Steve Bruce has made some astonishing claims in one of his first press conferences as Newcastle United’s Head Coach. Bruce claims he will have the final say on transfers. This would be appear to be scarcely credible given what has gone on over the last 12 years when neither Kevin Keegan not Rafa Benitez were allowed the control their records deserved or in KK’s case what the lies his court case proved had been falsely claimed. 

Indeed this major subject was a key sticking point between Ashley and Rafa in the tortured contract discussions which ended so unhappily at the end of June. Similarly, there is the subject of a United Manager / Head Coach signing any player aged over 25 years of age. We’re aware of players being signed by United completely left-field of the manager – Xisco, Gonzalez. Ferreya and Doumbia not to mention Riviere who we are reliably informed turned up for training with Pardew completely in the dark about him.  

Why does Bruce think he’ll fare any different? Does he have anything written into his contract as Rafa did? Will his authority extend to putting the block on any sales of players? 

We’re reminded of Alan Pardew making an emphatic statement Andy Carroll would not be sold …. then five weeks later being …. er, sold. Steve Bruce has set himself up for a massive custard tart in the face moment. 

Bruce has denied he will be a puppet of Mike Ashley. Big talk but will that mean Bruce will demand and get the much needed investment in the training ground and academy facilities? Will Bruce get the changes Rafa begged for in terms of how the club did business, having torn his hair out at the glacial pace at which United does business? What has changed suddenly for Steve Bruce to make such bold statements? 

No-one wants to think of themselves as a puppet … Pardew bristled at those suggestions too but he clearly was in Ashley’s pocket. 

Bruce’s words: 

“I don’t really want to go into specifics. There are have been a couple of things written, some of the comments. The big one is am I going to sit here and be a puppet? That won’t happen. I am in charge of transfers. It’s like most football clubs. I will have the final say on transfers. I have read all kinds of nonsense that I won’t. I will work hard to make sure I work with the chief scout. The policy is like most other clubs. Identifying the players and making sure we fit in. I will have control of who we bring in.” 

In the extraordinary event that Mike Ashley has afforded Steve Bruce more control over transfers than Rafa Benitez then you really do have to start wondering about the Berkshire buffoon’s mental health. 

In terms of the current window (where we have signed no players, Bruce said: 

“We want to make a couple of acquisitions at least. “With the loss of Perez and Rondon where we have to immediately take a look. Make no mistake we ARE active as we speak. Hopefully, we will get them over the line.”

Over the line eh? Hmm, that sounds familiar.