Steve Bruce addresses 'negative publicity' and issues message to well-wishers ahead of return of Newcastle United fans

Steve Bruce has spoken about the long-awaited return of fans to St James’s Park.

There will be up to 10,000 supporters inside the stadium for Newcastle United’s home game against Sheffield United on Wednesday night following the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions.

Bruce addressed the return of fans in his programme column for last night’s game against Manchester City, which Pep Guardiola’s side won 4-3 thanks to a hat-trick from Ferran Torres.

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There were calls for Steve Bruce to be sacked in March following a shocking 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in March, but owner Mike Ashley quickly backed his head coach – and the team this week secured its Premier League status for another season.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming some of you back to the stadium against Sheffield Untied next week, and I’d like to thank our fans for the way they’ve supporters us from afar during this unique season,” said Bruce, who has a year left on his United contract.

“I know there has been some negative publicity around me at times, but the vast majority of people I bump into – and the letters I receive – are encouraging and positive, and I thank them for that.

"Our passionate crowd is one of the big attractions of this job, and we’ve all missed our supporters so much this term, so to everyone who wishes me well, thank you very much.”

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Bruce – who revealed ahead of the City game that he intends to stay at the club – has bristled at some of the criticism he received when the team was struggling for results.

Steve Bruce.Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Bruce said: “If you're going to do the job in the Premier League you come in for criticism, sometimes it's unjust. I always said when we had our players fit, we'd be all right.

I'm a football manager, and I've been doing it a long time, but I'm prepared to work away at it – and grow an even thicker skin."

The City defeat left Newcastle 16th in the Premier League with two games left to play.

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