Les Ferdinand enjoyed two illustrious seasons at Newcastle from 1995-1997. He joined from QPR for £6m and was sold for the same fee two years later to Tottenham. In 68 Premier League appearances for Newcastle, Les scored an impressive 41 goals.
Ferdinand is currently the Director of Football at QPR and has weighed in on the situation at Newcastle with their coaching change this summer.
This is what Les had to say to talkSPORT about how Steve Bruce can ultimately win the support of the fans:
“I think the fans will love Steve Bruce and enjoy his time at Newcastle if Newcastle win games of football.
“I think no matter who you are, sometimes the managers who go into clubs are not the ideal choice and no one wanted to lose Rafa.
“Whoever was going in there after Rafa was going to get this effect. They see another manager coming in under the same regime, and I think it is more to do with that than with Steve Bruce.
“They’ve lost someone who they thought would guarantee them staying in the Premier League.
“Steve has got it all to do. I know his heart is in wanting Newcastle to do well and he will give it his best shot.
“The more games he wins, like the last time out against Spurs, the more he will grow in the hearts of fans and keeping them in the Premier League will have the effect it needs to have for Steve Bruce.”
For the most part, we agree with Les Ferdinand. Steve can win over a majority of the fans if he gets results. That won’t be enough to get a lot of the fans fully behind the club, however, but that will have more to do with the owner than Steve Bruce.
While we agree that any manager coming in after Rafa Benitez was going to find it difficult, we think that Bruce has taken a lot more heat right from the start than others would have.
A younger manager, like Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira, would have been given more leniency by some of the fans. They would have been allowed some time to grow into the position as their coaching histories are yet to be written.
Steve Bruce, fairly or not, was just an underwhelming choice. However, he can make his tenure at Newcastle a positive if he gets results.
It still doesn’t mean that the initial objections to his appointment were inappropriate though. Looking at Steve Bruce’s record, we can see why many fans were so dissatisfied with him following Benitez.
There is nothing that Steve Bruce can do about his coaching history not measuring up to someone like Rafa. All Steve Bruce can do is move forward and try to make his time here a successful one. If he can accomplish that, then it will indeed be a milestone for him in his career.
The initial skepticism in his hiring was wholly justified. Though, if he is able to make Newcastle a success on the pitch, he will have earned the support that will surely come his way. As it would be great for this team to have a better than expected season, we are rooting for Steve Bruce to bring that success to Newcastle.