During the heady days of the takeover reports, Newcastle United were linked with a number of big name managers.
Indeed, the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Max Allegri and Rafa Benitez were all touted as potential arrivals should the Magpies embark on an exciting new era though, obviously, Steve Bruce remains in charge after the deal collapsed.
Not always the most popular figure amongst the club's support, The Athletic have revealed a bit more about Bruce's standing from within.
Writing in his mailbag, Chris Waugh responded to a question asking whether or not he thought a new manager was likely upon the expiration of Bruce's deal in 2022 with an interesting bit of insight.
While he did stress that it's hard to look that far ahead at Newcastle, Waugh revealed top brass at St. James' Park were in unison in their opinion of the former Hull and Wigan manager's position.
''Despite widespread displeasure at Newcastle’s style among the fans, Ashley and Lee Charnley, the managing director, are believed to be satisfied by Bruce’s job performance,'' he wrote.
Clearly, given the Magpies style of play, this is unlikely to come as good news for supporters.
Newcastle average the fewest amount of shots on target per Premier League (2.5, via WhoScored) and goalkeeper Karl Darlow is the stopper to have faced the highest number of efforts this season (48, via FBRef), the kind of statistics that do not speak to a particularly well-organised side.
Still, from Ashley's perspective, it's easy to see why he'd come to this standpoint. As far as he's concerned, his investment comfortably stayed up in the Premier League last season and are currently eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Sadly for Newcastle fans, that does appear to be the priority. Well, that and the fact Bruce is reportedly the lowest paid manager in the Premier League.
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