if it sees him lose his job in the process, saying he is ‘irrelevant’ after such a huge day for the football club and its future.
Here’s what he’s had to say in full when speaking from a ‘golf course in Northumberland’ on Thursday:
“I want to continue, I’d like the chance to show the new owners what I can do, but you have to be realistic and they may well want a new manager to launch things for them.
“New owners normally want a new manager. I’ve been around long enough to understand that.
“That decision is not up to me. I accept that and I will accept what comes my way. I have to wait to have those conversations with people when the time is right.
“If I don’t make it to a 1,000 games against Spurs, you might say that could only happen to me, but I don’t think it would be cruel. It’s just football.
“This is not about me, I cannot stress that enough.”
“I have said from the first day news of this takeover came out in public, that if it is the best thing for the football club, if it takes this magnificent football club forward then I am all for it.
“I am not going to be bitter or angry about anything, whatever happens. Of course there will be sadness if I lose my job, it’s the job I’ve wanted my whole life, certainly since I became a manager and as hard as it’s been, I have been enormously proud to be manager of Newcastle United. That will never change.
“Do you know what? I’m not the most important talking point now. What happens to me, well, it’s not irrelevant, but this is about the football club and its future.
“I really hope this is the start of an exciting new era, it certainly sounds exciting when you read about how much money Saudi Arabians have.”
“I didn’t know anything about this until news of it broke yesterday.“
“I took training on Thursday morning. It was a very strange atmosphere, it was very quiet, but we are all waiting now to see what happens. I’ll wait like everybody else.”
Bruce then reflected on the past two years – again, speaking like a man who knows he’s managed his last game at St James’ Park:
“I think whoever took over from Rafa, it was going to be tough.
“I don’t think people wanted me from the start, in the local media and the fans. It has been incredibly draining emotionally at times, very hard. Not just for me but for my whole family, who are all Geordies and who are all Newcastle fans.
“Some of the things written and said about me, the abuse on social media, I’m just glad my parents were not still alive to see and hear it because it would have broken their hearts.
“This was their home and their people. This was their city, it is where I’m from and where I always wanted to return.
“But as tough as it has been, I’ve tried to enjoy it as much as I can. And you know, almost everyone I’ve met in person has had nothing but good wishes. They’ve all urged me to stick with it and said good luck.
“As I’ve said, it’s not about me. The takeover is a chance for this club to be what every supporter has wanted it to be for so long. If this is the real deal, I’ll be happy for the fans because, at the end of the day, that is what I am.
“Long before I played football, long before I became a manager, I was a Newcastle United fan. I’d love to see this club win something, to play in Europe and from everything I’ve heard about these new owners, that is what they want too and they have the money to make it happen.”
For everyone’s sake, it’s time Bruce walked away, with his hefty payoff, and handed the reigns to a manager much more capable of taking this club forward.