NEWCASTLE: Steve Bruce has dismissed suggestions he was hanging on as Newcastle United manager for a big pay-off, instead insisting he was focused on convincing the club’s new Saudi owners he was the man for the job.
The under-fire boss is winless in the Magpies’ first eight games of the 2021/22 campaign and has been the target of fan chants calling for him to go since the start of the season.
Calls for him to stand down have grown among supporters, seen as one of the most loyal set of fans in English football, since the Saudi Public Investment Fund, Reuben Brothers, and PCP Capital Partners completed a recent buyout of the Premier League club.
Bruce is thought to have a clause in his deal that ensures he will walk away from Newcastle United with around £8 million ($11 million).
However, with the hunt for a new manager understood to be underway, PCP’s Amanda Staveley said via a club statement that Bruce would oversee his 1,000th professional game as a manager on Sunday when Tottenham Hotspur are the visitors to St. James’ Park.
The 60-year-old former Manchester United skipper said he was determined to stay at the club, and not just for the money.
“That’s a really awful question to start with. It’s not all about money with me. Not at all. I want to be the manager of Newcastle, that’s not going to change. Who wouldn’t want to be, especially now? So, all I’m trying to do is focus on Sunday, get a result, see what happens after that,” he added.
Bruce met with Staveley, and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, at the club’s Benton training ground on Monday, and revealed that there had been no mention of his future during their talks, only that the PCP directors had told him to, “do your job, do the best you can.”
He said: “We talked about the team, injuries, the training ground, it was very informal. I was told to carry on until I was told otherwise. And that’s what I have done.
“There were no discussions on me (future at the club) whatsoever. Certain discussions need to be private. It was very informal. They were very good people — it was good to see them, it is a great thing that has happened.
“I was told on Monday to carry on as normal. No matter what you guys (the media) have been saying and writing. I don’t need an assurance (about job security). Some very good people, who were sitting in front of me, told me to carry on. Business as usual.
“I am not going to give up the hold of it (the manager’s job) — hundreds will want to manage Newcastle United. It is exciting times for the club. I will have a crack. I will try my utmost. Who wouldn’t want this opportunity? I will make a fist of it and try my best for the club,” he added.
Vowing to carry on despite a poor run of results which have seen the team crash out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle and left sitting next to bottom of the Premier League table in 19th place, Bruce said: “If you are in the bottom six or seven, very quickly you come under pressure. When the criticism becomes personal, you cry out for respect.
“I will take results on the chin, that goes for all managers, we all know the job, if you don’t get results you are going to be criticized.”
A number of high-profile Premier League managers have already ruled themselves out of the running for the Newcastle job.
Former manager Rafa Benitez was lined up to replace Bruce, had the deal gone through prior to him accepting the Everton job. His advisers Owen Brown and Frank McParland are acting as football consultants to the new owners; however, Benitez will not follow them east.
“I have a very good relationship with the Newcastle United fans, the city and everyone and it’s not fair for me to talk about that. I’m Everton manager now, I’m focused on that, and I wish them all the best,” the Spaniard said on Friday.
“I prefer to stay away from that and wish them all the best. I can tell you I have a lot of friends and they were asking me the same question.
“But from day one, I was talking to the board here and they did not need to worry about that as I decided to stay. I’m really happy and trying to improve everything I can here and focus. When I decided to stay here, I kept my word and continued to work here,” Benitez added.
Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers, believed to be a target of the club’s new football executive, along with Graham Potter of Brighton and Hove Albion, have both distanced themselves from the Newcastle role.
Another rumored candidate, Glasgow Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, said: “I think it’s interesting, what’s happening at Newcastle. I think if anyone deserves a break it’s the Geordie fans. So, I’m sure that excitement levels are very high down on the Toon.”