Steve Bruce has confirmed even good friend Alan Shearer could not persuade him not to take the head coach’s job at Newcastle.
The Magpies record goalscorer revealed in a newspaper column this week that he had advised the 58-year-old over dinner earlier this summer not to accept Mike Ashley’s offer of employment if it came his way in the wake of Rafael Benitez’s departure as manager.
However, speaking at a press conference in Shanghai on Thursday, Bruce insisted he simply could not take Shearer’s advice.
He said: “Well, make no mistake, Alan is a big, big friend of mine and he’s welcome to his opinions, but I would like to think I am my own man.
“As I’ve said many times, I understand the challenge that lies ahead. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, I am not Rafa Benitez, so whoever was going to sit in this seat was going to find it difficult.
“However, I’m confident enough that with my experience and the people I have brought with me, that we’ll continue to take the club forward, and that’s why I’m sitting in the position I’m in right now.”
Bruce is well aware that his appointment has not gone down well with a section of the Toon Army despite heading off for China as his arrival was announced, but he is pleased for a chance to prove himself.
He said: “I don’t read it because if you want to take it personally and read and scrutinise everything that’s thrown your way, then you would end up in a mad house.
“Just judge me over the period of time, and I’m quietly confident after maybe 400 games in the Premier League that I’ll do okay.”
Bruce accepted his dream job after resigning from his post at Sheffield Wednesday, sparking a wrangle over compensation which remains unresolved with the Owls taking legal advice.
He said: “I’d like to put it out there that a manager’s contract is a manager’s contract. When it’s terminated, compensation should be due, and that applies to when a manager wants to leave or hands in his resignation.
“I am disappointed about that because I thought that was in hand. However, it’s football and I wish them the best of luck in the future.
“As I’ve said many, many times, it was the challenge and the chance to go and manage Newcastle United, the great club that it is, that was the overriding factor for me to be as selfish as I was.”
Newcastle face West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy on Saturday, but behind the scenes, work is ongoing to rebuild the squad with strikers the main priority.
Bruce’s job title of head coach suggested he may not have the influence Benitez wanted over signings, but the former Manchester United defender has insisted that is not the case.
He said: “The big one, of course, is what you’re insinuating there, am I in charge of transfers or am I just going to sit there and be a puppet? That won’t happen.”