Mike Ashley stands by Steve Bruce decision as crowds dwindle

Mike Ashley is firmly behind Steve Bruce as attendances dwindle at Newcastle United.

Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

Owener Ashley turned to Bruce after the club failed to lure either Patrick Vieira or Mikel Arteta to the club following Rafa Benitez’s summer departure.

There was a backlash on Tyneside in the wake of the managerial change – and thousands have since stayed away from St James’s Park.

The team has taken five points from its first six games – a better return than at this stage last season under Benitez – and is 17th in the Premier League table ahead of Sunday’s game against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The falling attendances could cost the club millions of pounds over the course of the season.

Mike Ashley.

Ashley, however, is understood to be unperturbed by the discontent among supporters. United’s owner, comfortable with the appointment, will give Bruce time to build a winning team.

Bruce, for his part, is determined to win over fans.

Speaking after last weekend’s goalless draw against Brighton and Hove Albion, the 58-year-old said: “Only thing we can try to do is to win games. We understand that. It’s the only way you can try to get people back.”

Speaking to The Athletic, Benitez said: “I am sure that there will be a point when they will do well and the fans will support the team. “But I also understand the situation and the disappointment now. But I have the desire to see them do well.”