Steve Bruce has left Newcastle United by “mutual consent,” according to Saudi-backed new owners, as the Public Investment group looks to build a team capable of challenging the Premier League’s elite.
Bruce’s future has been a subject of speculation following the Saudi takeover, with many analysts predicting that the 60-year old would be replaced during the last international break.
However, with the veteran manager on 999 games as manager, the club had elected to give Bruce one last hurrah and perhaps an audition of his credentials to carry the new owners’ monumental ambitions.
But Newcastle slumped to another disappointing result, losing 2-3 to Tottenham Hotspurs at St James’s Park despite taking an early lead, causing frustrated home supporters to mock the former England midfielder.
In his two years in charge, Bruce had managed to keep Newcastle in the Premier League but nonetheless faced scathing criticism from home supporters who faulted the team’s lack of “competitive spirit.”
Much of that frustration was also directed at former owner Mike Ashley who brought in the 60-year old to steady the ship following Rafa Benitez’s departure in 2019.
The Saudi consortium will pay Bruce around £8m in compensation as he leaves Newcastle 19th in the table and winless this season.
His assistant, Graeme Jones, will assume the role of club gaffer temporarily until Bruce’s replacement is announced. Newcastle United face Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre, Eddie Howe and Steven Gerrard have all been touted as possible replacements to take over at St James’s Park.
In a statement confirming his departure, Bruce said: “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. 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.”