Newcastle United confirmed Steve Bruce’s departure from the club on Wednesday morning, stating the decision was by mutual consent.
The Saudi-led consortium completed their £305 million takeover of the club last week, ending Mike Ashley’s 14-year rule over Tyneside. Bruce was expected to be replaced and has now been relieved of his duties following a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham at the weekend – his 1,000th as a manager – rounding off two turbulent years in charge of his boyhood club.
The 60-year-old is to receive an estimated fee of around £7 million as a pay-off and there are questions over whether he’ll ever manage again.
Bruce’s appointment as successor to Rafa Benitez proved to be hugely unpopular with the Newcastle fans as he endured abuse from large segments of the Newcastle fanbase throughout his tenure – despite guiding the club to 12th and 13th place finishes.
In a club statement, Bruce said: “I am grateful to everyone connected with Newcastle United for the opportunity to manage this unique football club.
“I would like to thank my coaching team, the players and the support staff in particular for all their hard work. There have been highs and lows, but they have given everything even in difficult moments and should be proud of their efforts.
“This is a club with incredible support, and I hope the new owners can take it forward to where we all want it to be. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the rest of this season and beyond.”
Tributes poured in for the Geordie manager after the news was publicised, with forward Allan Saint-Maximin thanking Bruce for his guidance over the years.
He tweeted: “You are, without a doubt, one of the most gentle people that I have ever met in the world of football. You have been a man of your word, a caring man and a fair man who never hesitated to protect us. I will never forget how you treated me.”
West Ham United manager David Moyes also shared his views on the news, saying: “I think Steve did a really good job there, but sadly managers lose their jobs every year and it’s never nice to see.
“We employ so many people in football nowadays, whether it be the media or grassroots or any department. The manager is always at the top of that list so he’s usually the one who’s going to lose his job if things aren’t going the way they want.
“I think longevity in football is something that’s very hard to achieve – management is much more difficult now and they don’t have as much power as they used to because of agents and new owners.”
Non-executive chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and director Amanda Staveley were at the match on Sunday afternoon and will now begin the process of finding a new manager.
With an estimated £320 billion at their disposal, the news owners will be surely be eyeing up a big name to take charge at St James’ Park, with the likes of Paulo Fonseca and Lucian Favre tipped replace Bruce.
Graeme Jones will be interim manager for their trip to Crystal Palace this weekend, however there are reports that the club will hold talks with former Roma manager Fonseca this week.