Chelsea icon reveals Mike Ashley’s secret Mikel Arteta blunder and Newcastle United job opportunity

Mikel Arteta was a candidate to replace Rafa Benitez under Mike Ashley's ownershipMikel Arteta was a candidate to replace Rafa Benitez under Mike Ashley's ownership
Mikel Arteta was a candidate to replace Rafa Benitez under Mike Ashley's ownership | Getty Images
Newcastle United were aiming to replace Rafa Benitez when they approached John Terry and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta in 2019

John Terry has revealed Newcastle United interviewed himself and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta before appointing Steve Bruce as manager.

In 2019, the Magpies were in disarray despite finishing comfortably above the relegation zone. Mike Ashley had finally broken Newcastle’s long-standing transfer record by signing Miguel Almiron just months before fan dissent reached its tipping point.

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Rafa Benitez steered the club towards a solid end to the campaign, with the Magpies looking as slick as they ever had under the Spaniard. Tired of Ashley’s broken promises, the veteran manager walked away from St James’ Park - leaving the Sports Direct tycoon and CEO Lee Charnley with a huge void to fill.

Appointing former Sunderland manager Bruce triggered a wave of season ticket cancellations. Supporters had enough and apathy was at an all-time high on Tyneside - with few predicting the Saudi-backed takeover on the horizon.

Chelsea legend Terry has opened up about being grilled for the vacant hot seat, with Arsenal manager Arteta also in the frame. Five years on, the Gunners chief is fighting for the Premier League title with Bruce’s turgid reign firmly in the rear-view mirror.

“I had the owners of Newcastle in my house,” Terry, yet to make the leap as a manager, told the Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast. “They flew down in a helicopter. We spoke, they spoke to Arteta, myself and ended up going with Brucey. 

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“I look back now and, Jesus, some of the questions I was miles off it. I didn’t think about it but it was such a good learning curve. I’m glad I didn’t get it because I was miles out of my depth. But that kind of poked the bear a bit for the next couple (of interviews).”

Terry also opened up about failing to land the Sunderland job following Lee Johnson’s sacking two years ago. The former England captain believes the Black Cats role could have been the watershed moment to kick-start his managerial career.

“After that, I had a really good interview with Sunderland,” Terry added. “They’d just sacked Lee Johnson and were sitting third in the table.

“I’d spent two weeks looking at games, the players… I knew everyone. I had a good meeting and came away thinking ‘that’s mine’. It went really well but I was told ‘no experience’.

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To be honest, I didn’t want to go as low as League One but Sunderland were getting up that year. That’s the one I feel got away that would’ve given me a promotion. I’m on my way (as a manager) after that.”

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