Steve Bruce makes outlandish Mike Ashley claim that Newcastle United supporters will hate

Steve Bruce pictured during his Newcastle United daysSteve Bruce pictured during his Newcastle United days
Steve Bruce pictured during his Newcastle United days | Getty Images
Steve Bruce was the final Newcastle United manager of the Mike Ashley era

Steve Bruce believes Newcastle United were “greatly run” under Mike Ashley’s ownership.

For most of the Sports Direct tycoon’s tenure, Toon supporters were at loggerheads with the board. The early days of Ashley drinking pints in the away end and wearing Newcastle shirts became a thing of the past little over 12 months into his reign.

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A public fallout with Kevin Keegan sparked fury in September 2008 - and Newcastle fans vilified the former owner for the remaining 13 years. Fan protests at stadium name changes, relegations, unexplained managerial sackings and player sales fell on deaf ears until, ironically, Bruce’s appointment in 2019.

The 63-year-old succeeded Rafa Benitez, a popular figure on Tyneside who had grown frustrated by Ashley’s lack of ambition. Newcastle fans had enough - with St James’ Park attendances dropping to their lowest figures for a generation.

This prompted Ashley to look for an escape route and he landed on his feet when a consortium, backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, stumped up £300million two-and-a-half years ago. One of their initial assignments was firing Bruce and appointing Eddie Howe, who led the Magpies to the Champions League in his first full season in charge.

Progress has since stalled, with Newcastle sitting 10th in the table and growing frustrated by FFP/PSR restrictions. CEO Darren Eales hinted at the possible need to cash in on players this summer to fuel further investment.

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Speaking to talkSPORT, former Newcastle boss Bruce insisted FFP/PSR concerns would not be a concern if Ashley still owned the club. He said: “We talk about FFP, the club would never be in any distress under Mike Ashley. It was a greatly run club under Mike and I know I’m going to get slaughtered for that.

“The big thing is, we never had a lot of money to spend. We would spend exactly what the club generated but that was never going to be enough to be successful.”

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