Steve Bruce could have lived without having to justify his decision to take a month off work immediately after being appointed the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday, writes Vernon Grant. But the unsympathetic and ignorant comments made by others on live television, which I’ve written about here, have led to him speaking out while he was enjoying a break watching cricket in Barbados.
He’s always divided opinion, especially among football club owners. He’s been hired by, and fallen out with, the owners of Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City and Crystal Palace in times past. Between pages 135 and 141 of his autobiography, the former Chairman of Crystal Palace, Simon Jordan, says: “Steve Bruce was a very difficult man to dislike. He was very personable…I really liked Steve Bruce, he was my kind of man. There were no excuses when things went badly and and he was humble when things went well. He led by example.”
But, as with so many other managers I interviewed Jordan about during the on camera interview you can view via this link, he parted company with Steve Bruce on bad terms.
Bruce has been recovering from two operations and a second round of surgery. He confirmed that he had promised his family that he would take a break after the trauma of losing both parents, in quick succession last year. His new employers were happy to for him to begin when he was fit and ready.
“I have had two operations and I’ve been recovering in Barbados,” Bruce told Luke Edwards of the Daily Telegraph. “I did not hide anything from Sheffield Wednesday and they were perfectly happy with the plan. It was done with their full support.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job if they were not aware of the situation. I was completely open and honest with them when we talked about me taking the job. It is extremely disappointing that people have tried to make something negative out of it.
Bruce had not planned to look for another job. He wanted a break from the game. He’s been a manager since 1998 and knows all about the stresses and strains of the job, as I have written about via this link.
As I exclusively revealed via one of my Twitter feeds (@VGTIPS1) in late November, he was approached while the failing Sheffield Wednesday coach Josh Luhukay was still in his position. The club owner Dejphon Chansiri was scheduled to face an angry fans forum at Hillsborough and he knew they would demand a change of manager. Wednesday were sliding down the league and towards the relegation zone. The Chairman had to act and act fast.
Steve Bruce told Telegraph Sport: “The fact I’ve also had surgery and was in not a condition to start work immediately, meant I postponed my first day as Sheffield Wednesday’s manager. But that does not mean I’m not excited about starting. I’m fit and I’m raring to go.
“I don’t want this to drag on and on. I don’t want to be answering questions about this in the days and weeks to come. What I’ve had done in terms of my operations is also a private matter. I hope people can understand what has happened and can let me concentrate on managing the team. That is all I’m thinking about. I can’t wait to get started now.”