It has happened. The news that no Newcastle fan wanted to hear. Steve Bruce is officially the club's new manager.
There have been some dreadful managerial appointments on Tyneside over the years. Graeme Souness replacing Sir Bobby Robson back in 2004 was a particularly dark day in the club's history. Robson was viewed as an icon at Newcastle, delivering Champions League football regularly and demanding that the team played eye-catching, attacking football.
The suspicion was that Souness would not be able to maintain this.
That suspicion was correct.
Then there was Joe Kinnear taking over from another club legend, Kevin Keegan, in 2008. Kinnear was tactically inept and struggled to even remember the names of the players, infamously referring to Charles N'Zogbia as "Charles Insomnia". Kinnear did not complete the season due to health issues, yet he did stay long enough to ensure that Newcastle were relegated that year.
All this means that, amazingly, Bruce might not the worst appointment that the club have made this century, but he certainly has an argument for that honour. Here is why he is not the right man to take Newcastle forwards.
He Has Been Relegated From The Premier League Twice
Ever since Mike Ashley took over the club in 2007, he has been accused of lacking the ambition needed to take the club to the next level. Newcastle
How many times have they featured in the Champions League since Ashley came on board?
Have they even made an FA Cup quarter-final during that period? No.
Which leads us on to Bruce. Is he the man to get Newcastle back competing for a place in Europe? Not a chance. He is far more suited to a relegation scrap. A scrap that he has not always won.
He was relegated with Birmingham in 2006, and suffered the same fate with Hull
He Has Struggled in the Championship Recently
Bruce has not managed in the Premier League
Despite inheriting a strong squad at Aston Villa
Within five months, the team were playing uninspiring football, and languishing in the bottom half of the Championship
In January 2019, he went to Sheffield Wednesday, and led them to a mid-table finish. A solid job, yet no more than that. He is now set to jump up a division off the back of these two roles. Perhaps Ashley has seen something in him that others have not? Oh no, he's just cheap
Local Lad, So What?
Bruce was born in Corbridge, a village just west of Newcastle. So he knows the area well. Should this make a difference? Absolutely not.
The 58-year-old has been linked with the Newcastle job on numerous occasions before, including when Robson and Keegan departed. That's right, he really was considered alongside Souness and Kinnear. Makes you wonder, how were the list of candidates so poor at the time?
Each time, it seemed that Bruce was being considered because he was from the local area. Yet this is a manager who has been in charge at Newcastle's biggest rivals, Sunderland, while also managing fierce rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham.
Newcastle do not owe him a homecoming. There are plenty of people in Newcastle who would fancy a crack at being the manager. They don't get the job because they are not qualified for the role. When selecting a manager, it does not matter if they went to a few games when they were younger, or if they know the town centre well. There is one very simple question that needs to be answered: who is best suited for the job? Here's a clue, it's not Steve Bruce.
Could Bruce Spring a Surprise?
Of course, it is not guaranteed that Bruce will be a failure..it just seems likely.
Claudio Ranieri was widely expected to struggle at Leicester. Instead, he lead the club to their greatest ever triumph, winning the Premier League in the 2015/16 season.
Yet Ranieri did so with his charm and wit on full display, taking the pressure off his players and letting them express themselves. Unfortunately, Bruce does not possess Ranieri's characteristics. He is more likely to be seen complaining about a refereeing decision going against his side as they slump to a dire home defeat against Norwich
The season is just over three weeks away. Enjoy that time Newcastle fans, because this season will be a cataclysmic disaster.