Newcastle’s Saudi owners left looking foolish as Steve Bruce crashes to unwanted milestone

Newcastle v Spurs match in pictures

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A wave of optimism greeted the takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. But the Magpies’ new owners have quickly been made to look foolish following the club’s first game since they replaced Mike Ashley in the St James’ Park directors’ box.

Heading into the game, there was much speculation that Steve Bruce would be replaced as manager, in favour of a more high-profile name.

Bruce had won just seven of his last 37 matches in charge, leading many pundits to expect that it was just a matter of time before he was left go.

Those predictions proved to be wide of the mark though, with minority-stakeholder Amanda Staveley confirming late last week that Bruce would remain in charge.

“We have had an extremely busy week reviewing the business and getting to know people and it is imperative that we continue to be patient and considered in our approach,” she said.

“Change does not always happen overnight, it demands time and that we follow a carefully considered plan and strategy.

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“We met Steve and the players on Monday and have given them the time and space this week to focus on preparing for what is a very important game on Sunday.

“Steve has been very professional in our dealings with him and he and his coaching team will take the team on Sunday.

“If we make any changes going forward, Steve will be the first to know but, in the meantime, we wish him the best of luck in his 1,000th match as a manager.”

The failure to sack Bruce has proved to be a major misstep though, with Newcastle losing to Tottenham on Sunday.

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After going ahead through Callum Wilson’s early strike, Spurs went on to comeback and secure all three points.

First, Tanguy Ndombele drove in a right-footed shot, before Harry Kane finally scored his first goal of the season to put them ahead.

Heung-Min Son wrapped up the win for Spurs when he slid in at the back post, with Jonjo Shelvey making matters worse by receiving a red card.

Newcastle did pull a goal back through Eric Dier’s own-goal but it was ultimately a poor showing from Bruce.

The defeat also saw Bruce crash to the unwanted milestone of having seen Newcastle drop 28 points from winning positions in home games since he took over as manager.

That is the most of any Premier League side since the start of the 2019/2020 season, with the decision to keep him on clearly a mistake.

Having backed Bruce to get their reign off to a winning start, Newcastle’s Saudi owners have been made to look foolish after seeing the Englishman set that terrible record.

With Newcastle’s ownership now scrambling to save face and turn around the club’s fortunes, the defeat may be the final nail in the coffin for Bruce’s time as manager.
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