Ex-Wigan Athletic boss handed Newcastle United job

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce

Newcastle have appointed former Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce as Rafael Benitez's replacement as their search for a new manager finally came to a close.

The Magpies have confirmed the 58-year-old Geordie has left his job at Sheffield Wednesday to become the 10th permanent boss of controversial owner Mike Ashley's 12-year-plus reign on a three-year deal.

A club statement said: "Newcastle can now announce that Steve Bruce has been appointed as the club's new head coach.

"The 58-year-old, who was born in Corbridge, Northumberland and raised in Wallsend, returns to Tyneside after signing an initial three-year contract and will be joined at St James' Park by coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence."

Bruce and his staff are due to fly out to China to meet up with the players, who open their Premier League Asia Trophy campaign against Wolves in Nanjing on Wednesday morning.

The new boss said: "I'm delighted and incredibly proud to be appointed as head coach of Newcastle. This is my boyhood club and it was my dad's club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family.

"There is a huge challenge ahead of us, but it's one that my staff and I are ready for. We'll roll our sleeves up and we'll be giving it everything from the off to ensure supporters have a successful team that they can be proud of."

Bruce's arrival is unlikely to placate fans still fuming at Benitez's exit a little more than three years after the club failed to agree a contract extension with the 59-year-old Spaniard, who has since taken over at Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

However, managing director Lee Charnley was delighted to have got his man after lengthy negotiations with the Owls over a compensation package.

Charnley said: "Steve has a deep affection for Newcastle and we are very pleased a coach with his vast experience and connections to the club and city has joined us.

"Steve knows what this club means to supporters and to the region and he will put his heart and soul into leading our talented group of players with the full support of our staff.

"The hard work for Steve and his team starts immediately and we will be fully prepared for the challenge of a new Premier League season."