The Steve Bruce decision that Mike Ashley doesn't want to make at Newcastle United – despite relegation worries

Steve Bruce, again, insisted that he was “quietly confident” that Newcastle United would stay up after last night’s defeat at Old Trafford.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 8:07 pm

And Bruce said: “I’m sure there’s a few looking over their shoulder, and, of course, we’re one (of them). I’m still quietly confident we’ll be fine if we keep performing like we did for the first hour.”

But does owner Mike Ashley share Bruce’s confidence?

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Many Newcastle fans, we know, want a managerial change. They aren’t confident, despite an improvement in performances following the arrival of coach Graeme Jones late last month.

Ashley, we also know, doesn’t want to sack Bruce, who is under contract for another season. Dismissing him would be costly, but relegation, of course, would be far costlier for Ashley, who still hopes to sell the club for £300million to a consortium led by Amanda Staveley. The club won’t be worth that much in the Championship.

Results have improved since Jones arrived – the club has won two of its last five games – and Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley are hoping that there’ll be a further improvement.

Time, however, is running out. The club acted too late in 2009 – and again in 2016. There are 13 games left, and a defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’s Park on Saturday would seemingly leave Ashley with a decision to make.

Steve Bruce at Old Trafford.

The club has got into this mess under Bruce’s watch – but few, it seems, share his confidence that he can get the team out of it.

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