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The pressure never eases on Steve Bruce at Newcastle United despite guiding them to Premier League safety with some good end-of-season form. The boyhood Toon fan has never really felt the love from his fellow supporters and the relationship seems to be beyond repair.
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Bruce’s boys have not been playing well this season and, generally, they haven’t been getting the results either. Lacklustre, unimaginative and defensive displays against seemingly everyone they face is grating on the Toon faithful and that, coupled with the failed Saudi takeover, has left a very unhappy fanbase up in the North East of England.
While Mike Ashley might be happy with a 17th-placed finish every season, the discontent is growing among the fanbase by the day. If the Newcastle board do pull the trigger, Paddy’s traders have priced up who’s next in line to be the Next Permanent Newcastle Manager.
Graeme Jones arrived at Newcastle as their third assistant manager during the 2020/21 season. As soon as it was confirmed that the Geordie had moved north from Bournemouth, rumours started swirling about a succession plan and his odds for the big job tumbled. He has experience in the hot seat having managed Luton last season.
Chris Wilder has shown he can work miracles with minuscule budgets, for a time at least. The former Sheffield United boss was the toast of the Premier League in their first season back in the bigtime but it all went wrong in 2020/21. You’d imagine he will be able to deliver exactly what Mike Ashley is after – 17th or higher every season with the tools at his disposal.
Rafa Benitez is surely every Newcastle fan’s No.1 choice to take over at St James’ Park. The Spaniard left the Magpies in 2019 before heading to China for a job at Dalian Professional. He’s just left that job and now, as a free agent, the ghostly image of Benitez and his black and white waistcoat could be giving Bruce sleepless nights.
Our traders don’t think former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will be out of work for much longer. The 43-year-old has been priced up for a number of jobs and the one up at St James’ is no different. His last action in the dugout was to watch the Cherries get relegated and he’ll be hoping to bounce back in style.
Former Stoke, Manchester City and Fulham boss Mark Hughes is also in the running. Sparky hasn’t managed anyone since a short stint at Southampton in 2018 and might be considered as a like-for-like replacement for Bruce. It’s unlikely Hughes’ appointment would give the Toon Army much cheer, though.
This could be a potentially career-ending job for Frank Lampard if he’s mad enough to take the Toon hotseat. The former Chelsea boss was appointed due to his playing reputation and paid the price after failing to get the best out of his expensively-assembled squad. Still, that’s not a problem he would face at Newcastle, at least.
Swansea boss Steve Cooper is doing a decent job with his team in the Championship after rising up through the ranks in the England youth set up, managing the Under 16s and Under 17s. He might not be the most exciting appointment but perhaps one of the most sensible.
Maybe Newcastle supporters are hoping Alan Shearer will return as a player/manager as his first stint as Toon boss didn’t end too well. His short spell as manager culminated in Newcastle being relegated from the top flight. But, with the Magpies seemingly on a slow, grinding fall into the Championship once again, maybe Mike Ashley will bring in Shearer to just get it over and done with.
Laurent Blanc is a bit of a maverick shout on this list. The ex-Paris St-Germain manager is out in Qatar at the moment in charge of Al-Rayyan but a man with his managerial and playing CV might be on the lookout for a return to the big time.
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