Newcastle United legend Chris Waddle has questioned the club’s potential appointment of Steve Bruce, admitting he was surprised by the links.
The BBC reported on Saturday that the Magpies are in negotiations with Sheffield Wednesday over the veteran manager, and Waddle feels Bruce would be taking on a big job at St James’ Park.
“The Newcastle job is a massive challenge for Steve Bruce,” he told the Daily Mirror. “Don’t get me wrong, Newcastle are a huge club, but he’s having to follow [Rafael] Benitez, who has been one of the most popular managers they’ve ever had.
“So [for Bruce] to go and speak to Newcastle, a lot of people are taking a step back and asking, ‘Why?’ They’ll be upset that he wants to leave. I’m surprised by it, too, because he was starting to build a team gearing up for the Premier League.”
Waddle also named two players the Magpies have lost that will make life difficult for Bruce: “Newcastle have lost Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez as well, with only a short time now before the first game of the season.”
Waddle hits the nail on the head, here. For whoever gets the Newcastle job next, to have to make do without two of last season’s stars in Perez and Rondon will be immensely difficult. They were both huge parts of Benitez’s team last time out, and to try and replace them will be a very difficult task. As for replacing Benitez, that’s going to be an impossible job for whoever steps into the breach at St James’ Park. The Spaniard was such a popular figure on Tyneside and did such a magnificent job rebuilding the club, that Sir Alex Ferguson could come in and he’d still be viewed as a sub-standard replacement. What Waddle says about the Wednesday fans being upset about Bruce leaving is true, as well. He only got the job at Hillsborough six months ago, and now he’s going to leave them in the lurch? It all feels a bit ruthless, but as a Geordie lad Bruce will view this as his dream job. Still, the Newcastle fans won’t quite see it that way, will they?