It’s fair to say Steve Bruce’s appointment to replace Rafa Benitez before the start of the 2019/20 campaign wasn’t universally popular.
Newcastle could well have been relegation fodder under a manager plucked from Championship side Sheffield Wednesday with scarcely any time to prepare for the Premier League season.
As Bruce embarks on his second term in charge of his boyhood club, we’ve got three reasons why it’s time for the Newcastle fans to get behind their manager now.
He took the cups seriously
The current financial landscape in the Premier League means that the domestic cups represent the best chance of breaking the monotony of trying to achieve mid-table safety.
Newcastle have tossed away too many potential cup runs in recent seasons, in the name of keeping players fit for the Premier League.
Bruce took Newcastle to the FA Cup quarter finals, where their clash with Manchester City would have been a completely different affair in front of a packed house.
A trophy is long overdue for the Magpies, and Bruce takes that pursuit of silverware as seriously as any boss in recent memory has.
He didn’t have a proper striker last season
Newcastle spent big to replace Salomon Rondon with Joelinton, but it’s clear he isn’t a proper centre forward.
He’s a modern frontman who would prefer to cut in from out wide, but isn’t cut out to carry the burden of being Newcastle’s number nine.
Goalscorers make an enormous difference to clubs – look at Danny Ings at Southampton.
A better judgement can be made about Bruce when he has a full campaign with a proper frontman signed for him by the club suits above him.
He nearly matched Rafa’s final season
Newcastle finished the 2019/20 season in 13th place with a total of 44 points, under Bruce.
Under Rafa Benitez in 2018/19, they also finished 13th, with just one more point.
Bruce took on a job from the popular Spaniard and came very close to matching his achievement.
A lower mid-table finish won’t set pulses racing in the north east – understandably – but Bruce did a decent job in the circumstances.
It’s time for the Magpies faithful to fully get behind their man next season.