They are in every sense of the words a sleeping giant. With a huge fan base in a city where football is very much a religion, Newcastle United is a club crying out for some TLC from a very rich owner with very deep pockets. And that scenario still might unfold as the Premier League forensically examine the competency of the potential new owners waiting in the wings to let the Toon Army rise up — at the same time leading the charge to put on the pitch a team who can start to make an impact at the right end of the top flight and trouble silverware now and again too.
There is a great deal of frustration among fans of the Magpies at the moment as the proposed £300million takeover by moneybags Saudi Public Investment Fund remains on ice; current owner Mike Ashley has never really shown the commitment to take the St James’ Park outfit to the next level and until a deal can be struck there is trepidation in the ranks of the supporters over the future of the Tyneside giants.
Newcastle currently sit in 13th spot in the Premier League table standings and can do no more than play the season out knowing that matters off the pitch are far more important than they are on it at present. They secured a point in their last match at home to a relegation-threatened Aston Villa side at St James’ Park and get the chance to add to their points haul when they go to the south coast next Wednesday to take on another side in the mire in the shape of struggling AFC Bournemouth.
If the takeover does indeed go ahead and there is a bigger playing budget available, will the new owners trust current incumbent Steve Bruce with the funds, or might they prefer a new head coach with a better track record on the pitch and in transfer dealings? That is the question on everyone’s lips with an interest in the Mags. Bruce himself has a view on proceedings and it is that he would indeed like to stay on and take the club he supported as a boy to new levels, aided by the billionaire investors and their bankroll.
Bruce says that the reason he took the job in the first place — back in the summer of 2019 — is, in his words,
“I’m a Newcastle fan – and always will be”.
And he is clear on his mission should he stay at the helm. He added:
“My job is to try to take the club forward. If there’s going to be a takeover, if there’s something happening that will help the club, and I can help in any way, shape of form, I would love to stay in charge. Why shouldn’t I? I have enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a difficult job. But I have enjoyed the challenge of managing this great club, and I hope I can take it forward if that is the case. It’s for other people to decide. I have said from the day I walked in the door, whatever is best for the club is good by me.”
He’s an honourable man, is Bruce – and those are honourable things to say. However, this correspondent seems to think he won’t be at the helm next season.