What’s this? An actual club employee agrees to take actual questions from actual fans on Radio Newcastle. And not just any employee, the Bard of Bacon himself, a man able to upset an entire fanbase in a single sentence. All leave cancelled at TF Towers. This is an event.

But what questions to ask? With the Twittersphere awash with rumours of pre-recorded segments and vetted callers, the first challenge for your TF correspondents is to find a sufficiently easy decoy question to pass the pre-call screening. But what does actually constitute an “easy” question when the respondent is Stephen Roger Bruce, a man for whom the English language has always seemed an uneasy bedfellow and clarity of thought a very distant acquaintance?

On the evidence of last season, we can quickly reject anything requiring a direct factual answer, like “did we win our last game?” Or, in the words of a fellow TF writer, “what… is… your… name?” Too tricky. No, far better, as another suggested, the kind of patsy usually served up by sycophantic backbench Tories at PMQs. Next up, Jonjo on line one, “I’m sure you’ll all join me in congratulating the manager on his outstanding start to the season. Would he agree that success can only be guaranteed by a deep-lying midfield pivot and frequent rest days from training?”

With that hurdle negotiated, now to the serious business. Any interrogation of a man with 43 unbroken years in English league football has to begin with the benefits of that experience (there must be some, surely?). So, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt in that time? To try and prompt a little self-reflection: how does leadership as a player differ from that as a manager? And just to prick that famously thin-skinned self-obsession: do you think you’ve received the respect you deserve? Best not mention the England cap that never came, though. We wouldn’t Steve to go all Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, would we?

Of course, what we really want to know about is Bruce’s specific role at NUFC. It’s tempting to ask about the title of “head coach” and how his role is constrained compared to that of a traditional manager. Intriguingly, this is also an opportunity to ask about the division of labour between himself and his assistant coaches. What exactly do the Steves do? Now there is a question. Does Graeme have plans to change his name? Were you envious seeing him on the England bench? More deliciously… would you agree with Callum Wilson that Jones is more up to date and tactically aware than you?

If there’s one thing we’d really like to hear, then it’s sustained scrutiny of Bruce’s selection decisions, not least to try and resolve the obvious contradictions between public pronouncements and managerial practice. Is it true, as you’ve repeatedly stated, that you prefer a back four? If so, why do you always play with five at the back? If Gayle is so vital and worth a new contract, why do you never play him? Why did you block Matty Longstaff’s exit and then apparently forget that he exists?

Tell you what, maybe those questions are a bit complicated, so let’s keep them simple. Who do you think is our best central defender? What do you think is Almirón’s best position? Hayden’s? Fraser’s? Saint-Maximin’s? Oh dear, this could take some time. What about Joelinton?

Come to think of it, what about Joelinton? Just what did you know about him and the proposed deal when you accepted the job? Did you insist on due diligence on the player before agreeing to the signing? What did the scouting report say about his strengths as a player?

If two years’ distance means your memory has faded, maybe we’ll have more success casting our minds back four days. What qualities do you see in Emil Krafth that no-one else does? Is Lascelles injured, about to be sold, or too much of a challenge to your authority? Did it really come as a surprise to see us so vulnerable in the full-back positions? Did you really not consider a tactical shift? Can you share your inspirational half-time oratory with us?

So many questions, so little time. What exactly do you think are the fans’ expectations that you so deride? What are your own expectations? Do you really think our training facilities are adequate? Our youth set-up? Can you understand why fans are so distraught at what Mike Ashley has done to our club? How do you sleep at night?

Why was your dog at a firework display in the first place? Are you still bashing away? Where’s the badger? Smoked or unsmoked, thick cut or back?

I don’t suppose we’ll hear most of these questions tonight, never mind the answers. I don’t want rage or ridicule – well, not only. What I want is for Steve Bruce to be held to account on matters of fact and detail. A forensic examination of his decision-making. Because he will fail that examination every time.

Oh, and finally a single question that cuts to the heart of the matter. Tell me, Steve, how exactly would you define your managerial philosophy? Pause. Long pause. Longer pause. Because you must have one, right?

Matthew Philpotts @mjp19731