Will Steve Bruce being in the dugout against Spurs dampen what is set to be an electric atmosphere at St James' Park?
Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leeds United at St. James's Park, Newcastle on Friday 17th September 2021. (Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In their first fixture under new ownership, Newcastle United will be roared on by a sell-out crowd at St James' Park against Tottenham Hotspur, but it will also be a special day for head coach Steve Bruce

While his future is still unclear as The Magpies boss, Bruce will be delighted in reaching an historic personal milestone as he takes charge of his 1,000th game as a manager against Nuno Espirito Santo's side in the Premier League on Sunday.  

In the modern era of English football, Bruce will become only the 34th manager to have reached the landmark of 1000 competitive matches and has been rewarded by being inducted into the League Managers Association Hall of Fame 1000 club, where he will join prestigious company such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and many others. 

However, it will have come as a surprise for Bruce to receive the accolade as Newcastle manager as he had been expected to be sacked following the Saudi Arabian-backed £305 million takeover of the club. 

Since Bruce was appointed in July 2019, his relationship with supporters has been bleak and his overall record as The Magpies' boss is uninspiring with a 29-per-cent win rate across 96 matches which is the lowest of his career. 

Prior to the second international break with the 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last Premier League outing, The Newcastle United Supporters Trust urged the club to part company with Bruce and in a snap poll, the 94% who responded demanded that the 60-year-old should resign.  

With Bruce still in the hot seat for now at St James' Park, it will be fascinating to see what type of reception he receives from The Toon Army faithful as they begin to celebrate a new era in their first match without Mike Ashley.  

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The new part-owner Amanda Stavely issued the following club statement wishing Bruce a good luck message ahead of this weekend's game in his 1,000th match in management. 

The statement reads: "We have had an extremely busy week reviewing the business and getting to know people and it is imperative that we continue to be patient and considered in our approach. Change does not always happen overnight, it demands time and that we follow a carefully considered plan and strategy.

"We met Steve and the players on Monday and have given them the time and space this week to focus on preparing for what is a very important game on Sunday.

"Steve has been very professional in our dealings with him and he and his coaching team will take the team on Sunday. If we make any changes going forward, Steve will be the first to know but, in the meantime, we wish him the best of luck in his 1,000th match as a manager and will be joining you in getting right behind the team.

"Thank you for the warm welcome you have given us. We can't wait to be at St. James’ Park with you."

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  • A new era. Same manager. But for how much longer.

Understandably, supporters will feel slightly disappointed in seeing Bruce in the dugout in front of the new owners as Newcastle still remain winless in all competitions this season. One alarming statistic that stands out during Bruce's tenure is in the last 37 matches, he has only managed to record seven victories. 

Though, looking at the bigger picture, Ashley's 14-year reign is over and it's the start of a new beginning on Tyneside. There's the return of hope, pride, and ambition, not just at the football club, but across the whole city because of what the new owners have in store.  

So, one thing's for sure, the atmosphere will be euphoric. Backed by a 52,000-capacity crowd along with Wor Flags' new display which is the first time they will have appeared in the North East since May 2019, it's set to be a carnival extravaganza at St James' Park.     

Even Bruce's presence will not spoil this occasion for the Newcastle contingent. The supporters have waited years for this moment because a sleeping giant has awoken once more.

And in truth, if The Magpies fail to record their first win of the season against Spurs, then the new owners might decide that Bruce's landmark match may also be his final one. It's inevitable that his time as Newcastle manager is coming to an end.