Support for Bruce hits an all-time low at struggling Sunderland
The first Premier League sacking of the season appears to be edging closer, with Steve Bruce enhancing his candidacy with a 1-2 home defeat to former club Wigan that left Sunderland supporters livid.
Bruce has never fully enjoyed the full backing of fans during two-and-a-half years on Wearside, and though he took strides to change that with a rare top-half finish last season, a miserable start to this campaign has seen his stock plummet.
Optimism surrounded the Black Cats’ summer business as they signed the likes of John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Sebastian Larsson, Connor Wickham and Nicklas Bendtner, but despite an opening day draw at Anfield, it has been a miserable few months.
The anticipated Europa League challengers have won just twice in 13 games and Saturday’s loss to the team bottom of the table prompted the loudest airings of Bruce Out and an even less palatable song referencing his Geordie roots yet.
That his Northumberland origins are being used in the protests against him is perhaps poignant because Newcastle’s stunning form certainly hasn’t helped his position, especially as Alan Pardew has had far less to spend over on Tyneside.
Bruce has vowed not to be forced out by what he feels borders on abuse and in his favour is the fact that chairman Ellis Short pleaded calm in his programme notes, making it difficult to justify changing managers in the immediate aftermath.
However, another negative result next week away to fellow strugglers Wolves would place him in serious peril, and unhelpfully Mick McCarthy has won three in a row against his old employers. He is 6/5 to extend that run.
Other bosses under threat include Steve Kean at Blackburn – though he recently signed an improved deal – and Owen Coyle at Bolton. His side have lost ten in 13, and have a tricky trip to Tottenham on the horizon, in which they are 8/1 outsiders.