Shearer urged Bruce to reject ‘toxic’ Newcastle job

Joe Williams

Alan Shearer has revealed that he urged Steve Bruce to reject the Newcastle United job three weeks ago when he emerged as one of the contenders to replace Rafa Benitez.

The 58-year-old resigned as Sheffield Wednesday manager on Monday along with first-team coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence.

And the Magpies confirmed on Wednesday that Bruce, who was only appointed as the Owls boss in January, will be Benitez’s successor at St James’ Park.

“I was out for dinner with Steve Bruce three weeks ago,” Shearer wrote in The Sun.

“It was just after Rafa Benitez had left Newcastle and we spoke about what he should do if he was approached and offered the job.

“My advice to him that night was simple: ‘No, no, no, don’t take it.’

“I said: ‘Why are you going to be any different to Keegan or Benitez? If you take it, you must be mad because you know how it works there.’

“But Steve is his own man and I respect that. I can’t tell him what to do, even though he is a good friend of mine.

“He was not Newcastle’s first choice to replace Rafa. He might not even have been their second, third or fourth pick.

“It looks more like he could have been the last man standing — and Newcastle just knew he would probably take the job because he has always wanted it.”

Shearer added: “At 58, Steve is now at an age where he probably feels he could not turn it down, having been close to it once or twice before.

“As an individual, you always think you are going to be the one that can change things, even if it rarely ends up being the case.

“But Steve can have no excuses at all if it goes wrong because he knows exactly what he is taking on.

“He knows what is going on and what has gone on in the past. He knows how fed-up the fan-base is.

“He knows how the football club is run, it is not a secret any more.

“This is without a doubt the toughest and most toxic situation Steve has ever walked into.”

Shearer continued: “No job is impossible but this one is very, very difficult for so many different reasons.

“On the playing side, he is inheriting a squad that is wafer-thin.

“Newcastle’s two top scorers from last season — Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon — are no longer there and they are the only Premier League club not to have made a signing this summer.

“Steve is at a disadvantage already because all the other clubs have had weeks to plan and will have stolen a march on him.

“He’ll do a good job just to keep Newcastle up this season.

“Then there is the fact Steve used to manage Sunderland, which is not going to help him, even though he is a Geordie and he played for Wallsend Boys Club like I did.”