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A grand time: Studying Steve Bruce’s managerial record ahead of milestone match

Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League – St. James’ Park
(Image credit: Owen Humphreys)

Steve Bruce will remain in charge of Newcastle and reach 1,000 games in management in Sunday’s clash with Tottenham.

Speculation had surrounded Bruce’s future since – and even before – the club’s Saudi-backed takeover but director Amanda Staveley confirmed ahead of Friday’s pre-match press conference that he “will take the team on Sunday”.

Here the PA news agency takes a look at Bruce’s career record, as the landmark game looms, and his spell at St James’ Park.

Mr Consistent

Steve Bruce's managerial record

Sunday will be Steve Bruce’s 1,000th game as a manager (PA graphic)

Bruce’s career shows an almost equal win-loss record, with 373 wins and 364 defeats in his 999 games – 37.3 and 36.4 per cent respectively – with 262 draws (26.2 per cent).

His 29.2 per cent win rate with the Magpies is the lowest of his career, marginally worse than the 29.6 per cent in an eerily similar spell with North East rivals Sunderland exactly a decade previously.

  • Sunderland, Jun 2009-Nov 2011: 98 games, W29, D28, L41
  • Newcastle, Jul 2019 to date: 96 games, W28, D28, L40

His best ratio came in a very short spell with Crystal Palace, where he won 11 of 18 games or 61.1 per cent, while he won 46 of 102 games with then-Championship side Aston Villa – 45.1 per cent, his highest ratio when spending at least a season with a club.

His longest and arguably most successful spells came with Birmingham and Hull, with 260 games in charge of Blues from 2001 to 2007 including 97 wins (37.3 per cent). He led the club to promotion and established them as a mid-table Premier League side, before bouncing back from an eventual relegation to return to the top flight.

He also took Hull back to the Premier League and then, for the only time in the club’s history, to an FA Cup final and a brief flirtation with European football. In 201 games from 2012 to 2016, his Tigers enjoyed a 40.8 per cent win rate.

Trouble on Tyneside

Steve Bruce's record at Newcastle

Bruce has just a 29 per cent win rate with Newcastle, the lowest of his career (PA graphic)

Bruce has been in charge of his boyhood club for 96 games so far since his appointment in 2019, with wins in short supply as his hold on the job continues to appear tenuous – Staveley’s statement added: “If we make any changes going forward, Steve will be the first to know”.

The Magpies finished 13th in his first season at the helm and were rarely in danger of relegation, despite taking only two points from their last six games.

They sat 17th last season before winning three of their last four games to climb to 12th, although the abject performances of relegated trio Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United meant Newcastle’s status again mostly looked secure.

They scored 38 and then 46 goals, barely one per game, with fans’ clamour for attacking football providing a regular and unwanted backdrop. The problems have been at the other end this season, with 16 goals conceded in a winless start stretching to seven games which leaves them above only Norwich in the table.

In total across all competitions, his side have won 28, drawn 28 and lost 40 games, scoring 113 goals and conceding 149.

What they said

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has congratulated Steve Bruce on reaching 1,000 games as a manager (Martin Rickett/PA)

“For me it was a certainty that Steve would become a manager. When he was playing for me at Manchester United, I observed that he always had a fantastic ability to communicate and motivate, both with his more experienced team-mates and with the younger players coming through.” – former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

“In reaching his 1000th game in management, whilst operating at the highest level of the domestic game, Steve joins a small but illustrious group of his peers, who have out-lasted and out-smarted the challenges they have faced.” – League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson