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Harmison defends not wanting Bruce

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Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has defied expectations by racking up some positive results in recent weeks.

When Bruce first arrived at St James Park to succeed Rafa Benitez as Newcastle manager, it was a disappointing appointment for most and you can understand why.

Ahead of managing the Toon Army in a Premier League game, Bruce had a shockingly low win-rate of 28.1% in England’s top-flight after only winning 110 games out of the 392 matches he had overseen in the division. (Source: BBC Sport)

The manager had also suffered relegation twice in the Premier League, with Hull City and Birmingham City respectively, and had spent his last few seasons in the Championship, which implied the top-flight had moved on from him as he was no longer up to scratch.

However the Magpies manager oversaw his side beat Bournemouth 2-1 on Saturday, a result which sees them sit 13th in the table, and the club seem to be doing better each and every week.

So Bruce does deserve credit, yet that still doesn’t mean Newcastle fans such as cricketer Steve Harmison were wrong to want a younger boss who hadn’t been around the block.

Harmison previously clashed with ex-Magpies boss Sam Allardyce on talkSPORT (Thursday, July 11th, 8:06 am), with the cricketer revealing he wanted a young, vibrant manager, kind of like Derby had gone for Phillip Cocu, much to the unattached manager’s dismay.

Allardyce rightly pointed out a well-travelled manager could do a job, but it’s understandable why Harmison didn’t want to see someone like Bruce or Mark Hughes, or someone who has a chequered track-record in the Premier League, arrive.

Alan Brazil brought up Harmison’s past remarks with Bruce doing well and Cocu not wowing at Derby County, in order to ask if he wanted to apologise to Allardyce over his past remarks, but he rejected the chance and was spot-on in doing so.

“No, I don’t, I feel I wanted a Cocu, a Gerrard, Vieria was mentioned at the time, and Sam will say foreign, I looked at Lampard, I expected Lampard to do well,” said Harmison on talkSPORT (8:51am, Tuesday, November 12th).

“I think what Newcastle wanted was the next-generation of manager who had new ideas.

“I didn’t think Bruce would be a yes man but what fans were sick of were when a manager’s job comes around, it’s the same five names who have lost jobs, gone from club to club, with the same sort of ideas.

“Newcastle have done well, I’m pleased for Bruce, I expected him to give Newcastle a bit of a lift as the one thing about Bruce, is that he is a good man-manager and there are a few players in there who have said he’s different to Benitez but it’s a positive vibe.”

Harmison acknowledged that Bruce had made a better start than people thought, and didn’t backtrack on preferring a manager who would have brought fresh ideas.

While a well-travelled manager has worked out, for now, Harmison didn’t owe Allardyce an apology as who knows a younger manager may have fared better.

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