Steve Bruce has no intention of entering his seventies as a manager as he dreams of going out with a bang at Newcastle.
The Magpies’ head coach will lock horns with 72-year-old Crystal Palace counterpart Roy Hodgson on Saturday insisting he will have called it a day long before he reaches the former England supremo’s age.
Bruce, who will celebrate his 59th birthday on New Year’s Eve, said: “Definitely, definitely not.
“I have huge respect for Roy for what he has done and achieved, how he has maintained that enthusiasm. I know football gives us a great life – it’s the enthusiasm. Doing the same thing every day, day in and day out, is remarkable.
“I can’t see myself doing that until that age – although being the sad, sick man I am, maybe. You never know, but I can’t see it.”
Bruce, whose 21-year-plus managerial career to date includes a brief spell at Palace in 2001, took on his dream job – and perhaps his biggest challenge yet – when he accepted the task of replacing Rafael Benitez as St James’ Park in July amid a concerted backlash from fans furious at the highly-regarded Spaniard’s departure.
The ensuing months have seen him negotiate a tricky path on and off the field to guide the club into 11th place in the Premier League table against a background of unrest with protests against owner Mike Ashley ongoing.
He insists that, much as he did when he was a player, he will know when the time is right to walk away from management, but is hoping that will not come until he has achieved something with his home-town club.
He said: “There has to come a time. It is like when you are a player, you know when it is time. That enthusiasm and drive, you lose that little edge. I am determined to have some sort of retirement.”
Asked if Newcastle would be his last job, he replied: “If it ended next month, I am not ready to walk away from anything.
“I genuinely hope that it is. The average lifespan for all managers now is 18 months, like it or lump it. I hope I can do more than 18 months – I hope I can do three, four or five years.
“If I do that, then possibly it will be the last one. It would be the perfect ending.”
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