What does it really take to be Newcastle United's manager?

Is Steve Bruce the right man to lead the Magpies through a takeover? Credit: PA

By Chris Conway, ITV Tyne Tees Journalist

The late Freddie Shepherd believed football managers working at Newcastle United needed to have some kind of connection to the club or the city or more importantly - be a Geordie.

Now not too many of the Magpies' recent former bosses have had the geordie chip in. You could argue before Steve Bruce, Sir Bobby was probably the only other (we won't mention stand-in manager and 'best coach in the Premier League' John Carver - although he does fit the 'Geordie chip' criteria). 

They weren't Geordies but maybe Kevin Keegan and Rafa Benitez would be entitled to a free geordie chip fitting. But there aren't many who've managed the club who get it in the way that Steve Bruce gets it.

So why isn't he every fan's cup of tea? Especially when you consider he's achieved what was expected of him by Mike Ashley. Keep Newcastle United in the Premier League.

Perhaps that is the problem. A percieved lack of ambition from the fans. A perception that he is a 'yes man' for Mike Ashley.

Steve would deny that to his last breath. I'm sure if he had his dreams, he'd be signing big-name players for big money, competing for every trophy possible and taking on the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool for honours.

But let's just wake up from that dream for a moment. One thing Steve Bruce does have is the Geordie chip. Some say it's because he's not Rafa - but don't forget Rafa had 12 million reasons to ditch the Magpies and head to his 'project' in China.

Rafa was always going to be a hard act to follow too.

Some fans say Bruce isn't suitable for the job because was managing in the championship. Others argue he hasn't won many trophies. Newsflash Magpies fans - when was the last time Newcastle actually won a trophy? (The Intertoto cup doesn't count.) It was a very long time ago. 

Newcastle's point against West Ham helped secure the Magpies' Premier League status Credit: Owen Humphreys/NMC Pool/PA Wire/PA Images

Surely his love of the club and desire to do his absolute best for it outweighs any of those reasons? I accept that this is a very simple argument but if nothing else, isn't it vital that a manager gets what Newcastle United means to the fans, to the city and to the North East. Steve has stood in the stands on those cold nights watching rubbish performances. He's argued with his mates in the same way we all have about why this team was picked or why 4-4-2 was played instead of 4-3-3. He's felt the agony of awful defeats the way all Newcastle fans do - and that is not just since he took over last summer.

He's felt that pain like the rest of the fan base long before he started doing the job that anyone who supports Newcastle United dreams of doing. And he'll keep pushing to get the best for the club he holds so close to his heart.  

Joelinton is one of Newcastle United's strikers. Credit: Owen Humphreys/NMC Pool/PA Wire/PA Images

He's done pretty well with a limited side this season too - especially when you consider he inherited a team that was sorely lacking firepower and still is (sorry, Joelinton).

He's getting the best out of a squad that has been thrown together at best by a scattergun approach. And he's ensured the team will play Premier League football again next season thanks to their good form in the matches since football returned from lockdown. 

We all hope we're in the final days of Mike Ashley's reign. If Newcastle United do become one of the richest clubs in the world in the weeks ahead then we can revisit this argument again but for me, Steve Bruce is the right man for the Magpies at this time.