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Steve Bruce will get lots of sympathy from football pals for his treatment… but don’t expect any from Newcastle fans

SO IT looks like 1,000 and out for the Geordie loathed in his home town.

Steve Bruce has gone, the Toon Army are cracking the cans open again and the new era FINALLY has lift-off.

But if it took just shy of a fortnight to make the easiest decision of all, what does the future hold?

The road ahead appears to be paved with Saudi gold, and maybe even silverware, but there is a long way to go before that.

Newcastle have no manager, chief executive or director of football. 

Portuguese gaffer Paulo Fonseca is the frontrunner for the manager’s job and talks have been held. Ex-Luton boss Graeme Jones is in temporary charge.

But as different members of the consortium put in their tuppence worth there is already a danger of too many cooks spoiling the Tyneside broth.

The home fans will not give a damn right now — with Mike Ashley and Bruce consigned to the history books, the dark clouds have been lifted.


On Wednesday, Bruce, 60, admitted how tough it had been for him.

And given the flak he received during his 826 days in charge, it is hard not to have any sympathy.

On a professional level, however, you only had to watch his side to understand where that anger came from.

Following Sir Bobby Robson’s departure back in 2004, the then-Birmingham City manager turned down his “dream job”.

Fifteen years later and his time had come, former owner Mike Ashley’s eighth choice to replace the idolised Rafa Benitez who walked after growing fed-up with the owner’s austerity.

The fans were underwhelmed and it was always going to be an uphill task.

Being an ex-Sunderland gaffer and not being Benitez, who had offered a glimmer of hope in a dark world, hardly helped.

But more than anything, fans saw a Championship manager at Sheffield Wednesday way past his best.

Even then, they asked, what was Bruce’s best? Going on league  performance, finishing 10th with Birmingham and Sunderland was as good as it got.

Two promotions apiece with Brum and Hull are not to be scoffed at but it was hard to imagine a less exciting appointment.

For Bruce to say bitter fans wanted him to fail is nonsense — they just feared he would.

Yet having kept Newcastle up for two seasons — finishing 13th and 12th — he can say he did his job.

Ashley used him as a human shield and only cared about Prem survival.

Scratch the surface just a little though and it is not hard to see why the locals were up in arms.

A brilliant centre-back himself, how Bruce turned the seventh- best defence in the league for two seasons under Benitez into the worst with near-enough the same personnel remains a mystery.

Or is it? Shortly after joining Sunderland in 2011, he said: “I’m not really into tactics”  and boy did it show.

After 84 league games it was still impossible to know what Bruce was trying to achieve.

Whatever his preferred XI was, nobody will ever know.

It is hard to find a player who progressed under his management, while a number — especially in defence — regressed alarmingly.

Things really started to sour last December after Newcastle’s pitiful 1-0 defeat to Brentford’s reserves in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.

Beginning the harshest of winters, all hell broke loose three weeks later when they handed sorry Sheffield United their first win of the season.

Bruce labelled his side “absolute s***e” before saying “the gloves are off” and that he was finally going to do it “my way”.

What they had been doing for the previous 17 months is anyone’s guess, but things hardly improved — by April they had won two in 19 and relegation loomed.

In March, Matt Ritchie called Bruce a “coward” in a training-ground row and behind closed doors it was all unravelling.

Joe Willock’s goals — on-loan from Arsenal before a permanent summer move —  led them to safety, but the damage was done.

Press conferences became a source of weekly ridicule as fans grew pig-sick of seeing Bruce pass off another defeat with “positives” nobody else had seen.

The ex-Manchester United skipper will attract plenty of sympathy from his pals in the game. Just do not expect any from Newcastle.

Sun's North East Correspondent Oscar Paul on next Toon moves after Steve Bruce sacking