Steve Bruce chose his first press conference from Darsley Park to make some eye-catching statements to the assembled press which might come back to haunt him. In describing how delighted he is to be at United he failed to mention statements he made when taking up the manager’s job at Sunderland which significantly played down his apparent long term interest in joining the club he claims he supported as a boy. He was not questioned about this.

Bruce also made a big statement about having found Mike Ashley to be “straight as a dye” – hmm, there are plenty would disagree with that in the stands at St James’ Park and so would Kevin Keegan who won a court case against Bruce’s new boss which found him to have lied to supporters. Jonas Guitteraz who has also won a court case against the club for treating him shamefully when the popular Argentine was suffering from cancer.

The new Head Coach also claimed Lee Charnley was working very hard but these transfers are very complicated. I think we can safely say, Newcastle United transfers are no more complicated than those at any other clubs and we don’t seem to have any problems when we sell players. Rafa Benitez frequently tore his hair out at the glacial pace at which things move at the club and there has been plenty who have questioned the competence of the club’s erstwhile Managing Director.

Bruce has made some big statements about not selling Sean Longstaff which made the press conference very reminiscent of similar ones held by Alan Pardew:

“That won’t happen. I’m very confident. We don’t want to sell our best young players, that’s for sure.”

Try not to sneer.

There is also an extreme vagueness in Bruce’s words. How exactly will he improve the club? Will he be more successful in gaining investment in the training and academy facilities than Rafa Benitez who felt this area of the club was lagging behind? Why has he not been questioned more closely in why he is referred to as Head Coach as opposed to manager under Benitez? The quote below refrs to some straight answers he has received from Ashley – what were the questions and what were the answers? Why is the press pack not pressing him on these blandishments?

Bruce has repeated he only wants to be given a chance. But what has he done, really, in his career to have earned that? Why does he think supporters should have any confidence in him on the basis of a very average record as a PL manager and hideously inferior to the man he is replacing? At almost 60 years of age what does he have in his locker to prove he isn’t the analogue manager for the digital age?

Bruce has also said he’s not interested in what has gone at United in the past under Ashley. That would seem convenient to him but also fool-hardy because it is very unlikely he won’t be shafted at some point sooner or later by broken promises or well, lies.

The Head Coach refers to one or two players they want to bring him. If that is  a figure of speech, fine but if it is an accurate summary of what business the club has planned at this point then contrary to what he might be hinting, United will be in for another grim battle for survival with absolutely no chance of moving beyon the current Zombie state. United lost – Perez, Rondon, Joselu, Kenedy in the summer from its attacking ranks. Gayle has come back from the Championship and Joelinton has come in – the club has replaced one of four attacking players it has lost. United also lost Mo Diame, an important defensive midfielder. If the plan is to replace him with the woefully inadequate Jack Colback or Henri Saviet then we might be in trouble.

Bruce’s patter in full:

 “All talks I’ve had over the last week or so have been positive and about improving the club and taking the club forward and let’s hope that this is just the start. It’s been quite hectic to say the least – it’s come out of the blue so quickly and before I know it I’m on a plane to China. It’s been a little bit surreal but I’m  delighted to be given the opportunity. I’m extremely proud and honoured to be given the position. To actually be sitting in the number one seat is quite a remarkable thing for me. I will try as best as I possibly can. I like to think every club has been in a better position after I took over – and that has to be the aim here. And just to be given a fair crack of the whip is all I ask. I’ve got a good group I’ve inherited and I’ve enjoyed working with them over the last few days. They’ve been very, very positive towards me and my staff. I’m sure they all got a lift seeing this lad walk through the door. It’s been going on for a little bit now, so to get him (Joelinton) is great for everybody. He’s got everything that a modern-day player wants. He’s big, strong and athletic, and of course he’s got age on his side too which is vitally important. He needs big broad shoulders for sure but he has that in abundance. Obviously now he needs a bit of luck along the way but he has the potential to be a top-class centre forward and we are delighted to get him here. Mike (Ashley) came in to wish myself and the staff that he hasn’t met before the best of luck. He met the new centre-forward. He took an interest in training and wished us all luck, which was good to see. I think it is always key to have a positive relationship. You need to get on with the people you work with – I am not really interested in what’s gone on before.

“So far he has been straight as a dye. I have asked him a few questions and I’ve got a few straight answers. We’re working hard to make sure we bring in one or two more. It’s rumbling on. Transfers, these days, seem to take an eternity because, obviously, they’re complicated. We’re doing everything we can. Lee Charnley is working every hour behind the scenes.

“Whether something is really, really close – I don’t think so, but I believe by the time the season kicks off we will have certainly one or two more players who can add to the squad. We know we need more…we don’t just want to settle for staying in the league. My aim is to keep improving. I know I have a big shoes to fill: whoever was sitting here was going to find it difficult. I’m from the city and Newcastle is always a result I’ve watched, certainly since I was a boy. I was deemed never good enough to play for the club; I had a chance a few years ago to manage the club that I regretted. This time I had to grasp it. I’ve come into it with my eyes wide open. I’m a resilient so-and-so and I just hope I’m given a fair crack of the whip and for the fans to give me a chance. I’m confident. I’m terribly disappointed by what’s happened at Sheff Wed. I thought I shook the hand of the owner. The pull of this club was too great. I couldn’t give up the opportunity.

There was no hesitation at all (when offered the job). No, no, no. Not at all. It would have been the easy thing to say no. Being at the stadium yesterday, even when it is empty, it was like goosebump stuff. At the end of the day, I am a Geordie and that is probably the reason I am sitting here. It could have been quite easy to say ‘Nah’ because I was aware of the problems, aware they wwere big shoes to fill. But I would have regretted it to give up that opportunity. Listen, I’m not going to speak about Rafa, but he’s ended up going and working in China… which is fair enough. It’s got nothing to do with me about ambition or the rest of it; my ambition was to manage Newcastle and take it forward. That ambition of mine has burned for a very, very long time. I’m delighted to be given the opportunity. I’m not going to be anybody’s yes man. I’m too long in the tooth for that. I’ve heard it said that I’m a puppet or not in charge of transfers or what have you, but I can only report on how he’s been with myself and he’s been straight down the line in the conversations I’ve had. That can only be a good thing. I’m not his bagman or anything else. I will certainly be my own man, I always have. And all I can ask is to be given a chance. Whoever was going to be sitting here would find it difficult, with the support (Rafa) had from the fans – it was quite phenomenal. Unbelievable. Whoever was sitting here would have big shoes to fill, but let me have a crack.”

It’s best for us all to consider whether Mike Ashley has had a sudden epiphany and will change drastically how he runs United or whether Steve Bruce is turning himself into a useful idiot for the detested owner. He can ask Alan Pardew and Steve McClaren how that turned out.