Newcastle confirm Steve Bruce to be in charge against Tottenham

Bruce will be in the dugout on Sunday in what will be his 1,000th game as a manager

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce will take charge of his 1,000th professional match as a manager against Tottenham on Sunday. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce will take charge of his 1,000th professional match as a manager against Tottenham on Sunday. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

 

Newcastle have confirmed Steve Bruce will be in charge of the team against Tottenham on Sunday.

There has been intense speculation over Bruce’s future at St James’ Park since the completion of a controversial Saudi-led takeover of the club last week.

But the Magpies said on Friday the 60-year-old would be in the dugout in what will be his 1,000th game as a manager.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, after being asked if he relished the opportunity to win over the new regime, Bruce said: “Who wouldn’t want to try? I’m not going to give up the hope of it.

“Who wouldn’t want this job now going forward, the way it is, the way it looks in the future? Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to manage Newcastle?

“Certainly I would and I’m sure there’s hundreds who’d want to do the same thing. There are exciting times ahead for the club, that’s for sure.”

Club director Amanda Staveley said: “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.

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

“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 and will be joining you in getting right behind the team.

“Thank you for the warm welcome you have given us. We can’t wait to be at St James’ Park with you.”

The takeover of the club, which sees Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) take an 80 per cent stake, has been hugely controversial not least because of the country’s human rights record.

Amnesty International has urged Newcastle fans, players and staff to study that record in the months ahead.

The world’s leading human rights organisation is also hoping that a forthcoming fan-led review strengthens the owners’ and directors’ test, which has again been brought into sharp focus by the Newcastle takeover.

Amnesty International has described the reported £305million deal as “an extremely bitter blow for human rights defenders”.

Ahead of Newcastle’s first Premier League game since the takeover, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh told the PA news agency: “Whatever the result on Sunday, we wish Newcastle fans and their team well, but we remain deeply concerned about how our football clubs are being used for sportswashing.

“Football clubs being purchased for the purpose of trying to distract from serious human rights violations isn’t confined to Newcastle, and sportswashing isn’t confined to football — but the Saudi takeover has obviously brought the issue of human rights and football governance into sharp relief.

“Despite assurances about a supposed separation from the Saudi state, ownership of St James’ Park is now very much about image management for crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and his government.

“As the season progresses we hope fans, players and Newcastle United backroom staff will look seriously at the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and be prepared to speak out about the jailing of people like Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, whose 20-year sentence for tweeting was upheld just hours before the Newcastle deal went through.

“We’d like to see Tracey Crouch’s forthcoming review into football governance accepting the case for strengthening the owners’ and directors’ rules, to make them human rights-compliant and prevent those implicated in serious human rights violations from buying their way into English football.”

The Premier League approved Newcastle’s takeover after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not control the club.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is listed as chair of PIF, but the Premier League was satisfied the state would have no dealings with the club.

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