Mike Ashley’s 2019 Steve Bruce comments prove Newcastle backing is no surprise

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Steve Bruce's days as Newcastle United manager appeared numbered on Saturday evening as the Magpies suffered a humbling defeat at the hands of relegation rivals Brighton on the South Coast.

But the whispers that emerged from the club the following morning seemed to suggest the Newcastle boss will remain in his post beyond the international break and will be in charge for the visit of Tottenham on April 4.

This, after picking up just two wins from the previous 20 games in all competitions.

Bruce insists he won't walk away from the club he supported as a boy, while controversial owner Mike Ashley doesn't look in any hurry to pull the trigger and part ways with yet more managerial compensation.

But the news shouldn't come as a surprise to fans on Tyneside given Ashley's comments on Bruce shortly after his arrival at St James' Park in 2019.

With a majority of Newcastle fans reeling from Rafa Benitez's decision to walk away from the club, Bruce's arrival further angered the fanbase.

But Ashley was adamant he had the right coach for the job – so is it any wonder he looks set to keep the faith in his man?

"Someone with a lot of passion for the club counts a lot in my book," Ashley told the Daily Mail in the summer of 2019.

"For me, Steve is an amazing choice because, England aside, there is no other job for him. This is his dream.

"What I want the fans to understand is that, in him, they have someone who absolutely cares. He's not worried about his expenses, all that crap. He wants to talk about Newcastle. I get excited by that.

"I expected the negative reaction to Rafa leaving, I thought it would be very bad. But I was shocked by the reaction to Steve. He doesn't deserve it. He's one of their own. I don't think the fans quite realise what they've got because I'm hoping he's the one.

"There's been some hurtful stuff, that he was our 11th choice. Actually, we had a short-list of three and Steve was one of them. His only worry was how soon he could start."

Newcastle's relegation in 2016 came about after Steve McClaren was axed in March of that year, leaving Benitez only eight games to try and salvage the north east club's Premier League status.

This time around, there are nine games remaining for Ashley's side – one more than Fulham have on their fixture list.

Newcastle sit two points above the Cottagers in 17th place but recent performances don't inspire confidence.

To add, Bruce's outfit still face clashes with Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester between now and the end of the campaign. They also take on Fulham on the final day of the season.

Bruce remains defiant, insisting he will not walk away from the club despite the growing calls for a change in the dugout.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the 3-0 defeat to Brighton, Bruce said: "We were beaten by a far better team on the night. We have to accept it and take the responsibility for it. At times, it was a little bit too easy for Brighton.

"We weren't good enough on the night. For that, I take full responsibility, like I should. It became a very difficult evening.

"Whoever was going to get the result tonight was going to get a huge lift. We've got to dust ourselves down. Hopefully, we can get a couple back. We've got nine games to go. We've been doing well of late, to a degree.

"I've been in it a long time. We all know what's ahead of us. We're still confident we can get out of the situation we're in. I'll never give up that fight, that's for sure."

  • Newcastle United FC
  • Brighton Hove Albion FC
  • Steve Bruce
  • Mike Ashley
  • Premier League

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