Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is in no immediate danger of losing his job despite Sunday’s 5-0 horror show at Leicester.
The PA news agency understands the 58-year-old retains the full support of owner Mike Ashley as he attempts to turn around a difficult start to the season which has seen the Magpies claim just five of the 21 Premier League points they have contested to date.
Bruce has been fighting fires ever since he was appointed in July with fans still fuming at the departure of Rafael Benitez, who had been unable to halt the club’s slide into the Sky Bet Championship at the end of the 2015-16 season, but brought them back up at the first attempt and kept them in the top flight for the next two campaigns.
While there were few candidates who could have appeased supporters who had started to believe there could be a brighter future ahead even under Ashley, Bruce’s arrival proved underwhelming for many despite his Geordie roots.
He acknowledged from day one that he had a challenge on his hands to win over a disgruntled fanbase, but was confident that he could achieve that feat with results on the pitch.
However, an impressive 1-0 win at Spurs aside, the Magpies have done little to suggest that they can prosper under the former Manchester United defender.
Last Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Brighton, during which they enjoyed only a 29 per cent share of the possession, and the drubbing at the King Power Stadium – which he described as “complete surrender” – have provided worrying evidence to the contrary.
However, it is understood that Bruce, the 10th permanent manager or head coach of Ashley’s near 12 and a half-year reign, will be allowed the chance to turn things around.
Ashley, who had grown as weary of Benitez’s dissatisfaction with how he runs the club as the Spaniard had with constantly having to fight for backing, appeared to have been enthused once again during the summer when he allowed significant rebuilding of the squad.
A £40million club record deal for Brazilian striker Joelinton and the commitment of up to £20million to bring in French winger Allan Saint-Maximin were the eye-catching elements of an unusually active transfer window, and the new boys are yet to fully bed in.
Never a man to be swayed by public opinion, Ashley appears content to allow Bruce time to mould a new team, although he will need to see a marked improvement if that is to remain the case after a dreadful performance against Brighton and an alarming collapse following Isaac Hayden’s red card at Leicester.
Steve McClaren was afforded similar luxury, eventually losing his job in March 2016 with 10 games to go – 10 games during which Benitez was unable to stave off the spectre of relegation – and the risk of a repeat is not something anyone at St James’ Park can afford to countenance.