Glenn Hoddle has backed Steve Bruce to remain as Newcastle United manager beyond this season as he ‘deserves’ to have one more year.
Bruce, 60, is in the second season of the three-year deal he penned at St James’ Park in July 2019. He was not a universally popular choice to succeed Rafa Bentitz after the Spaniard left to join Chinese club Dalian Professional. But the north-east native managed to guide the Magpies to 13th in his first season in charge.
The current campaign has been challenging to say the least – both on and off the pitch. Speculation over the club’s ownership continues to rumble in the background, and finances are tight.
And it seemed as though Bruce was on the verge of being sacked after last month’s 3-0 loss to Brighton. It was his side’s display at the Amex that drew ire from supporters but he was given the nod to carry on.
Doon and gloom has now been replaced by a degree of optimism. Back-to-back wins over Burnley and West Ham United have propelled the Tynesiders to 15th in the table.
They are now eight points clear of the drop zone and all at the club can breathe a little easier. Bruce continues to polarise opinion.
But Hoddle is firmly in the camp who feel the much-travelled tactician has done enough to earn a stay of execution.
“I think Steve will stay. He’s working hard to make sure the club stays in the Premier League,” Hoddle told the Glenn Hoddle Footy Show podcast.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce 'relieved' after win
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce gives his reaction to Sky Sports after the 3-2 win over West Ham.
“Why would he move on? He would want to be backed and see if he could take Newcastle to a different level.”
Bruce the victim of other clubs’ success
It seems likely that Newcastle will remain in the top flight for another season. Indeed, a few more decent results could see them match last year’s position.
But that is unlikely to be enough to appease the passionate and vociferous supporters. And the former England manager feels he has unearthed the reason why there is so much negativity towards Bruce.
“All the Newcastle supporters are very close to that city, obviously, and they believe they are a club that should be up there, like Leeds have done or Wolves have in the past few years,” he added.
“There are a few examples – Sheffield United last year. (Newcastle fans) are asking: ‘Why can’t we do it?’
“They’ve probably got a point – but Bruce needs to be backed by the ownership. I think he is fighting for Newcastle. If they stay up, he deserves to have one more year and see where he can go with this.”