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Monday, October 18, 2021

Mood darkens around St James’ Park with lack of clarity over Steve Bruce’s future

Steve Bruce took training for a second successive day after holding a meeting with Newcastle United’s new owners as morale among staff and players began to be affected by the growing uncertainty.

Bruce had been expected to be sacked when he met the two most prominent members of the consortium, Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, on Monday.

But instead of removing him from a position he has held since July 2019 they asked him for his thoughts about the squad and talked about their plans for the future.

Telegraph Sport understands there was no firm decision taken on whether to replace him as manager before or during that meeting, with Bruce informed he would hear from them again within the next 24 hours.

That call has not been made as the consortium are waiting for an answer as to whether to sack Bruce or keep him in place for the Tottenham Hotspur game on Sunday, which would be the former Manchester United captain’s 1,000th as a manager.

Worryingly, training ground sources have said the mood has darkened in the last couple of days, with coaches fearing they are about to lose their jobs and players lacking focus because of the lack of clarity.

Both players and staff are taking a day off on Thursday and that surely represents the moment to reveal whether Bruce is going to stay on or not. 

Sources close to consortium members continue to insist that a change of manager will be made before the weekend, but the power lies with chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and he will make that call, not those based in the UK.

It is understood there has been some confusion within Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as to why they would make a change in manager when they do not have a replacement lined up.

Bruce was thanked for keeping the club in the Premier League under difficult circumstances during the meeting on Monday and it is believed that was a message the Saudis were particularly keen to convey. 

Although all the indicators up to this point have been that Bruce will lose his job it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he will be asked to stay on for the time being – at least until the new owners have found someone to replace him.

One of the prominent names linked with replacing Bruce, Brendan Rodgers, has moved swiftly to distance himself from the role. Sources have informed Telegraph Sport that he is not interested in the job and is totally committed to Leicester City. 

Meanwhile, in a positive looking move, Newcastle are understood to have made contact with Brian Marwood about taking up a position at St James’ Park. The 61-year-old played a key role in the transformation of Manchester City where he is currently managing director of global football for the whole City network of clubs.

It is not known whether Marwood would like a new challenge but he is from the North East and his family still live in the area.

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