Date: 20th July 2019 at 7:01am
Written by: Tony O'Connell

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has hit back at suggestions he will be Mike Ashley’s puppet, stating that he will have the final say on the club’s transfer activity, as quoted by the Telegraph.

Bruce has been in the Toon job for less than a week, but supporters are yet to get behind the former Sheffield Wednesday head coach, with frustrations over Rafa Benitez’s exit refusing to go away.

The boyhood Magpies supporter who now occupies the dugout at St James’ Park knows he will have a tough time to win the crowds over, and added that he is confident in his ability to deliver on Tyneside.

“I understand I’ve got big boots to fill, but to be given the opportunity, I’m delighted,” he told reporters following his arrival in China for pre-season.

“I couldn’t really refuse the opportunity [to manage Newcastle for a third time]. I’m like every Geordie living that dream, how lucky am I?

“I’ll have to put up with some nonsense, but I’m determined to grasp the opportunity and have a go. Alan [Shearer] is a big friend of mine, and he’s welcome to his opinion [after trying to warn me off taking the job], but I’m my own man, I understand the challenge of what lies ahead, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m not Rafa.

“Whoever was in this seat would have found it difficult, but with my experience, I’m confident we can continue to take the club forward.”

Bruce’s first step to take the club forward would appear to include the signing of TSG Hoffenheim striker Joelinton, in a deal that was a long time coming before his appointment. But the new gaffer is convinced he will have the final say on who comes and who goes now he is at the helm, having been riled by speculation otherwise.

“There has been some nonsense, and I’m not going to go into too much of it, but I’m nobody’s puppet. Not Mike’s, not anyone’s,” Bruce added.

“We want to make a couple of signings at least. With the loss of [Salomon] Rondon and [Ayoze] Perez, that’s an area we have to take a look at. We are active in the transfer market as we speak and, hopefully, we can get a couple of players over the line.

“It’s like most clubs really. Ultimately, I will have the final say, which is only correct. I’ve read nonsense that I won’t, but you have to have a say [as the manager].

“We’ve got a very experienced team, but we’ll work with the scouting department. It’s vital [we improve]. We’ve got some very capable people. The policy is to identify the players, make sure they fit in with what we want and fit in [with the squad].”

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