Sunday, December 5, 2021

Newcastle’s reshaping begins with manager Steve Bruce’s departure

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) – Saudi Arabia’s new ownership of Newcastle was the first big announcement since the purchase of an English club, firing manager Steve Bruce on Wednesday as part of their efforts to reshape the squad and remain in the Premier League.

Bruce’s departure was inevitable as he received no guarantees about his long-term future in Newcastle following a £ 300m ($ 409m) takeover by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund two weeks ago.

Bruce, 60, left by consensus, Newcastle said, although he insisted last week that he would fight to remain the manager of his hometown club, which he joined in July 2019.

“I hope the new owners can move him where we all want,” Bruce said in a club statement in which he mentioned the “pros and cons” of coaching a “unique” club.

Bruce leaves with Newcastle in penultimate place in the Premier League and without a win after eight games. His last game – a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday – was his thousandth game as manager, and Newcastle fans chanted his firing.

Former Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca is linked to the short-term vacancy of assistant coach Graham Jones, who will temporarily lead the match at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Bruce, a former Manchester United defender, was not popular at St James’s Park because he had previously coached rival Sunderland. Newcastle fans also saw him as a downgrade from his predecessor, Rafa Benitez, and criticized his style of play, although in the last months of his leadership the team tried to take a broader approach.

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Newcastle finished 13th and 12th in Bruce’s two full seasons as manager.

“By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle whatever was thrown at me,” Bruce, who coached nine clubs before Newcastle, told the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, “but it was very, very difficult.

“Never really being wanted, feeling like people want me to fail, reading people constantly saying that I’m going to fail, that I’m useless, a waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept head of cabbage or whatever. kind. And that was from the first day. “

Newcastle said the search for a replacement has already begun. Whoever gets the job will become the manager of a club that is expected to have a difficult time qualifying for the Champions League in a few years, given the vast resources available to the State Investment Fund, which is now the majority owner of Newcastle.

The first challenge, however, is to keep Newcastle in the Premier League with just one transfer window to improve the team that has conceded the most goals – 19 – so far this season and just one point above Norwich, who finished last. …

“This takeover had to happen to improve the club,” Bruce told The Daily Telegraph. “It had to happen for Newcastle to have a chance to be the club we all think it should be.

“I did my best. I’ll leave it up to other people to judge whether I did well or not. I wish the new owners, players and fans all the best.”

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More AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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