However, talking on Drive Time (talkSPORT, Friday, 5.30pm) Durham also said that Bruce was being hamstrung by the constant negativity and sniping surrounding his appointment at the club.
“While there is the negativity and constant complaints, and with Benitez doing interviews, it’s not going to work for Bruce and it’s not right,” Durham said.
“Steve Bruce, you could argue that he’d found his level at Sheffield Wednesday. This might sound cruel but most people were saying he would be unlikely to get another Premier League job and that he’d have to take Sheffield Wednesday there if he wanted to get back into the top-flight.”
He asked guest Trevor Sinclair, “Weren’t you surprised when he was offered the job?”
Sinclair disagreed though saying, “No I wasn’t and I think Bruce is up to the job. He’s a Geordie, he’s one of their own, why wouldn’t they give him a chance?”
Being a Geordie isn’t enough to take the job at Newcastle. John Carver was a Geordie and that didn’t make him the right man for the job at St James’ Park. Whether Bruce had found his level or not in the Championship, he has never achieved any real success in the game. Getting promoted from the Championship and finishing as runner-up in the FA Cup are the peaks of his career, and right or wrong, Newcastle fans are comparing him to Rafa Benitez. It means that Bruce is starting from a point where he has to prove the fans wrong and that’s always going to be tough as a manager. There are people who rate Bruce and Sinclair is one of them. To his credit, Bruce is supposed to be a good man-manager and there were glimpses during the Arsenal game that he might be looking to play good, attacking football. Ultimately though, Bruce will be judged on what happens on the pitch. That Newcastle fans are fearing the worst doesn’t make things any easier for him.