Steve Bruce will use his Geordie grit to battle through the storm into which he has been thrust after accepting the hotseat at Newcastle.
The 58-year-old head coach was appointed as Rafael Benitez’s successor in July as fans reacted furiously to the Spaniard’s departure after he and the club were unable to reach agreement over a contract extension.
Bruce took up his role at St James’ Park with some bemoaning both Benitez’s exit and his appointment, although with much of the anger directed at owner Mike Ashley.
As he prepares for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Norwich, he knows there are some dissenters he may never win over, although having had to leave his native north-east to get his chance as a player with Gillingham as a teenager, he is confident the tenacity he has shown throughout his career will serve him well once again.
He said: “I’m from here, so it steels you. You have to be tough at school, otherwise you get picked on. Your whole upbringing from the north-east gives you that determination.
“I’ve never had it easy. I’m prepared to work hard and have a go, that’s always been my philosophy. I’ll have a go, have a crack and won’t be frightened of anything.”
Thousands of supporters stayed away from last weekend’s opener against Arsenal and the reaction to a 1-0 defeat, in some quarters at least, was less than favourable with the fracture in the club’s relationship with elements of its fanbase all too apparent.
Bruce said: “That’s my biggest challenge. Can I try to repair that? Can I try to help in this situation Whether that is possible, time will only tell.”
The former Manchester United defender has never been afraid of a challenge, and is acutely aware of the value of time in football, a lesson he learned as a Norwich player when his debut against the great Liverpool side of the 1980s started in disastrous fashion.
Bruce said: “It was a full house, 30,000, 90 degrees. They attacked down the left-hand side, crossed it after 30 seconds and I thought, ‘I can head that’. Boom, straight in the top corner, OG. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s not a very good start’.
“Twenty minutes later, [Kenny] Dalglish turned Dave Watson. I was getting towards the goal and he bent it into the top corner and I thought, ‘I can head that’. Boom, I headed that one in as well, so I have got two OGs after 20 minutes.
“But I’m still in their Hall of Fame and in their best ever XI, so I’ve just been told, so there you go.”
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