Steve Bruce out at Newcastle; interim boss appointed

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Steve Bruce is out as Newcastle United manager, as the clubs new owners have confirmed the English coach has left by ‘mutual consent’ after a turbulent tenure at St James’ Park.

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Bruce, 60, was appointed by previous owner Mike Ashley in 2019 and steered Newcastle to 13th and 12th place finishes in his two full seasons in charge.

However, Bruce was often criticized by the Newcastle fans for his defensive tactics and he was seen as a close ally with Ashley. Bruce leaves Newcastle in 19th place in the Premier League table and without a win through their opening eight games this season.

Here is the statement from Newcastle, who confirmed that Graeme Jones will step up and become the interim boss for their game at Crystal Palace on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET on Peacock Premium).

What did Newcastle say?

“Newcastle United can confirm that Steve Bruce has left his position as head coach by mutual consent. Newcastle United would like to place on record its gratitude to Steve for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.

“Graeme Jones will lead the team on an interim basis, starting with Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, and will be supported by the coaching team of Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith.

“The process of recruiting a new head coach is under way and an appointment will be announced in due course. The club will not be making further comment at this time.”

Steve Bruce thanks Newcastle for opportunity

“I am grateful to everyone connected with Newcastle United for the opportunity to manage this unique football club. I would like to thank my coaching team, the players and the support staff in particular for all their hard work,” Steve Bruce said.

“There have been highs and lows, but they have given everything even in difficult moments and should be proud of their efforts. This is a club with incredible support, and I hope the new owners can take it forward to where we all want it to be. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the rest of this season and beyond.”

In a separate interview with The Telegraph, Bruce said the following as he lifted the lid on how the abuse he received from Newcastle fans impacted him: “I think it might be my last job. It has been very tough. To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail and saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a tactically inept cabbage head.”

Bruce’s time at Newcastle hasn’t been disastrous as he kept them in the Premier League amid huge uncertainty around the direction of the club as it was in limbo for over 18 months as the new owners waited to buy them.

It hasn’t been great either, and this parting of ways makes sense for all involved.

Who will become the next boss?

Graeme Jones will be a front-runner, as the talented assistant coach was brought in last season and had a huge impact at Newcastle. He was also part of Gareth Southgate’s England coaching staff that reached the EURO 2020 final and is highly-regarded in the game.

However, it has been reported that Eddie Howe is in talks with the Newcastle ownership about becoming their new manager on a short-term deal. Other favorites to take the job include Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

Even Jose Mourinho has talked about his ’emotional connection’ with Newcastle when asked about links to the job…

There’s no doubt that Newcastle want to move quickly to appoint a new long-term manager, and sporting director, who can put a plan in place to wisely spend the considerable sums of money the new Saudi Arabian-led ownership group have.

First and foremost they have to pull clear of the relegation zone in the Premier League and they have 12 games between now and January 1 — when the transfer window opens and they will surely make big changes to the playing squad — to do so.