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Steve Bruce names the two biggest football clubs that he managed – A certain fanbase won’t be happy…

1 year ago

Steve Bruce has been talking about his managerial career.

The 62 year old has had 12 spells (so far…) in football management.

Steve Bruce managing 11 clubs in total – Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Wigan (again), Sunderland, Hull, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United and West Brom.

Speaking on the Die For Three Points Podcast, Steve Bruce naming what he thinks are the two ‘biggest’ clubs he has managed and talking about his time at Newcastle United…

“The two biggest clubs I managed, arguably, were Aston Villa and Newcastle United.

“Which I thoroughly enjoyed.

“Even the challenge of Newcastle United, through all of the abuse that came my way.

“I wouldn’t have swapped it.

“I wouldn’t have not taken it, I had to take it.

“I turned it down before Graeme Souness took it, when Bobby Robson got the sack, I stayed loyal to Birmingham.

“I always regretted that.

“So to get the opportunity to say I had done it (managed Newcastle United) for two and a half years.

“It was difficult but I’m glad I did it.”

I wonder who the third biggest would have been if Steve Bruce had gone beyond the easy choice of biggest top two?

Sheff Wed, West Brom, maybe Huddersfield…?

Quite incredible to think that back in 2004, after leading Newcastle United to fourth, third and fifth place in the three previous seasons, Sir Bobby Robson was sacked after only four games of the 2004/05 season.

Even more incredible to think that Freddie Shepherd and John Hall thought that both Steve Bruce and Graeme Souness were better options.

It was shocking, Newcastle got two draws and two defeats in those opening four Premier League matches but not exactly a disaster that called for emergency action so early. Especially when you were replacing a manager with an outstanding career in management, who had been brilliant at Newcastle United, with one of two new potential replacements, neither of who had really achieved anything in their managerial careers, which remains the case right up to the present day…

Newcastle United fans were not calling for Sir Bobby Robson to be sacked, there was maybe a feeling that now was the time for NUFC to start planning for the future and surely the ideal was going to be having Sir Bobby identifying his successor. A young up and manager perhaps, one who could maybe come in and work with Sir Bobby initially, before then taking over and potentially Sir Bobby Robson moving to a role as Director of Football, or something similar.

However, rumours had spread that summer claiming that, for whatever reasons, Shepherd and Hall wanted rid of Sir Bobby Robson. Two points from the first four PL matches of the season ridiculously seen as their opportunity to sack him.

That really was the moment that set Newcastle United on the road to a wasted 17 years of stagnation, with rare and brief small upturns, amongst the numerous relegation battles.

How different things could and should have been.

Fast forwarding to the present day, an incredible story has emerged at West Brom surrounding Steve Bruce. His most recent (and surely final…) management role.

In February 2022, Steve Bruce took over a West Brom side who were fifth in the Championship, the new manager declaring that the squad of players he inherited were not just good enough for the play-offs, he was sure he could get them into the automatic promotion places. They ended up in mid-table, miles away from the play-offs, never mind automatic promotion.

To the surprise of nobody who has any kind of a clue, this season saw an absolute disaster, Steve Bruce winning just one game in the first 13 Championship games before West Brom very belatedly sacked him, the Baggies in a desperate situation second from bottom and seemingly Bruce having set them in motion towards the third tier.

Carlos Corberan came in and….with exactly the same group of players, has magically got very different results.

Almost as if, maybe it wasn’t the players who were the big problem?

As thing stand, West Brom have won nine of their last ten Championship matches under Corberan and are now in the play-offs in sixth, only two points off third place.

I think this absolutely sums up how shocking the English media is, journalists and pundits. The old boys network, people you are matey with.

Next to nothing has been said / reported about this astonishing turnaround at the Hawthorns.

Imagine if the opposite had happened.

Imagine if a Spanish manager such as Carlos Corberan had overseen the shambles of February – October 2002 at West Brom, then Steve Bruce had came in and done what Corberan has done?

The journalists and pundits would be carrying (rather them than me!) Steve Bruce around the streets on their shoulders, proclaiming him as a genius, proving all his critics wrong, with this brilliant job he had done at the Hawthorns, surely only a matter of time before he was headhunted by a decent level Premier League club…

However, when the exact opposite has been the reality, nobody at all saying just how was it possible for Steve Bruce to be such a disaster, when quite clearly this was a group of players capable of much much better, if only they had a decent manager.

Thankfully, things have moved on for Newcastle United fans (and Villa fans, West Brom fans….).

The likes of Fabian Schar, Miggy Almiron and Joelinton (plus numerous others at NUFC) must surely wonder from time to time just where their careers would now be, if the new Newcastle United owners and Eddie Howe hadn’t came along and rescued them from Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce.


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