Newcastle will play their first match since a buyout led by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund gained ownership of the club on Sunday, in front of a sold-out St James Park.
The consortium’s objective, according to Amanda Staveley, one of Newcastle’s new directors, is to turn the struggling club into Premier League champions within the next decade.
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However, there is a significant difference between where Newcastle is now and where the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) wants them to go ahead of Tottenham’s visit to Tyneside this weekend.
Newcastle is now in second place in the rankings, having won none of their first seven league games this season.
After receiving a reprieve on Friday amid reports that he was about to be fired, Steve Bruce will take charge of his 1,000th match as a manager against Tottenham.
Bruce’s dismissal is still a matter of when, not if, according to a statement released by Staveley.
“Change does not always happen immediately — it takes time and requires us to follow a well-thought-out plan and approach,” she explained.
“In our discussions with Steve, he has been quite professional, and he and his coaching staff will take the squad on Sunday.” Steve will be the first to know if we make any adjustments in the future.”
Most Newcastle fans will shed no tears when Bruce s term in leadership comes to an end.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, 94% of fans wanted him to quit.
Bruce’s continuing presence is unlikely to detract from the fans’ joyous mood.
Thousands flocked to St James Park just over a week ago to celebrate the end of Mike Ashley’s terrible 14-year reign as owner, as well as the possibility of becoming one of the most powerful clubs in the world.
“The most important thing for the supporters is to see their club win a game, and I’m sure they’ll be right behind the players in an environment like we haven’t seen at St James Park in a long time,” Bruce said on Friday.
Manchester City, supported by Abu Dhabi, and Paris Saint-Germain, owned by Qatar, have demonstrated how massive money from the Middle East can drive unheralded clubs into Europe’s elite.
“If we only talk about football, we have to assume that they are going to be a superpower in the long run,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted.
Liverpool is one of several Premier League clubs said to be enraged by the decision to approve the takeover. That could be motivated entirely by self-interest, with the already intense fight for the Premier League crown and Champions League spots poised to intensify.