Steve Bruce had a difficult start to life at Newcastle, but with results improving recently, we thought we would see how his current record compares to Mike Ashley’s other Premier League appointed managers.
Taking the first 12 league games of managers appointed by Mike Ashley in the Premier League, Bruce’s current spell is the third best, but it is a shock name that tops the list, and it is not Rafa Benitez or Kevin Keegan.
Joe Kinnear amassed a total of 18 points from his first dozen games in charge, picking up four wins, six draws and just two defeats, from September 2008.
Of course, it all ended badly for Kinnear who is remembered more for his gaffes and foul-mouthed tirades at journalists, than for any footballing achievements from his spell in the dugout.
Alan Pardew was second in the list, winning four, drawing five and losing three, thus gaining 17 points from his opening 12 matches from December 2010.
Pardew was the longest serving Toon manager under Ashley, with his Newcastle career seeing him finish with an average of 1.38 points per game.
His four year reign came to an end as he finally relented to fans’ continuous derision, and resigned to take over at Crystal Palace in 2014.
Next was Bruce with his 15 point start, having four wins and three draws to accompany five losses.
Benitez and Keegan made almost identical starts
It is appropriate that two of Newcastle’s most legendary managers have almost identical records from their opening games, with Rafa and Keegan both managing three wins, four draws and five defeats, totalling 13 points apiece.
Rafa’s spell actually saw his side score 17 goals compared to Keegan’s 13, while the latter conceded 19 compared to the Spaniard’s 15.
Benitez’s first 12 games also included the opening two games of the Championship season, after he unexpectedly remained in charge following relegation, although Newcastle lost both of those, away at Fulham and the home opener against Huddersfield.
Alan Shearer gathered just five points from his short spell, but he only managed for eight games, and as a result it would be unfair to include him in the list.
But the manager with the worst record, was the ever-out-of-his-depth John Carver, who could only oversee two wins and three draws, while losing the other seven.
Carver’s woeful total of nine points was just one less than the 10 of Steve McClaren, who could not manage a win until his 10th game as manager, when his side beat Norwich 6-2 at St James’ Park in mid-October 2015.
Although this article is based on managers’ first 12 games in Premier League seasons, the runaway winner for best Ashley-appointed manager overall is Chris Hughton.
Hughton picked up an incredible 24 points from a potential 36 in ther Championship, winning seven, drawing three and losing just twice.
He also went on to pick up 17 points from his first 12 Premier League games the following season, but as he was already in the role, working with players he was very familiar with, his top flight record could not be counted as part of this list.
Bruce will hope his decent record so far will continue to improve, as Newcastle try to avoid a relegation scrap this season, and the manager maintains his forlorn-sounding hope of winning disillusioned fans over.