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Clark delivers verdict on Bruce

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Lee Clark shared his thoughts on Steve Bruce potentially succeeding Rafa Benitez at St James Park and dismissed the idea that his history with Sunderland should be taken into account.

The Guardian previously reported on Thursday that Bruce was poised to be appointed Newcastle United’s manager after asking his current employers Sheffield Wednesday to allow him to talk to the Magpies about their vacant position.

Clark shared that Newcastle was a tough job for anyone due to having to follow Benitez, but pointed out Bruce had broad shoulders and a strong personality so won’t be bothered by any potential unhappiness about him being appointed.

I wrote in my last column that it would be a tough job for whoever takes over from Rafa. Steve’s got broad shoulders and a strong personality. He wouldn’t be bothered about the outside noise,” wrote Clark in his column for Tribal Football.

“But there is a lot of disharmony from the public, on the terraces. It’s a tough period for whoever goes in.”

The former Magpies midfielder also went into detail about how Bruce had previously managed the Magpies’ archrivals Sunderland and seemed to think his connection to the Black Cats shouldn’t be an issue.

“There’s that rivalry between Sunderland and Newcastle but if Steve Bruce is the best man for the job, then it doesn’t matter what the history is,” wrote Clark.

“There were many players before and after when I played for both clubs and there will be more in the future that will do the same. I don’t think anybody can ever doubt my loyalty to Newcastle, I’ve been a supporter since the age of 8.

“When I made that decision it was a footballing decision, and I think Steve might say the same thing for his management career if he takes over at Newcastle. He may get a chance to manage a club that was competing for the top ten of the Premier League before he arrived.”


Clark is spot-on to claim that Bruce’s history with Sunderland shouldn’t be an issue if he picks up the reins at Newcastle. Clark, who actually featured more for the Magpies than Sunderland, understands the rivalry between the two clubs better than most and any Newcastle fan upset that a former Sunderland manager could soon arrive at St James Park needs to look at themselves in the mirror. However, that said, it’s understandable why Bruce’s potential appointment may not be well received. Bruce hasn’t managed in the Premier League since failing to stop Hull City suffering relegation and the author of Opta Joe’s Football Yearbook Duncan Alexander, pointed out via his personal Twitter account, that Bruce was one of two managers to have a win percentage under 30% after managing 250 Premier League games. Given that makes it sounds like Bruce isn’t a man capable of overseeing a team be successful in the Premier League, that’s why he’ll face backlash and it will be nothing to do with his Sunderland links.

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