Anyone who was to replace Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United, last year, had huge shoes to fill. This much was true for Steve Bruce. Not only did he have to win over the fans, who knew his previous managerial roles, managing their local rivals Sunderland AFC. He had to prove to Mike Ashley, he was the man for the job and could ensure premier league survival for the Tyneside-based squad.
But, from the get-go, he faced an uphill battle. Some fans believed he had no place managing a top-tier club, let alone Newcastle. While others, felt time was needed to allow the newcomer to settle into the club before they made their decision.
Among this, he faced negativity from news publications and pundits who placed Newcastle in the relegation zone at the end of the season.
Despite this, Bruce has led the Tyneside squad to 13th in the league on 42 points with the possibility of pushing to finish within the top 10 by the end of the season. Although it seems that relegation is now no longer on the table, Bruce should be able to focus his attentions towards Newcastle taking as many points they can grab.
Many people didn’t believe Bruce could lead a top-tier club to safety, let alone push for a spot in the top half of the league. Granted, doubters may still present during Bruce’s time on Tyneside. However, he has proved those who doubted him wrong and this should make Steve Bruce the Premier League’s managerial underdog of the season.
However, this only means the Magpies have starved off survival for the summer and would most likely be fighting to stay up next season – unless the current takeover comes to fruition.
But, that’s a different story.