Steve Bruce outlines talks with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley

Steve Bruce spoken about his summer talks with “supportive” Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Ashley spoke to Bruce and his players via a video call after the final game of last season to thank them for their efforts during a challenging campaign.

And Bruce, United’s head coach, had another conversation with Ashley the following week ahead of a summer transfer window which has been reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bruce’s discussions with Ashley came as the Premier League considered a proposed £300million takeover of the club.

The consortium withdrew its bid late last month, and Bruce, secure in his position, will have a more modest transfer budget this summer.

Asked about his talks with Ashley, Bruce told the Gazette: “I spoke to Mike immediately after the last game when he phoned in to thank all of our efforts over the season.

“I had a conversation two or three days after that. I know you always want the story on that whenever I speak to the owner. It’s been normal. I told him of our plans, what we’re trying to do and what we’d like to do, and he was supportive of it.”

Newcastle have already signed goalkeeper Mark Gillespie on a free transfer, and midfielder Jeff Hendrick, also a free agent, is set to join him at St James’s Park after leaving Burnley.

Steve Bruce.

Those deals leave the bulk of Bruce’s transfer budget, reportedly around £35million, unspent, and Bruce believes, if used wisely, that the money made available to him can improve a squad which finished 13th last season.

“I assure the supporters that we will be making headway in the transfer window so we can bring in that bit of quality that can make us better,” said Bruce.

“As I’ve said, things have changed. We have to box a bit clever. We have to be shrewd at what we do. That doesn’t just go for Newcastle.

“Covid has affected everybody, whether you run a football club or a grocery shop. Some of the smaller clubs might even go out of business.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a budget of enough money to try and make sure we move forward.”