Football

Bruce could end career after Newcastle exit

He leaves by 'mutual consent', as Fonseca is named among possible replacements

Steve Bruce said his stint at Newcastle United could be his last managerial role after the 60-year-old left the club yesterday following a poor start to their English Premier League season and the club's takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium.

Bruce, who has been the target of fans' ire since replacing the popular Rafael Benitez in 2019, left by mutual consent with the team in 19th place and winless after eight games.

"I think this might be my last job. It's not just about me; it's taken its toll on my family because they are all Geordies and I can't ignore that," Bruce told The Telegraph.

"They've been worried about me... especially my wife Jan... I'm 60 years old and I don't know if I want to put her through it again."

In a statement, Newcastle expressed their gratitude to Bruce, adding that his assistant Graeme Jones will be the interim manager, starting with Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

Sky Sports reported that former AS Roma coach Paulo Fonseca, who was on Tottenham Hotspur's radar earlier this year, was among several contenders for the job. Other names include former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.

Bruce, who will reportedly pocket an £8 million (S$14.8m) severance payoff, had just reached a milestone in his managerial career - last Sunday's 3-2 defeat by Tottenham at St James' Park was his 1,000th match as a manager.

But the joy of reaching his century would forever be dampened by the abuse directed at him by Newcastle supporters throughout his stint.

"To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head... And it was from day one," Bruce told The Telegraph.

"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, even when the results were good."

Under negligent former owner Mike Ashley, Bruce had guided Newcastle to 13th and 12th-placed finishes in the league and helped them reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and League Cup.

But, in the end, his stint just seemed like a constant battle, "because even when you win a game, you don't feel like you're winning over supporters".

Club legend Alan Shearer came out in support of Bruce on Twitter, saying: "I know how tough it was for any manager at Newcastle for the last 14 years.

"I also know how badly Steve & his family wanted it to work. In difficult circumstances for everybody, he kept #NUFC up for two seasons."

Magpies attacker Allan Saint-Maximin said Bruce has been a man of his word, a caring man and fair man who protected them, adding: "I will never forget how you treated me, for that I will be forever grateful." - REUTERS

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