Newcastle’s new owners are searching for a new manager after sensationally parting ways with boss Steve Bruce on Wednesday morning. Bruce, viewed by supporters as a symbol of the deeply unpopular Mike Ashley era, was expected to be dismissed last week but remained in charge for the Magpies’ Premier League clash with Tottenham on Sunday.
A 3-2 defeat to Spurs, though, did not enamour Bruce with Amanda Staveley and her consortium, which is 80 per cent backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
With speculation around his future intensifying, the 60-year-old has now decided to walk away from the club after mutually agreeing with the new owners to leave his position.
Staveley, who owns a 10 per cent share in the club following the purchase from Ashley, brokered the takeover earlier this month. Since then, several names have been suggested as candidates to replace Bruce.
One of those is former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca. The Portuguese has emerged as one of the favourites to be handed the job after news of Bruce’s departure broke on Wednesday.
Fonseca was this summer close to being appointed as Jose Mourinho’s successor at Spurs. The 48-year-old has revealed that a deal was close, only to be scuppered by new managing director of football Fabio Paratici’s preference for a more defensive style.
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And his claims could suggest that he will bring exciting, attacking football to St James’ Park, something fans have been demanding for years.
“The agreement was done. We were planning the pre-season and Tottenham wanted an offensive coach. It wasn’t announced but we planned pre-season players,” Fonseca told the Telegraph.
“But things changed when the new managing director arrived and we didn’t agree with some ideas and he preferred another coach.
“I have some principles. I wanted to be coach of the great teams but I want the right project and a club where the people believe in my ideas, my way to play, and this didn’t happen with the managing director.
“It’s what the chairman and the sporting director [Steve Hitchen] asked for. To build a team who can play attractive and offensive football and I was ready for that.
“I am grateful to everyone connected with Newcastle United for the opportunity to manage this unique football club,” Bruce said.
“I would like to thank my coaching team, the players and the support staff in particular for all their hard work.
“There have been highs and lows, but they have given everything even in difficult moments and should be proud of their efforts.
“This is a club with incredible support, and I hope the new owners can take it forward to where we all want it to be. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the rest of this season and beyond.”
A club statement added: “Newcastle United would like to place on record its gratitude to Steve for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.”
Bruce’s assistant, Graeme Jones, will take charge of the Tyneside outfit’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday. He will be in the dugout alongside fellow coaching staff Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith.