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On this day in 2019: Newcastle appoint Steve Bruce as manager

Steve Bruce returned home to Newcastle on this day in 2019 (Andy Hampson/PA)
Steve Bruce returned home to Newcastle on this day in 2019 (Andy Hampson/PA)

Newcastle named Steve Bruce as their new head coach on a three-year contract on this day in 2019.

The Magpies announced the appointment after Bruce resigned as manager of Sheffield Wednesday, to a mixed initial response from fans.

While Bruce was a boyhood Newcastle fan, his previous spell as Sunderland boss left him on the back foot as he replaced fan favourite Rafael Benitez, who had brought the club back to the Premier League after a shock relegation to the Championship in 2016.

Rafael Benitez
Bruce took over after Rafael Benitez, pictured, left Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Bruce’s first season on Tyneside started poorly with Newcastle winning just one of their opening eight matches in all competitions and, following a 5-0 loss to Leicester in late September, pressure was building on the 58-year-old.

However, a 1-0 home win over Manchester United in the following game sparked a run of six victories and two draws from 11 matches which helped turn the tide and saw Newcastle climb the standings.

When the season was halted in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Newcastle sat 13th in the table with 35 points, and they eventually finished in the same spot after the campaign resumed.

Talk of a Saudi-backed takeover provided a regular backdrop to Bruce’s reign at St James’ Park and meant persistent speculation over his future, but he continued in the post until October 2021.

The Magpies had a mixed start to Bruce’s second season in charge, including suffering heavy home defeats to Brighton and Manchester United, but they finished it one point and one place better off than the previous campaign.

Amanda Staveley
Amanda Staveley’s takeover spelt the end for Bruce (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Takeover talk intensified in the summer of 2021 and Bruce’s side got off to an awful start on the field, eventually going 15 games without a victory in all competitions.

By that time Amanda Staveley’s consortium had completed the long-mooted £305million takeover and Bruce had left the club by mutual consent.

The former Manchester United defender’s final match in charge was the 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham on October 17. That was his 1,000th professional match as a manager and his first – and only – game under the new owners.

Newcastle were second-bottom of the Premier League when Bruce left but, under his replacement Eddie Howe, the club recovered to finish the season in 11th place.

Bruce was named manager of West Brom in February this year and led them to a 10th-placed finish in the Sky Bet Championship.