Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has been made the “fall guy” at St James’Park and shown a lack of respect, according to his son Alex.
Bruce will take charge of his 1,000th game as a manager when the Magpies host Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. However, he is widely expected to be replaced following the takeover of the club.
Bruce took charge of his boyhood club in 2019, but was given little opportunity to refresh the squad under former owner Mike Ashley. He is also took the majority of the blame for the lack of progress on the pitch.
“It’s been tough,” Alex Bruce told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily Podcast.
“I wouldn’t sit here and lie and say it hasn’t, it’s been really tough to watch the criticism.
“Since he took the job, I think the lack of respect that has been shown, considering he’s done 1,000 games, has been unbelievable.”
A Saudi Arabian-backed group completed their takeover of the club on October 7, sparking immediate speculation Bruce – who has guided Newcastle to 13th and 12th-placed finishes – would be replaced after a winless start to the campaign.
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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, former Chelsea chief Frank Lampard and ex-Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre have all been linked with the post, but Bruce remains at the helm for now.
Despite being a boyhood fan himself, Bruce has never been a popular appointment among the St James’ Park faithful, with Alex Bruce saying his father had always faced an uphill battle.
Tough task for Bruce
“He knew that was going to be the case from the day he took the job,” he said.
“He had an owner who was trying to sell the club, he had an owner who didn’t really want to put any money of his own into the club for a number of reasons, he could only use the money that the club generated and with the pandemic there wasn’t any money there.
“He tried to strengthen the squad in the last window. They desperately needed reinforcements in defensive areas, I think he was very frustrated he couldn’t do that, so there’s been a number of things that have made the job difficult.
“He has been the fall guy. The amount of times I’ve said to him, ‘Why don’t you let someone else do the press?’ And he just says, ‘Because I’m the manager, it’s my responsibility’.”
Alex Bruce argued that his father’s record compared fairly well alongside Rafa Benitez’s achievement of 10th and 13th-placed finishes, questioning why the two men are regarded differently.
“Dad’s finished round about similar and yet one’s been lauded as a messiah and the other one’s been battered since the moment he walked in the door, which has been the most difficult thing for me to watch because he’s a Geordie,” he said.