Steve Bruce makes plea to Newcastle United fans ahead of planned boycott
Steve Bruce has pleaded with fans NOT to boycott Newcastle United's season-opener.
A boycott is planned of Sunday’s Premier League game against Arsenal at St James's Park.
Fans intend to stay away in protest against owner Mike Ashley in the wake of the departure of manager Rafa Benitez this summer.
Bruce – who succeeded Benitez at the club – has called on supporters to judge him “over a little bit of time” in an interview with former United midfielder Kevin Nolan for BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Well, they are entitled (to boycott),” said the club’s head coach. “Listen, they pay their hard earned money, and of course they’re entitled to boycott. (My message) would be, like any manager going in, just judge me over a little bit of time.
“Rafa’s an extremely talented manager – he was adored by the supporters here. Whoever was going to fill in his shoes was going to find it difficult, because of the circumstances. So I was under no illusion that that’s what I was walking into.
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“The results now are the big thing, which any manager was going to be judged on. But, certainly, for the players ... they’ve been terrific over the last two or three weeks.
“It was important we hit the ground running with them, and they’v been a great group to work with. I hope they can now get a result at the weekend.”
Bruce said last month that he believed fans would “stand by their team”.