Despite the ferocious backlash from supporters when he was appointed, Steve Bruce has actually made a decent start to life as Newcastle United manager.
The experienced incumbent departed Sheffield Wednesday and accepted the thankless challenge of replacing the likeable Rafa Benitez, who departed for the big money on offer in China.
Bruce started the campaign with two defeats, instantly handing more ammunition to disgruntled supporters.
A remarkable win at Tottenham was then followed up by a credible point against Watford to give the Magpies four points from as many league games.
The summer transfer window wasn’t without disappointment for Newcastle. Salomon Rondon joined Benitez in China, whilst Ayoze Perez departed for Leicester City.
Bruce did manage to add to his ranks. Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, Emil Krafth, Jetro Willems and Andy Carroll were all signed.
Perhaps the new boss’ best piece of summer business was keeping hold of arguably his most important player.
At one point during the summer, Calciomercato reported that AC Milan were considering a cut-price £13.5 million deal for Fabian Schar.
The Swiss star had already proved during the current campaign just how savvy Newcastle were to keep him at St James’ Park.
In four league games, he has made four crucial blocks, according to statistics from the official Premier League website.
Last night for Switzerland he showed what he is capable of at the other end of the pitch by opening the scoring in a Euro 2020 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.
His goal was the second of the campaign, and his second in five days. Schar was also on hand to score the Magpies’ goal against Watford on Saturday.
Newcastle fans might have demanded more from the summer transfer market but keeping Schar should be celebrated.
Schar and Jamaal Lascelles have developed a strong rapport at the back for the Magpies and the partnership is one strong aspect of Bruce’s team.
Of course, Bruce still has work to do. He will ultimately be judged on the results he gets on the pitch.
Keeping Schar at the club beyond the closure of the transfer window is massive, however.
The club stands a far better chance of success with the £40,000-a-week (Spotrac) man holding things together at the back.
Rejecting AC Milan’s advances should be deemed exceptional business from a Newcastle point of view.