Steve Bruce Newcastle 2021-22Getty Images

Bruce leaves Newcastle by mutual consent as he reveals 'it was tough to be called an inept cabbage head'

Newcastle have parted ways with manager Steve Bruce following the completion of a £300 million ($408m) takeover backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The fund, which is chaired by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was given the green light to complete the buy-out from Mike Ashley by the Premier League earlier this month.

The Magpies will now seek a swift rise to the top of the Premier League standings with the help of their billionaire investors, but Bruce won't be a part of the ambitious project after leaving the club following his 1,000th game as a manager.

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What's been said?

“I really have to thank all the people who have worked alongside me, because I can be demanding and I can be hard work - especially when I was younger," Bruce told The Telegraph. "When we get beat, I get very low, but when you are managing in the Premier League with Birmingham, Wigan, Hull, Sunderland you do get better at dealing with it. You have to.

“By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me but it has been very, very tough. To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head or whatever. And it was from day one. 

“When we were doing ok results wise, it was ‘yeah but the style of football is rubbish’ or I was just ‘lucky.’ It was ridiculous and persistent, even when the results were good.

“The best one was to be told we were a relegation team in all but points…this was all in the first season. We finished 13th. It [the criticism and abuse] got even worse in the second year. We finished 12th, 17 points clear of the bottom three. 

“I tried to enjoy it and, you know, I did. I’ve always enjoyed the fight, proving people wrong, but that’s all it ever seemed to be. A fight, a battle. It does take its toll because even when you win a game, you don’t feel like you are winning over the supporters." 

Bruce also suggested he may now retire from management, saying: “I think this might be my last job. It’s not just about me; it’s taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can’t ignore that. 

“They have been worried about me… especially my wife Jan. What an amazing woman she is, incredible, she’s just a fantastic woman, wife and mother and grandmother. She dealt with the death of my parents, hers have not been very well. And then she had me to worry about and what I’ve been going through the last couple of years.

Steve Bruce Newcastle 2021-22Getty Images

“I can’t take her for granted, she has spent her whole life following me around from football club to football club and if I was to say to her tomorrow, I’ve been offered a job in China, or anywhere, she would say, 'Steve, is this right for you, do you want to do it?' And she’d back me again. 

“I’m 60 years old and I don’t know if I want to put her through it again. We’ve got a good life so, yeah, this will probably be me done as a manager - until I get a phone call from a chairman somewhere asking if I can give them a hand. Never say never, I’ve learnt that.”

Bruce's record at Newcastle 

Bruce initially replaced Rafa Benitez as Newcastle manager in July 2019, with the Spaniard opting to resign due to a lack of assurances over transfers after overseeing a 13th-place Premier League finish in his final season.

The Magpies ended in the same position at the end of the 2019-20 campaign and Bruce once again failed to guide them into the top half last season, leading to question marks over his long-term suitability for the role.

A poor start to the current campaign sealed his fate, as Newcastle have not managed to win a single one of their opening eight matches in the Premier League, and he admitted to fearing the sack after learning of the completion of the takeover.

“New owners normally want a new manager. I’ve been around long enough to understand that. That decision is not up to me. I accept that and I will accept what comes my way,” he said. 

Who is in line to replace Bruce?

Following the decision to part with Bruce, Newcastle have confirmed assistant coach Graeme Jones will take charge of the team on a temporary basis, starting with Saturday's game at Crystal Palace.

A number of big names are being linked with the permanent post at St James' Park, including former Chelsea and Inter boss Antonio Conte and ex-Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, while Paulo Fonseca currently appears to be the bookies' favourite.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who was sacked by the Blues back in January, are also in the frame along with Leicester's Brendan Rodgers, but it remains to be seen which avenue the Magpies will take.

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