Allan Saint-Maximin has posted a touching tribute to Steve Bruce after the Englishman departed Newcastle United.
A club statement confirmed Bruce had left St James’ Park by mutual consent on Wednesday morning. It ended his turbulent spell as manager of his boyhood club.
Bruce had been in charge for a matter of weeks when Saint-Maximin arrived at Newcastle in August 2019. He joined for a reported £16.5million from Ligue 1 side Nice.
Their fortunes could not have been more different. Saint-Maximin has become a hero among the Magpies faithful with his exciting displays.
He is effectively their talisman, having registered two goals and three assists already this campaign. Bruce, meanwhile, has been derided for his tactics and lack of ambition.
The former centre-back was never truly liked due to his two-year spell with Newcastle’s bitter rivals Sunderland.
Despite his hardship, Saint-Maximin has thanked his former boss for their time together. The winger posted on Twitter: “You are, without a doubt, one of the most gentle people that I have ever met in the world of football.
“You have been a man of your word, a caring man and a fair man who never hesitated to protect us. I will never forget how you treated me, for that I will be forever grateful.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have you as a coach, thank you Steve.”
Newcastle’s new owners will now look to find his replacement. They have been eyeing former England international Steven Gerrard.
He is currently enjoying a successful spell with Rangers, and pundit Rio Ferdinand reckons Tyneside won’t be the 41-year-old’s next destination.
“I can’t see someone like him going there because I just feel that his eyes are on Liverpool,” Ferdinand said.
“How much longer can [Jurgen] Klopp stay at Liverpool? I mean, Klopp could be there for five more years, but easily you could see him one day, because of the character he seems to be, turn around in 18 months and say, ‘Listen, this is me’.
“So I just see that Steven Gerrard will be looking at Liverpool as his next step rather than somewhere like Newcastle.”
Bruce reveals next step after Newcastle
Meanwhile, Bruce has hinted that he may retire from football altogether. During a heartfelt interview with The Telegraph, he said: “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.”
Bruce got the job of his dreams in July 2019 when he was appointed Newcastle boss. However, the fans never really took to him.
“By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me but it has been very, very tough,” he added. “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.”