Steve Bruce will use his native Geordie grit to try and get through the opening difficult months atter taking over the hot seat at Newcastle. It was never going to be an easy task for whoever came in to take over at St James’ Park following the exit of the very popular Rafa Benitez after he was unable to reach an agreement about a contract extension with the extremely unpopular owner Mike Ashley.
The 58-year-old head coach was appointed as Benitez’s successor in July as fans reacted furiously to the Spaniard’s departure. Bruce took up his role at St James’ Park with some fans bemoaning both his predecessor’s exit and his appointment, although much of the anger was, and still is, being directed at owner Ashley.
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Ashley’s tenure as owner of the club has been split between outright rebellion from the fans to a mutual tolerance but it would seem the majority of supporters want him out of the club.
Ashley has been trying to sell the club for the past couple of years but, for one reason or another, no deal has ever come off, much to the anger of fans. Despite what was , by their standards, a summer spending spree on new players, the fall out between fans and the club’s board at the start of the season was as bad as ever and their relationship is now toxic.
Through all this Bruce has tried to steer the club to calmer waters after his controversial move from Sheffield Wednesday, whilst many Newcastle fans do not want him many Sheffield Wednesday fans are fuming he left them on the brink of the new season.
As he prepares for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Norwich, Bruce knows there are some dissenters he may never win over, although having had to leave his native north-east to get his chance as a player with Gillingham as a teenager, he is confident the tenacity he has shown throughout his career will serve him well once again.
He said: “I’m from here, so it steels you. You have to be tough at school, otherwise you get picked on. Your whole upbringing from the north-east gives you that determination. “I’ve never had it easy. I’m prepared to work hard and have a go, that’s always been my philosophy. I’ll have a go, have a crack and won’t be frightened of anything.”
Thousands of supporters stayed away from last weekend’s opener against Arsenal and the reaction to a 1-0 defeat, in some quarters at least, was less than favourable with the fracture in the club’s relationship with elements of its fanbase all too apparent.
Bruce said: “That’s my biggest challenge. Can I try to repair that? Can I try to help in this situation Whether that is possible, time will only tell.”