Steve Bruce admits the opportunity to manage boyhood club Newcastle was something he ‘had to take’. The 58-year-old left his position as manager of Championship club Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week and he was swiftly confirmed as Rafael Benitez’ successor at St James’ Park.
Bruce’s appointment was met with derision by certain sections of the Newcastle support, who are unhappy with the way owner Mike Ashley is running the club, particularly the way he allowed Benitez to leave following the expiration of his contract.
That has seemingly put Bruce on the back-foot before he has even taken charge of his first game. The former Sunderland manager admits he knew what he was getting into when accepting the job, but it was something he simply could not turn down.
Speaking to nufcTV, Bruce said: “I’m like every other Geordie, I’ve lived the dream. “I know in some people’s eyes, I’m not Rafa and I understand there are big shoes to fill. “The easy thing for me would have been to say no but it is something (the job) that I simply had to take.
“I had to grasp it, I knew it was going to be difficult but I hope people show the respect you obviously get with a few results and doing the job.” Bruce will take charge of Newcastle for the first time when the Magpies take on West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy on Saturday, while his first competitive game will be the Premier League home clash with Arsenal on August 11.
Newcastle have flirted with relegation in each of the past two seasons and they are priced at 2.88 to be relegated come the end of the campaign, although, if that is the case, Bruce is unlikely to still be in charge.