Steve Bruce lifts lid on 'difficult decision' for Graeme Jones as he reacts to Newcastle United speculation

Steve Bruce has thanked Graeme Jones for his “enormous help” at Newcastle United.
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Jones was appointed as an assistant to Bruce at the relegation-threatened club in January, with the team on an 11-game winless run.

There was a change in formation for Jones’s first game as coach – and Newcastle beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park.

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Newcastle’s form improved following Jones’s arrival, and the club will be safe in the Premier League if Fulham fail to beat Burnley tonight following a 4-2 win over Leicester City on Friday night.

At the time of his appointment, it was suggested that Jones had been appointed by the club’s hierarchy.

Some fans felt that Jones came across as a manager-in-waiting in his first interview, while bookmakers made the 51-year-old the favourite to become the club’s next head coach.

“There was the (question) ‘is the club appointing somebody above me?’,” Bruce told talkSPORT. “As if I was going to accept that.

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“Look, when results are going against you, you can do one or two or three things. You can change your team, you can change your formation, and you can add somebody to maybe give you a lift or something different on the training ground.

Graeme Jones and Steve Bruce.Graeme Jones and Steve Bruce.
Graeme Jones and Steve Bruce.

"That’s what we decided to do over that really difficult period. I’m delighted that I chose Graeme. There was one or two others in the frame too. He’s come in and helped us enormously, there’s no question about that.

"But the other staff that work alongside me, the two Steves, Clemence and Agnew, (Steve) Harper, and we even brought Ben Dawson up from the Academy to come and give us a hand when Covid was rife. All of them people have worked tirelessly, you thank them enormously."

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Reflecting on the speculation at the time of Jones’s appointment, Bruce said: “You can’t stop that, where you think ‘hang on a minute, this is ridiculous’. But, look Graeme was my appointment. I interviewed him in London. It was a difficult decision for him, because it was going very, very well at Bournemouth.

"The key to it was that, of course, he was a Geordie. He was intrigued by going home, and thankfully he did, because he’s played a big part.”

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