Steve Bruce’s tenure as Sunderland manager is not something that most Newcastle United fans hold against him, according to The Athletic journalist Chris Waugh.
The Toon boss was in charge of the Black Cats between 2009 and 2011, but Waugh has suggested that any belief it has affected the fanbase’s outlook of him is false.
Writing in a piece for the Athletic, he said: “The idea Bruce was somehow rejected out of hand by some supporters because he previously managed Sunderland is a fallacy.
“A minority of fans may hold that against him but the majority do not.”
To be fair to Waugh, he’s probably right about this one. The chances are that the Toon Army aren’t bothered by Bruce’s past as Sunderland manager, but rather that he is regarded as something of a yes man for the Ashley regime. Taking the job under the circumstance he did, with Rafa Benitez having just left and with Ashley’s popularity at an all time low, it was always going to look as if he had taken the gig by bowing to the controversial businessman’s wishes. A history with Sunderland pales in to insignificance compared with that allegation, especially one that ended the best part of a decade ago. At the end of that day, Newcastle are not in a position to be fussy, and their mindset as a fanbase is dictated much more by pragmatism than it is by rivalries. Any upset with Bruce is because there is a belief he is not the right man for the job, not because of his past.