Steve Bruce opens up about Newcastle United exit, abuse he received and being called 'a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head'

Steve Bruce has opened up about his Newcastle United exit and the impact the abuse he received had on him during his spell on Tyneside.

Bruce’s departure as head coach was today confirmed after he agreed a multi-million pound settlement package with the club, which is under new ownership.

Bruce's 97th and final game in charge was Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

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Graeme Jones has been put in charge on an “interim basis”. Jones will be assisted by coaches Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith.

Steve Bruce. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I really have to thank all the people who have worked alongside me, because I can be demanding and I can be hard work - especially when I was younger,” said Bruce.

"When we get beat, I get very low, but when you are managing in the Premier League with Birmingham, Wigan, Hull, Sunderland you do get better at dealing with it. You have to.

“By the time I got to Newcastle, I thought I could handle everything thrown at me but it has been very, very tough.

Steve Bruce.

"To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage head or whatever. And it was from day one.

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“When we were doing ok results wise, it was ‘yeah but the style of football is rubbish’ or I was just ‘lucky.’ It was ridiculous and persistent, even when the results were good.

“The best one was to be told we were a relegation team in all but points…this was all in the first season. We finished 13th. It [the criticism and abuse] got even worse in the second year. We finished 12th, 17 points clear of the bottom three.

“I tried to enjoy it and, you know, I did. I’ve always enjoyed the fight, proving people wrong, but that’s all it ever seemed to be. A fight, a battle. It does take its toll because even when you win a game, you don’t feel like you are winning over the supporters."

'My only job was to keep the club up'

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He added: “I wanted so badly to make it work.

"I was so proud to be manager of Newcastle United, even in the dark times, I was determined to keep going and to keep this club in the Premier League.

“The takeover rumours were rumbling on in the background but they would not have bought the club if it had been relegated. Everyone knew that.

“The only task I was given was to keep the club up. There wasn’t the money to overhaul the squad. Covid drained the club of money, there was virtually nothing to spend this summer, but I wouldn’t walk away from it.”

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A club statement read: “Newcastle United would like to place on record its gratitude to Steve for his contribution, and wishes him well for the future.”

Winless Newcastle, 19th in the Premier League table with three points from eight games, take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

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