Steve Bruce has urged angry Newcastle United fans to give him time as he looks to turn the mood around on his appointment at his boyhood club.
Fans of the north east club reacted angrily after it was confirmed Bruce was to succeed Rafa Benitez having walked out on Sheffield Wednesday.
Speaking to the media for the first time since his appointment on Wednesday, Bruce was upbeat, blocking out suggestions of negativity surrounding his arrival.
‘I don’t read it,’ he said. ‘If you want to take it personally you would end up the mad house, I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. Judge me over time.
‘I have over 400 games in the Premier League and I am confident that I will be OK.’
But Friday was the first time Bruce sat down in front of the media since being announced as the successor to Rafa Benitez as St James’ Park.
As a boyhood fan of the club, it remains the dream appointment for the former Manchester United defender and he is determined to make the best of it.
He added: ‘How lucky I am, I am like any Geordie I want success for the club. I am determined to do it.’
Bruce faces a tough start to life at Newcastle with Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all taking on the Magpies in the opening five Premier League games.
Already the bookmakers’ favourite to be the first manager in the division to be sacked, mood will become even more sour if the club make a slow and ponderous start to the campaign.
Bruce was probed on the pub brawl involving goalkeeper Karl Darlow and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey which was exclusively revealed by Sportsmail on Thursday.
The Newcastle pair were captured on video caught up in an early-hours scrap in Morpeth, hours before the squad flew out to China for their pre-season tour, only adding to Bruce’s list of problems.
Newcastle are certain to investigate and Bruce now has to deal with the fall-out among his squad after the pair were revealed to be on a night out hours before travelling.
After being announced on Wednesday, Bruce spoke of his delight to land the role he has wanted for his whole career.
‘I’m delighted and incredibly proud to be appointed as head coach of Newcastle United,’ he said. ‘This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family.
Bruce has come in to replace the much-loved Rafael Benitez as boss on a three-year deal
‘There is a huge challenge ahead of us, but it’s one that my staff and I are ready for. We’ll roll our sleeves up and we’ll be giving it everything from the off to ensure supporters have a successful team that they can be proud of.’
Sheffield Wednesday are considering legal action with Bruce and Newcastle after he walked out on the Championship side on Monday to force through a move to his boyhood team.
Bruce’s long-term assistants, Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, followed him to St James’ Park after they also left Hillsborough.
In a statement earlier this week, Sheffield Wednesday said: ‘The club is disappointed to learn via public statement issued by Newcastle United that it has appointed former Sheffield Wednesday staff Steve Bruce, Steve Agnew and Steve Clemence.
‘Regardless of the fact that the staff resigned from their positions with the club on Monday, there remains outstanding legal issues to be resolved between the club and the staff and Newcastle United. The club is currently considering its position and taking the appropriate legal advice.
‘No further comment will be made by the club concerning this matter.’
Bruce’s appointment has been met with scorn by some factions of Newcastle’s fan-base as he replaces the much-loved Benitez, who departed at the end of last season.
With Benitez departed for China, Bruce must now fill huge shoes at his hometown club
Benitez walked after three years when the club failed to agree a contract extension with the 59-year-old Spaniard, who has since taken over at Chinese club Dalian Yifang.
However, managing director Lee Charnley said he was delighted to have got his man after lengthy negotiations with the Owls over a compensation package.
Charnley said: ‘Steve has a deep affection for Newcastle and we are very pleased a coach with his vast experience and connections to the club and city has joined us.
‘Steve knows what this club means to supporters and to the region and he will put his heart and soul into leading our talented group of players with the full support of our staff.
‘The hard work for Steve and his team starts immediately and we will be fully prepared for the challenge of a new Premier League season.’
Bruce becomes the 10th manager of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s controversial reign and supporters reacted angrily to his appointment on Wednesday.
Supporters are already planning boycotts as they plan to drive out Mike Ashley once and for all
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