Steve Bruce’s most iconic moments for Man Utd, Hull City and Aston Villa

You'd struggle to find any from his time at St James' Park. However, the former Man Utd captain has provided us with a host of iconic moments both on the pitch and on the touchline over the years.

Newcastle United fans may struggle to accept it, but Steve Bruce has enjoyed a string of iconic moments in his soccer career, and not just as a player.

Born in Northumberland, Bruce has gone full circle and ended up back in his beloved north-east where he is currently running the gauntlet of abuse which comes with managing the Magpies.

Inbetween, Bruce enjoyed a hugely successful playing career, before taking up a number of managerial roles, with varying degrees of success.

Starting out at Gillingham, Bruce made over 200 appearances for the club before his talent was spotted by Norwich City. After a successful stint, the young centre-back was signed by Manchester United, where he went on to become captain and achieve legendary status.

After finishing his playing career at Birmingham City and Sheffield United, Bruce immediately turned to management, initially taking charge of the Blades, before brief stints at Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace.

Bruce eventually found his feet at Birmingham City, and also enjoyed lengthy spells at Hull City and Aston Villa.

He is also part of a small list of managers to take charge of both sides of the Sunderland-Newcastle United rivalry, something which immediately put him on the back foot with supporters of the St James' Park club.

With a recent friendly defeat to York and a draw with Rotherham further adding to the ire of the Geordie faithful, it is perhaps a good time for Planet Sport to remind people of the impressive career highlights of Stephen Roger Bruce.

Goalscoring centre-back

Despite plying his trade as a centre-back, Steve Bruce excelled not only at keeping the ball out of his side's net, but also scoring in the opposition's.

Aerial dominance combined with a composed penalty technique meant Bruce was a consistent goal threat throughout his career.

With over 700 professional appearances to his name, Bruce netted an impressive 81 goals. However, one season in particular stands out  for the goalscoring centre-back.

After joining Manchester United in 1987, Bruce quickly cemented a place in the side, and truly began to flourish in the 1990/91 season.

Remarkably, Bruce netted 19 times, yes, 19, in all competitions, including 13 in the league.

A scoring tally worthy of an in-form striker, Bruce had managed it from the heart of the defence, albeit with the help of the odd penalty.

Overall, Bruce managed 36 goals for the Red Devils over his nine-year spell, meaning over half of his tally came from that one prolific season.

A title-winning brace

As we've already established, Bruce was never shy of scoring during his playing days, and the defensive stalwart popped up at crucial moments for the Red Devils.

After winning the League Cup, FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup, the 1992/93 season was United's best chance of ending their league title drought.

With just five games to go, United were battling with Aston Villa for the title, and Sir Alex Ferguson's side faced a difficult task against Sheffield Wednesday, who were also fighting in the top half of the table.

With United knowing a win would send them above Villa, the first half turned out to be a nervy affair, ending goalless.

Disaster struck for the Red Devils just after the hour-mark when John Sheridan handed the Owls the lead from the penalty spot.

As time passed, it seemed United had slipped up in their pursuit of the title. But in what many deemed the first appearance of 'Fergie time', Bruce popped up with not one, but two headers in the final minutes to rescue all three points.

Iconic scenes followed as Ferguson and his staff rushed onto the pitch in celebration, and Bruce's brace ended up playing a crucial part in United's first title in 26 years.

Premier League promotions

After his retirement as a player, Bruce entered management, first taking over at Sheffield United, before stints at Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace.

But it was at Birmingham City, a club he represented as a player, that Bruce started to make his mark.

Upon his arrival, Birmingham were sat mid-table in the second tier of English soccer. Bruce's appointment had an immediate impact, and a lengthy unbeaten run helped Birmingham qualify for the play-offs.

In the play-off final, Bruce was pitted against another of his former teams, Norwich City. And, following a penalty shootout success, he returned Birmingham City to the Premier League, ending a 16-year absence.

Bruce managed to keep Birmingham in the Premier League for a further four seasons, consistently achieving respectable mid-table finishes.

However, after relentless rumours linking Bruce to the vacant Newcastle job, Birmingham began to struggle in the 2005/06 season, and were eventually relegated after finishing 18th.

Despite a less than convincing start in the second tier, Bruce managed to achieve promotion again with Birmingham in 2007. However, contract disputes saw him leave that summer to take over at Wigan Athletic.

But it wasn't just at Birmingham that Bruce enjoyed promotion. In fact, during his four-year spell at Hull City, Bruce achieved a further two promotions.

In his first season in charge of the Tigers, Bruce clinched second place in the Championship on the final day to secure their elevation to the top flight.

After helping Hull retain their Premier League status in 2013/14, the Tigers were relegated the following campaign after a 0-0 draw against Manchester United on the final day.

However, Bruce worked his magic once again in the Championship, securing promotion at the first time of asking - thanks to a stunning 25-yard strike from Mohamed Diame in the play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday.

Despite achieving promotion once more, Bruce walked out on the Tigers before the Premier League season started, blaming frustration over transfer activity and tension with Hull's owners for his departure.

FA Cup final

Bruce's 16th-placed finish in the Premier League with Hull was complemented by an outstanding run to the 2013/14 FA Cup final.

Their journey started with a third-round win over Middlesbrough, before victory over Southend United set up a clash with Brighton.

After an initial 1-1 draw, a 2-1 replay victory for Bruce's side meant he was pitted against the club he managed before joining Hull - Sunderland.

With many of the cup favourites already eliminated, both Sunderland and Hull knew a win would progress them to a semi-final at Wembley, and put them in with a strong chance of reaching the final.

Inside a frantic ten-minute spell at the KC Stadium, Hull took a resounding 3-0 lead courtesy of Curtis Davies, David Meyler and Matthew Fryatt to book their place in the last four.

Bruce again faced another of his former sides in the semi-final, as his Hull side lined up against Sheffield United. The game that followed went down as a cup classic.

Jose Baxter handed the Blades the lead, before Yannick Sagbo equalised in the 42nd minute. However, with the half-time whistle approaching, Stefan Scougall restored United's lead.

A chaotic second half followed, and Bruce's team-talk clearly paid dividends as his side scored three in quick succession to take a 4-2 advantage.

A 90th-minute goal from Sheffield United's James Murphy set up a tense final few minutes before Meyler calmed Hull nerves, his injury-time finish sealing a 5-3 win and securing Hull a first-ever FA Cup final appearance.

With Arsenal as their opponents, not many Hull fans fancied their chances heading into the game. However, Bruce's side took a surprise 2-0 lead within 10 minutes thanks to strikes from defensive duo James Chester and Davies.

Santi Cazorla clawed one back for the Gunners via a scintillating free-kick, before Laurent Koscielny's second-half equaliser sent the game into extra time.

And, after an historic run to the final, Hull City's dreams of cup glory were crushed by Aaron Ramsey's 109th-minute winner.

However, while Bruce and Hull ended with no silverware, they did create another first - due to Arsenal's involvement in the Champions League, the East Yorkshire's club had qualified for their first-ever European campaign.

Potatoes and cabbages

While the majority of Bruce's iconic moments have been provided on the pitch, the dry Geordie has produced some highly entertaining moments in his press conferences throughout the years.

There are plenty of one-liners to choose from, but a standout moment came during Bruce's unveiling as Aston Villa manager in 2016.

Having led Villa's rivals Birmingham for six seasons, Bruce had received his fair share of criticism and abuse from the Villa faithful - something he addressed in his opening conference.

Speaking of the taunts, Bruce said: "I've been used to being called Potato Head by them for 20 years and Fathead at Liverpool or whatever.

"I always took it as a bit of a compliment. If they're against you then they usually quite like you.

"All I'll ask is for them all to get behind the team and get behind the club again. They're a fantastically loyal support and I'll try my utmost to make sure we get back to where we want to get to."

Despite Villa fans drawing similarities between Bruce and the Toy Story character, his run in charge of the club didn't enjoy the same happy ending as the 1995 film, and he was fired in 2018 following a poor run of form.

However, not before Bruce had a cabbage thrown at him by a disgruntled Villa fan. A strange moment for sure, but one that probably seems tame in comparison to abuse the Newcastle fans are currently hurling at him.

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