Poor Steve Bruce.
He basically just saw his lottery numbers, but then he remembers giving that week’s ticket to his least favorite family member as a last minute birthday present.
Newcastle United are billions and billions richer today than they were in early October and while this is great news for the magpies and transfer market lovers, it means trouble for their current manager.
Now that Mike Ashley has sailed away from Tyneside with £ 300million in his pocket, Bruce is officially the least popular man in the North. His days as Newcastle manager felt numbered before the Saudi takeover, but now that the club have an endless pot of money and equal ambition, he is certainly a dead man.
But who will replace him remains a mystery. A slew of names have been rounded up for leadership, and fans are already dizzy to think that the sport’s biggest names are rocking all the way to St James’ Park.
Here are everyone who has (so far) been linked to the Newcastle job …
Let’s start with the largest fish in the pond. Antonio Conte is a hot commodity after his title win with Inter – too hot even for Tottenham Hotspur, who withdrew from talks with the Italian in the summer.
He’s a proven winner who has had success everywhere, and he loves to spend (and make) money – something Newcastle won’t be short of for the foreseeable future.
It’s ambitious, but Newcastle is here to disrupt the natural order.
No, that’s not Spurs’ managerial target list, I promise.
But apparently the magpies are singing from the same hymn sheet, as another North London-near Miss Paulo Fonseca is under discussion.
He loves fast attacking football, but it doesn’t always guarantee results – as AS Roma found out in the Italian capital last season. With Fonseca at the helm and their current defensive options, Newcastle could break a new record against goals conceded.
Speaking of Spurs, why not pack your ex-manager and fan favorite Mauricio Pochettino? The Argentine is now leading the Paris Saint-Germain All-Stars but things are not quite going according to plan.
Failure in Ligue 1 and Europe last year put him under pressure and while the league title should be an easy win this time around, any problems in the Champions League could put him out of the way.
Not a bad man to usher in the new era, right?
Now this one feels realistic, exciting, and a great opportunity for both parties. Steven Gerrard works wonders for the Rangers after ending Celtic’s monopoly on the Scottish Premiership title.
It is no secret, however, that he would like to return to coach in England one day and while that would be preferably with Liverpool youth club, he may need another stepping stone before sealing that move.
Help Newcastle through this early transition and this Anfield Road job could be his.
We can’t talk about Gerrard without mentioning links to Frank Lampard. The English star colleague enjoyed a fairytale first season at Chelsea but was fired from the Blues midway through his sophomore season.
He still has a lot to prove, and while his inventory remains oddly high, this could be a good one for him to show off his skills. Maybe Lampard and Gerrard could team up and finally work well together!
One sits in the shelter while the other goes to the technical area and all that …
Another manager waiting for the right moment to get back into the game is Eddie Howe. The Englishman kept Bournemouth well in the Premier League for so many years – until he didn’t.
But he is still very much valued and would love to work for a larger club on a huge budget. Mind you, he wasted a lot of money on the south coast.
Come on, none of this makes sense right now! Liverpool legend at bitter rival Everton while Newcastle is looking for a new manager, with new owners, more ambition and an even bigger transfer kitty?
A Rafa return is written on it! The Spaniard is popular in the north, and after a time in China, and now at Goodison Park, everything looks and feels a little wrong.
Take him home, guys – follow the speculation!
If you look at the first three quarters of Sheffield United’s debut season in the Premier League, you’d assume Chris Wilder was the Yorkshire Pep Guardiola.
In the end, things went pear-shaped for the Blades, who were relegated to the highest level without a fight in their second campaign. Wilder didn’t survive the season, but he bragged about ideas that cut the mustard in the top division.
We moved Graham Potter a little further down just to avoid the obvious Spurs issue, but the Brighton manager is again being linked to a move from the south coast.
He made the Seagulls a fully functional, exciting and offensive Premier League team, and it did so through good coaching on a relatively small budget. With a pedigree like this, it’s no wonder Spurs ignored it …
So many names have been linked (as you just saw) but one man in the race is already working as a coach for the club.
Come in, Graeme Jones – whose importance on the sidelines supposedly created friction with his boss. He has worked with England’s elites and is recognized as a talent promoter and knows the current player base – which, despite some issues in January, will still be the basis of the roster.
Don’t rule it out.