Steve Bruce made major Eddie Howe claim ahead of ‘difficult’ Newcastle United exit

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The former United manager has discussed his departure from St James Park and current Magpies boss Eddie Howe.

Former Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has revealed he recommended current Magpies boss Eddie Howe as his successor prior to his ‘difficult’ departure from St James Park.

Speculation over Bruce’s future had been the subject of intense speculation prior to the PIF-led takeover of the club in October 2021. Talk of an exit increased once the £330million deal was confirmed but the former Manchester United defender remained in charge for the first game of the new era as Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Tyneside.

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With celebrations over Mike Ashley’s exit reaching fever pitch, the Magpies made the best possible start when Callum Wilson fired them in front inside a minute. However, reality hit as an underperforming United side fell to a 3-2 defeat in what proved to be Bruce’s final game in charge.

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Reflecting on his exit, Bruce revealed he told Magpies co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi to ‘take him out of the equation’ as he felt he was ‘the only negative left’ from Mike Ashley’s 13-year ownership at St James Park.

Speaking on the Business of Sport podcast, the former Magpies manager said: “The people that took over at Newcastle, Amanda Staveley and her husband, they came to see me and if you remember, we were playing Spurs on the Saturday and that was going to be my 1,000th game as a manager.

“They both came in and said ‘listen Steve, how can we help you?.

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“I said, ‘look, I’m the only negative left’. The euphoria of Newcastle, the support, the crowd, everything about it, it was as if the doom and gloom had shifted and it was euphoric. And they’ve had an unbelievable rise in 18 months to two years.

“But I had to say to them ‘you might have to take me out of the equation’. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say, but I realised it was what was best for the club because everything was euphoric around it. The only negative was me.”

United’s initial search for a successor focused on current Aston Villa manager Unai Emery, who could not be tempted away from his previous role with La Liga club Villarreal. Eddie Howe was appointed almost three weeks after Bruce’s departure and the former Magpies boss admitted he suggested the current incumbent at St James Park as one of two possible successors.

“They even asked me, and I can say this on record, who I would recommend and I did recommend Eddie, and I hope Steven doesn’t mind, but I recommended Steven Gerrard too - but somebody like Eddie or Steven, young, take it on.

“It was difficult, really difficult and I’ve never done that before. Sort of, given up but I realised it was best for the club.”

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