Sheffield Wednesday angered by Steve Bruce’s departure to Newcastle United

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY’S hunt for a new manager is well under way despite the club seeking “legal advice” over the departure of Steve Bruce and his coaching staff.

Steve Bruce has been appointed as Newcastle's new head coach on a three-year contract, the Premier League club have announced. (Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

The Owls were left fuming yesterday when Newcastle United confirmed the appointment of the 58-year-old as their new manager.

Bruce had tendered his resignation on Monday along with those of both Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence after it had become clear the Magpies wanted the trio at St James’ Park.

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But Wednesday insist several legal issues are yet to be settled, hence the club consulting the lawyers over what action, if any, can be taken next.

Sheffield Wednesday are seeking legal advice over Steve Bruce's departure. (Picture; PA)

It is understood Newcastle have already made a payment designed to secure Bruce’s release from his one-year rolling contract at Hillsborough.

The situation surrounding compensation for Agnew and Clemence, the pair who worked under the former Manchester United captain at both Hull City and Aston Villa, is less clear.

For Wednesday, the timing could hardly be worse with the new season a little over two weeks away.

With the transfer window also due to shut on August 8, the clock is ticking for chairman Dejphon Chansiri in his quest to find the right man to take the club forward.

All manner of names have been linked with the vacancy, including former Brighton & Hove Albion chief Chris Hughton and former Derby boss Gary Rowett.

In an ideal world, an appointment will be made soon but Chansiri has proved in the past he is willing to wait if it means securing the club’s first choice.

For now, Lee Bullen is at the helm. He was in the dugout on Tuesday night as the Owls triumphed 4-0 at Northampton Town in their first pre-season friendly on English soil.

The former Owls captain will also be in charge for this week’s short visit to Germany, which includes meetings with VfB Lubeck tomorrow and then Holstein Kiel on Sunday.

Wednesday round off their preparations for the new Championship campaign with a home game against La Liga outfit Espanyol on Sunday July 28.

Just when supporters will be able to welcome Bruce’s successor is unclear. But Wednesday made clear their unhappiness with Newcastle over yesterday’s development in an official statement.

It 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.”

Bruce is no stranger to crossing deep football divides. His managerial career started at Sheffield United but this proved no bar to him returning to work on the other side of the Steel City, where Owls fans welcomed the one-time Hull manager with open arms.

More problematic was his time at Aston Villa. Even though Villa reached the play-off final during his only full season at the helm, supporters never really took to someone who had spent six years as Birmingham City manager.

Bruce faced similar problems in two years at Sunderland, this time due to him being a boyhood supporter of Newcastle.

Now, though, it seems the 58-year-old is in for the biggest test of his career with Newcastle fans in open revolt following his unveiling on a three-year deal as Rafael Benitez’s successor.

Despite that, Bruce said: “I am delighted and incredibly proud to be appointed as head coach of Newcastle United. This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family.

“There is a huge challenge ahead of us, but it’s one that my staff and I are ready for. We’ll roll our sleeves up and we’ll be giving it everything from the off to ensure supporters have a successful team that they can be proud of.”

Bruce, who has signed an initial three-year contract, and his staff were already on their way to China when the official announcement was made by the Magpies yesterday morning.

Ben Dawson, the club’s academy chief, is looking forward to welcoming Bruce to the second leg of the club’s Far East trip following yesterday’s 4-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in Nanjing.

“To my knowledge he is on his way and we hope he will be here soon to join the team at the hotel in Shanghai,” said Dawson, who has been at the helm in China along with former Leeds United and Rotherham United manager Neil Redfearn.

“The manager is travelling here knowing our preparations are still going as planned and he has a full squad here for when he arrives.”