The Athletic’s Chris Waugh has dropped a worrying claim about Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce.
The Magpies manager came under heavy criticism from supporters following another difficult campaign in the Premier League at St James’ Park, and with no signings made just yet in the transfer window, things are looking bleak for the Tyneside club.
Now, in a piece for The Athletic, Waugh has claimed that Bruce is under no immediate pressure from Mike Ashley and the ownership, and that even with a poor start to the season, there may not be any decisive move made over his future at the club.
He said: “Do not shoot the messenger but… seven (out of ten on how safe his job is). This is a really hard one to score, actually. Just about any other club would have dismissed Bruce earlier this year, particularly following the humiliating 3-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion in March, when it really did feel like the end. But Lee Charnley, the managing director, stuck by his head coach and, in a way, was vindicated as Newcastle recovered and finished 17 points clear of the drop.
“That underscored the hierarchy’s reluctance to sack Bruce, which is, in part, motivated by their determination not to pay his multi-million compensation package. As long as Ashley remains the owner, he will attempt to persist with Bruce. Yet the unknown factor is the return of supporters.
“In 2020-21, the pandemic meant fans were not present during the difficult spells but, should the returning home crowd turn on Bruce, then that may force Newcastle into taking the decisive action they desperately want to avoid. They have form for ignoring the supporters, though, having kept Alan Pardew on as manager long beyond the point at which his relationship with fans had become irreparable.
“It will be fascinating to see how Bruce is received by fans in the weeks and months ahead and how that, in turn, affects his job security.”
Make no mistake about it, if Newcastle endure a torrid start to the Premier League campaign, fans will want action to be taken and avoid yet another season of mediocrity or even worse.
Waugh’s telling statement that “as long as Ashley remains the owner, he will attempt to persist with Bruce” is one that will be real cause for concern for supporters.
And, the knowledge that the Magpies owner stuck with Pardew even beyond the point of no return is hardly the kind of precedent that Newcastle fans can take a bit of comfort in if things go south from this weekend onwards.
Even after back-to-back wins against West Ham and Burnley towards the back end of last season, many fans made it very clear they did not want to see Bruce take charge for another year after Glenn Hoddle suggested he could do with more time.
Waugh’s latest update is one that will surely have the club’s supporters fuming.