Right now, more than anything, Newcastle United need a manager who is willing to stand up and be counted.
With Rafa Benitez long gone, and with no summer signings to speak of just yet, the Toon Army need a figure who can come in, take the team by the scruff of the neck, and stamp his authority on the side.
Several names have been touted, but one that has sprung into the ascendancy in recent days has been that of Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce.
Ostensibly, Bruce doesn’t appear to be the worst choice in the world. By no means is he a big name, nor will he do much to quieten the initial frustrations of a fanbase who are still longing for Benitez, but over the course of his last two tenures, at Aston Villa and now Wednesday, he has averaged around 1.6 points per game [Transfermarkt], and he took the former to the cusp of a return to the Premier League in 2018.
But all in all, Bruce is not a show stopper.
That being said, at the moment, neither are Newcastle. The situation on Tyneside is pretty dire, and the club isn’t the hot prospect it once was.
Most ominous of the Magpies’ problems is Mike Ashley’s unwillingness to spend on the necessary reinforcements needed to make a go of things at St. James’ Park.
On the basis of that logic, anybody coming in has to be willing to take that stinginess into account.
The worry, therefore, is that whoever accepts the Toon job, will be little more than a yes man.
And the latest comments from Telegraph journalist Luke Edwards will do little to ease that concern.
Writing on his personal Twitter account, he said: “No manager, no signings, they need someone now.
“If Bruce takes the job it will be because it’s Newcastle.
“I doubt he’d even entertain the idea if it was another club and the mess is not of his making.”
Bruce is a Geordie, and the opportunity to manager his hometown club is too sweet to turn down.
But equally, he will be fully aware of the fact that the only way he can hope to be given the job is if he bows down to Ashley’s ambitions, or lack of, for the club.
The Toon Army should be worried.