Newcastle United fans protest against owner Mike Ashley after Steve Bruce appointment
SSN understand Bruce could have more than £90m to spend; Wednesday taking legal advice over Bruce departure
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 18/07/19 9:45am
Newcastle fans have taken to the city centre's streets to protest against owner Mike Ashley after the appointment of Steve Bruce as manager.
The club confirmed the 58-year-old Geordie was to become the 10th permanent boss of controversial owner Ashley's 12-year reign on a three-year deal on Wednesday morning.
It comes after an acrimonious split from previous boss Rafa Benitez with many supporters believing the latest development is another painful reminder of where the club are now.
A spokesman for The Magpie Group, who organised the protest outside one of Ashley's Sports Direct stores, said: "It's got nothing to do with Steve Bruce, it's a Mike Ashley thing - Mike Ashley has torn this club apart.
"For the last 12 years he has asset-stripped the club - he has sold our best players and not replaced them.
"He has done everything to ruin this club - we were challenging before he came, since his arrival we have had two relegations.
'From Michelin star to burger van'
Although Newcastle fans have focused their anger on Ashley, many have voiced their disappointment at Bruce's appointment.
On the former Sunderland manager replacing Benitez, YouTube fan show The Magpie Channel's Matthew Renton said: "We've gone from dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant to eating uncooked chips at a burger van.
"We've gone from a Champions League-winning manager to a mid-table Championship manager.
"It sums up the club under Mike Ashley - absolutely hopeless with no ambition and we can't remember a worse time to be a Newcastle United fan."
Bruce's £90m-plus warchest?
Despite the discontent, Sky Sports News understand Bruce could have more than £90m to spend this summer before the transfer window shuts.
Benitez claimed he walked away from Newcastle due to a lack of trust in the club's hierarchy, thought to be regarding their transfer policy and investment in the squad, but Bruce looks set to be given funds as he tries to win over supporters.
But Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett told The Transfer Show: "I understand that there is a £50m transfer budget on top of money they have already generated.
"There is also £30m they received for Ayoze Perez and £11m left over from the previous January transfer window.
"Add all that up together and that comes to a budget of £91m for Newcastle to spend in the summer transfer window.
"The Newcastle fans will tell you that the squad needs it desperately, and it seems as though the cash is available for Steve Bruce."
Sky sources understand Newcastle are in talks to sign Brazilian striker Joelinton from Hoffenheim.
Legal wrangle over Bruce appointment
Bruce arrived in China on Thursday morning ahead of his new side's third-place play-off game against West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy against the backdrop of a legal dispute between his new employers and former ones, Sheffield Wednesday.
Shortly after Newcastle confirmed Bruce's arrival, Wednesday issued a statement that read: "The Club is disappointed to learn via public statement issued by Newcastle United that it has appointed former Sheffield Wednesday staff Steve Bruce, Steve Agnew and Steve Clemence.
"Regardless of the fact that the staff resigned from their positions with the Club on Monday, there remains outstanding legal issues to be resolved between the club and the staff and Newcastle United.
"The Club is currently considering its position and taking the appropriate legal advice."