It seems that Steve Bruce is edging closer and closer to the axe at Newcastle, and the several members of the Toon Army are calling for his head.
But, at the 21st time of asking, Chris Wilder’s side left the field with three points after triumphing 1-0 over their ten-man visitors, thrusting Bruce right into contention in the Premier League’s sack race.
Newcastle have drawn two and lost six in their last eight in all competitions, and while three straight defeats in England’s top flight is enough to cast doubt over any manager’s role, playing negative, dreary and lifeless football doesn’t help the cause.
Bruce once again played five at the back against a Blades side who had previously scored just eight goals in 17 league matches.
So, with the Newcastle boss’ position looking increasingly vulnerable, who could replace him?
Remember him? Well, the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager is in the frame to take over from Bruce at St. James’ Park.
The Portuguese coach arrived in England to take over at Stamford Bridge from Carlo Ancelotti in 2011, but lost his job before the end of his first season. His 50% win rate in all competitions led to him leaving Chelsea and moving on to Spurs, where he fared a little better, achieving a 56% win rate over 18 months.
After stints at Zenit St Petersburg and in China, Villas-Boas is currently at Marseille. He led the club to a second-placed finish in the 2019/20 campaign, but they have struggled this term, sitting sixth in the Ligue 1 table.
Considering his previous time in England, it doesn’t seem too likely that we’ll see him in the Newcastle dugout.
Another outsider in the race, Favre has been without a club since December, having been sacked by Borussia Dortmund following a shocking 5-1 home defeat to Stuttgart.
Yeah, not great.
The Swiss manager did have a 62% win rate at BVB, but will mostly be remembered for only delivering a DFL-Supercup in two-and-a-half seasons at the club, as well as unimaginative and boring football – remind you of someone?
There’s no doubt Favre has experience at the helm of a big club, but he has barely anything to show for it.
260 Premier League goals, a classic celebration, and nothing but legendary status among Geordies. Alan Shearer is a demigod in the city of Newcastle for all he did for his hometown club.
His remarkable playing career and, since retirement, bromance with Ian Wright on Match of the Day, seem to have glossed over his quite disappointing attempt at management.
Shearer took charge of the Magpies in April 2009, but couldn’t remain at the helm beyond the end of the season after five losses in eight games saw them relegated.
Despite his previous record, the Toon hero is in the picture for Bruce’s job. The prospect of a club legend taking over is always exciting, though, isn’t it?
The 1998 World Cup winner recently got back into management when he took charge of Qatari side Al-Rayyan SC in December.
This came after a trophy-laden three years at Paris Saint-Germain from 2013 to 2016. The Frenchman has also coached his national side, but oversaw only 27 matches after leading France to a quarter-final exit at Euro 2012.
Although a fairly unlikely appointment seeing as he recently took charge of Al-Rayyan, Blanc provides a lot of winning pedigree and would be a good option for Bruce’s replacement.
Now, this would be sensational.
A cult hero on Tyneside, Benitez would be welcomed back with open arms at St. James’ Park. The Spaniard left Newcastle in 2019, having overseen their immediate return to the Premier League in the 2016/17 campaign.
Benitez currently manages Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, where he has struggled so far, picking up an average of just 1.11 points per game.
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss is always in the frame for the Newcastle job and will be a candidate this time round, despite previous disagreements with owner Mike Ashley.
One of the favourites for the job is Swansea boss Steve Cooper.
The 41-year old former Liverpool and England youth coach took over at the south Wales club in July 2019, leading them to the play-offs last campaign. The Welshman has taken them from strength to strength and has developed them into one of the promotion favourites, currently sitting second in the Championship table.
It is a risk for a struggling Premier League side to put their faith in a manager with no top level experience, but Cooper has shown his promise while at Swansea. The Swans play an exciting brand of football and look a strong bet for top tier football next season – if Cooper stays.
The appointment of the Swansea boss could be a good fit all round.
Who doesn’t like Eddie Howe?
The former Bournemouth boss is the mastermind behind one of the most incredible stories in football, taking League Two Bournemouth and turning them into an established Premier League side during an eight-year stay on the south coast – winning the Football League Manger of the Decade award for 2005-2015 in the process.
Howe achieved three promotions in six years to get the Cherries into the Premier League, before overseeing an impressive five-year stay in the top flight until they were finally relegated last year.
Despite that misfortune, he’s undeniably an excellent candidate for the job, and rightly the bookies’ favourite to take over from Bruce.