Bruce to take reins at Newcastle
Wednesday lose coach to his home-town club Allardyce claims he was considered for the post
‘If he gets offered the job I think he will jump at the chance. It would be one of his dreams’
Newcastle United are expected to appoint Steve Bruce as manager and are hoping he will join up with the team on their pre-season tour of China.
Sources at St James’ Park have indicated to The Daily Telegraph that, barring last-minute hitches, Bruce will be announced as Rafael Benitez’s replacement today.
It remains to be seen whether Bruce will be able to go on the trip to the Far East because of visa issues, but if he can agree personal terms, the club will endeavour to ensure he is able to meet the players for the first time in China next week.
Newcastle, whose interest in Bruce was revealed by The Daily Telegraph immediately after the departure of Benitez was confirmed a fortnight ago, are discussing compensation with Sheffield Wednesday over the release of the former Manchester United captain.
But the 58-year-old wants the job and feels he cannot resist the lure of the challenge on Tyneside.
A boyhood Newcastle fan, it is the job his parents, who died last year, always wanted Bruce to take, and although he will walk into the eye of a storm, he is ready to accept the criticism that will follow his appointment.
Newcastle need to move swiftly following the departure of Benitez as they have yet to sign a player in this transfer window and need a manager in place before that process can begin.
Bruce’s arrival will be seen as an underwhelming choice by many supporters still angry at the failure to keep Benitez, who decided not to sign a contract extension in order to accept a £12 million-a-year role in China with Dalian Yifang.
The animosity caused by Benitez’s exit has created a toxic atmosphere on Tyneside, with a coalition of supporter groups urging fans to boycott the club’s opening Premier League game against Arsenal.
Bruce has been warned about what he will face if he takes the job, including the amount of opposition from disgruntled supporters, but has not been deterred, with those close to the vastly experienced manager saying he nevertheless felt it was an offer he could not refuse.
Bruce turned down the Newcastle job twice when he was at Birmingham City, the second of those offers having been made behind the back of his friend Sir Bobby Robson when he was in charge at St James’ Park.
Newcastle looked at several other candidates, including Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta and Nice coach Patrick Vieira, although Bruce is the only person to have been officially offered the job, despite claims from Sam Allardyce that he turned it down.
Allardyce, who was in charge at St James’ Park from 2007 to 2008, told Talksport: “I was very flattered that I was considered but it’s that thing – don’t go back.
“It never got to the type of talks people are suggesting but it wasn’t for me. I politely said no.
“I never got to talk to Mike [Ashley]. My agent contacted me, I had a think about it and a quick look at the situation and thanked them very much.
“It’s not for me. Maybe if it was the first time around, I would have jumped at it. I appreciate the offer but I was surprised, I’ve not worked for a full season.”
Allardyce believed Bruce would love to be offered the position, adding: “If he gets offered the job I think he’ll jump at the chance. I think it would be one of his dreams to manage his home-town club.”
Dream opportunity: Steve Bruce is expected to join up with the Newcastle squad on their tour to China next week