You’d think that a local lad becoming boss of his boyhood club would be the stuff dreams are made of – but not for Steve Bruce. The 58-yr-old Geordie’s first day in charge of Newcastle has been nothing short of a nightmare.
Landing in China after a 13-hour flight, the former centre-back turned on his phone to discover his new side had been spanked 4-0 by Wolves and ‘Bruce Out’ was already trending on Twitter.
Throw into the mix his former club Sheffield Wednesday are threatening legal action and Paddy Power have already installed him as joint-favourite to be the next Premier League manager to get his P45, you could say it’s the worst first day in a job since Tom Kirkman became US President in the Netflix series Designated Survivor.
In spite of all the negativity, we’ve thought of five ways the former Sunderland boss could become a huge hit at St James’ Park.
Ban the sale of cabbages on Tyneside
Never mind signing Joelinton for £35m! If Brucie wants to succeed at Newcastle, then his first act as manager must be to ban the sale of cabbages from greengrocers around St James’ Park. For decades everyone thought Birmingham’s favourite vegetable was Ozzy Osbourne.
However, that theory was proved incorrect on October 2nd 2018 when Brucie was struck with a cabbage by a Villa fan after they surrendered a two-goal lead to bottom side Preston North End.
Slapping a ban on the overgrown sprout means the former Gillingham defender will avoid the sort of reaction afforded to a terrible piece of theatre should early results go against him.
Pretend his stint as Sunderland boss was all a dream
Brucie really knows how to endear himself to a new set of supporters, doesn’t he?
The former Manchester United centre-half has a penchant for managing both sides of a derby. The seasoned boss has the unlikely distinction of managing both Sheffield clubs, as well as Birmingham City and Villa.
But it’s Brucie’s stint at Newcastle United’s bitter rivals Sunderland which is due to cause him the most aggro. Furious Magpies supporters are so pissed by the ‘unambitious’ appointment of Bruce that they’re calling on fans to boycott St James’ Park for Newcastle’s first home game of the season against Arsenal.
One option available to Bruce is to recreate the infamous Bobby Ewing shower scene from the 80s soap opera Dallas. Perhaps he could try to convince the Toon faithful that his tenure at The Stadium of Light was all a horrible dream.
Sign Ginola, Shearer and the Honey Monster
We all remember David Ginola’s genius volleyed goal against Ferencvaros and Alan Shearer’s absolute thunderbolt against Everton. But, few Newcastle goals will live longer in the memory than the Honey Monster’s last-minute back-post header back in 1996. Baller.
The Toon Army have always been a sucker for a big signing! So, a sure-fire way for Brucie to seduce the St James’ Park faithful would be to splash the cash on these three Magpies legends!
Ok, so Ginola and Shearer are middle-aged now and the Honey Monster is a large, hairy, yellow cereal mascot.
But, with Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon seeking pastures new and all goalscoring responsibilities currently resting upon the shoulders of Dwight Gayle, who’s returning from a season-long loan in the Championship, it’s desperate times and all that.
Come out of playing retirement?
Let’s be honest, Brucie’s slimmer now than he was during the final season of his playing career while at Sheffield United in ’99. So, a comeback at the age of 58 is still a realistic possibility.
The Toon Army love a player who gives everything for the shirt and in Brucie they have someone who’s prepared to put their body on the line – and he has the nose to prove it. Just look at that schnoz! You’d need a degree in Geometry to straighten it out.
Plus, the former Birmingham defender would chip in with some much-needed strikes for a side who managed a paltry 42 goals last season.
During his playing heyday, Brucie bagged 19 goals as a centre-back during the 90/91 season for Manchester United. And he could always link up with his former defensive partner and fellow North East native, Gary Pallister? ‘Dolly & Daisy’, as they were affectionately known, were the Ant & Dec of 90s football. Why-aye-man!
? Steve Bruce spoke to NUFC TV after his first training session in Shanghai today – and explained why he couldn't turn down the opportunity to become the Magpies' head coach.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 18, 2019
Deliver a trophy
Looking at it realistically, there’s only one thing Steve Bruce can do to win over the fans at Newcastle. Deliver a trophy.
Even the League Cup would be enough to appease a set of supporters still dining out on the time they lifted the Texaco Cup in 1975.
In Bruce the Toon Army may not have the man they wanted. But, with 900 games in the dugout under his lengthy belt, he isn’t short of experience. And if Brucie can restore the club to the glory days of its Anglo-Italian Cup win in ’73 and land some silverware, he’ll have them eating out of his palm!