Since the 16th of December, Newcastle United have picked up 9 points from 15 matches. In that same time, basement-dwellers Sheffield United have 13 points from 15.
Add to that staggering statistic the supporters' overall disdain for Steve Bruce, and this week’s training ground incident is just the cherry on top. If his side loses to West Brom this Sunday, which is entirely possible, he surely will be facing the sack.
So rather than try to predict how many players will be playing out of position on Sunday, why not jump forward a few scenes in this noir film of a season and pick the Magpies next boss.
This one just seems to make too much sense. A fresh face for sore eyes, some may say. Howe, 43, was most recently the manager of Bournemouth until they were relegated from the Premier League at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. He’s had a bit of time off to lick his wounds and surely will be looking for his next opportunity soon. Howe actually has coached a handful of the current Newcastle players, including Callum Wilson, Matt Ritchie, and Ryan Fraser, all of whom could be vital to the Toon staying up. The main problem here might be Howe’s other options — Celtic are rumored to have interest in bringing him in — but he may be keen on a return to the Premier League.
How’d the options become so horrible, so quickly? A move that would impress just about no one, Mark Hughes is English, a former Premier League player, and alive, so he’s in the discussion (though it’s not confirmed that the last one is actually a requirement). Hughes has bounced around Premier League and Championship clubs since 2004, and most notably, has never really accomplished anything in any of his tenures. Hughes and Bruce actually played together for quite a long time at Old Trafford, so for that reason alone, the Toon Army will be running as far away from this option as possible.
Mike Ashley has been rumored to want Patrick Vieira as his manager in the past, so his recent sacking from Nice opens up a nice potential for a union. Vieira actually had Nice performing alright in Ligue 1, finishing 7th in the table in 2018-19, and improving to 5th just this past season. However, this season has been a step back. They sat 11th in the table and were eliminated from Europa League when Nice decided to pull the plug on the former Arsenal legend. There have been questions about his tactics during his last managerial stint, but that’s never stopped Newcastle before. He’s certainly on the shortlist if Bruce does get the ax.
Admit it, you came here to see this name. The Toon Army’s last true love, Benitez is a free agent currently, and how can you not talk about the next Newcastle manager without mentioning Rafa? Alas, it does seem like an odd fit — Benitez surely left because of his unending frustration with Mike Ashley’s games — and the Spaniard is about to turn 61. Another relegation battle is probably not his fancy. If anything, he’s probably looking for one last “Top 6” hurrah in the Premiership. Who could blame him? This club takes years off the lives of everyone around it.
A bit off the beaten path, but a name familiar to Premier League observers, Marco Silva was most recently employed by Everton. Sure, you could point to Hull City being relegated under Silva’s watch (including a 1-7 thrashing at the hands of Spurs on the final day) and his so-so performance with the Toffee’s, but Newcastle really don’t have many great options. And actually, Silva gave a pretty big bump to Watford when he arrived, who were 4th after 8 matches played, and still 10th when he was sacked. Marco Silva may simply walk away from England and move on elsewhere, but the allure of managing a big club like Newcastle may reinvigorate his desire to give it one last shot.
Who do you think should take over for Steve Bruce should he get the sack? Drop your thoughts below and respond in the poll.
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