Steve Bruce Profile
|Born||Dec 31, 1960|
Once a star centre-back for Manchester United, Steve Bruce's managerial career has been far more complex, and he is the only manager to have taken charge of both Sheffield and Tyne and Wear clubs.
Bruce is a former centre-back who has managed 11 different professional football teams, including hometown club Newcastle United which he kept in the Premier League in successive seasons.
He has managed over 1,000 games, with his last role at West Bromwich Albion who dispensed of his services in October 2022 with the club in the bottom three of the Championship.
He won the Premier League three times while at Manchester United as well as lifting the FA Cup on another three occasions. He finished his 20-year playing career with 14 trophies and is hailed by many as the best player never to earn a cap for England.
As a manager he's been a runner-up in the Championship twice, won the first division and Championship play-offs, and been the beaten finalist in the 2014 FA Cup.
Emerging as a player with Gillingham and Norwich
Bruce turned down trials at Newcastle United, Sunderland, Derby County and Southport before agreeing to travel down to Kent for a chance at Gillingham. They signed him, but turned away fellow Wallsend boy Peter Beardsley.
Originally a midfielder, Bruce had become a central defender while at Gillingham and after impressing in their reserve side, made his debut in August 1979.
He immediately made a huge impact, winning the Player of the Season award before going on to play over 200 matches for the Gills.
Aware he was being watched by clubs in higher divisions, the Newcastle-born player decided not to sign a new contract and was signed by Norwich for a fee of over £100,000.
With the Canaries, he helped them win the Football League Cup, and was named as the man-of-the-match in the final.
In his first season, Norwich were relegated from the First Division but bounced straight back with Bruce playing every match in the second division after being named captain.
In their first season back in the top flight, Norwich achieved their best-ever finish of fifth place.
Glory days with Manchester United
In 1987, Bruce left Carrow Road for Old Trafford for a fee of over £800,000. In his debut season he helped United to a top-two finish for the first time in almost a decade.
Bruce formed a strong bond with Gary Pallister at the heart of the United defence, considered one of the best defensive partnerships in the club's history.
He was a mainstay in the United team for almost 10 years, where he netted 36 goals, including a remarkable 19 in the 1990/91 season.
Bruce won 12 trophies while in Manchester and was one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson's team sheet.
United dominated English soccer for the majority of Bruce's time at the club and he continues to be fondly remembered for his contribution by the Old Trafford faithful.
After leaving United, Steve Bruce played for Birmingham City for two years before making the switch to Sheffield United - both teams he would later manage.
Early managerial career
Bruce had a controversial start to his managerial career, taking charge of five different clubs in just three years.
In his first season as a manager, Bruce guided Sheffield United to eighth place in the First Division.
He caused controversy when he attempted to take his team off the pitch during an FA Cup match against Arsenal, believing the Gunners had broken an unwritten rule of sportsmanship.
United had intentionally kicked the ball out of play to allow an injured player to be treated. However, rather than return the ball from the resultant throw-in, as the Blades players expected, Arsenal kept possession, with Kanu crossing for Marc Overmars to slot home. The match was later replayed.
Bruce ended up leaving his role after only a year in charge due to disagreements with the board.
The former defender lasted only slightly longer at Huddersfield Town. He was involved in a dispute with owner Barry Rubery after he left and was accused of "wasting" £3million on players and having "an ego to feed".
He remained out of the game for around six months before joining Wigan Athletic in January 2001. Bruce led The Latics to the Second Division play-offs where they lost in the semi-final and, almost immediately, he left to join Crystal Palace.
Bruce started well at Palace, and they found themselves at the top of Division One three months into the season.
However, once again Bruce tendered his resignation only a couple of months into the job and moved to another of his former clubs, Birmingham City - his third managerial job of 2001.
Losing the bad reputation
Eventually, Bruce settled as Birmingham City manager, and would stay for a period of six years. His role at the club only ended in 2007 after new owner, Carson Yeung, was left unsure whether Bruce was the right man for the job.
When Bruce arrived at the Blues in 2001, they were mid-table in the First Division. However, a long unbeaten run helped them reach the play-offs, which they went on to win against Norwich to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Due to his north-east roots, Bruce was often linked with the Newcastle United job during his tenure at Birmingham City, but he remained at St Andrews.
A poor 2005/06 season saw Birmingham relegated from the top flight and some supporters calling for him to be sacked, but Bruce stayed on and guided City back to the premier League at the first attempt.
Bruce agreed a contract extension but when Yeung took charge he revoked the offer.
Wigan Athletic then agreed for Bruce to return for a then-world-record compensation fee for a manager of £3million.
His first season was a struggle but Wigan retained their top-flight status.
Once again, Bruce was linked with the Newcastle United role again nothing came of it. The next season, Wigan finished a fine 11th despite losing their star player, Wilson Palacios, to Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window.
Mackems, Tigers and the Villains
In May, 2009, Bruce made a shock move to another Premier League club in the shape of Newcastle's bitter rivals, Sunderland.
His first season proved to be successful as he helped the Black Cats finish the campaign in 13th position.
It was very much a rebuilding job, with 15 players departing the Stadium of Light and 13 coming in.
Despite a turbulent period, Bruce's decision paid off and he was rewarded with a new contract in February 2011.
The following season, Sunderland got off to a slow start and with the club floundering in 16th, Bruce was sacked.
He returned to management the next season with Hull City and enjoyed success in East Yorkshire.
Bruce helped the Tigers achieve promotion to the Premier League in his first season and the next year they stayed in the top-flight with a club record tally of 37 points and reached the FA Cup final for the first time.
They went on to lose to Arsenal despite taking a two-goal lead inside the opening ten miniutes, but still qualified for Europe for the first time.
In 2014/15, The Tigers couldn't replicate the heroics of the previous season and were relegated - although the board stuck by Bruce for the next season.
The decision to retain him paid off. Hull reached the Championship play-off final, defeating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Wembley courtesy of a wonder strike from Mo Diame.
It proved Bruce's last game in charge of Hull and he left the club in July 2016 after becoming frustrated by the club's lack of transfer activity.
In October 2016, Bruce joined Aston Villa as manager. In his second match in charge, Villa defeated Reading, the club's first win in 11 games and their first away from home in 14 months.
They reached the Championship play-off final, but lost to Fulham to miss out on promotion. Bruce lasted two years at Villa before being sacked after a poor run of form, culminating in a 3-3 draw with Preston North End.
Bruce joined Sheffield Wednesday in January 2019 but had left by July, amid reports that he had been in talks with Newcastle United.
Time on Tyneside
Bruce's Tyneside tenure was rocky from the start, with a majority of fans preferring to keep former manager Rafa Benitez as opposed to an ex-Sunderland boss.
Bruce was aware of the tension upon his arrival, and knew one of his first tasks was to win over a large number of doubtful Newcastle fans.
In his first transfer window he made a significant signing, paying a club-record £40million to secure striker Joelinton from Hoffenheim.
Despite the doubters, Bruce managed a 13th-placed finish in 2019/20, before improving to 12th in 2020/21.
Loanee Joe Willock turned out to be a standout in Newcastle's campaign and Bruce signed the Arsenal midfielder permanently for £25million ahead of the 2021/22 season.
However, a seven-game winless start to the season had fans again calling for his head. The clamour for his removal intensified following the Â£300million Saudi-led takeover of the club in the October.
Bruce hung on to his job long enough to bring up his 1,000th game in management - a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham - but was relieved of his duties three days later with the Magpies 19th in the Premier League.
His stay out of the manager's hotseat was brief, with Bruce taking over as manager of Championship side West Bromwich Albion on February 3, 2022.
The 61-year-old spent a little more than eight months with the Baggies, guiding them to a disappointing tenth in the 2021/22 Championship season.
A return of just one league win from the first 13 games of the new campaign - 5-2 against Hull on August 20 - which had left them in 22nd place on only 11 points, proved fatal and he was sacked on October 10, 2022.
Bruce has been married since 1983 to wife Janet, who he met at school. The pair have two children, Alex and Amy. Alex is a professional soccer player who also played for Manchester United. However, he is more well known for his spell at Hull where he was signed by his father in 2012.
Bruce senior grew up a Newcastle United fan and would even sneak into St James' Park as a kid to watch his team play.
Steve Bruce was reportedly on a weekly wage of £57,000 according to GoalBall, which equates to a yearly earning of over £2.75million.
Steve Bruce News
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