We’ve not had the best of times of late at Sheffield Wednesday, with things turning extremely sour under Jos Luhukay at the back end of 2018. Unbeknown to most, the chairman had a new man waiting in the wings, and that man was of course Steve Bruce.
Bruce, 58, had been axed by our Championship rivals Villa in October, and while things ended badly for Bruce at Villa Park, our chairman recognised what Bruce had achieved at Championship level, what he could bring to the club, and was willing to pay big to bring him in.
Bruce had, without question, undergone a torrid time in his personal life in the run up to his Villa exit. And, while the chairman hoped to replace Jos Luhukay with Steve Bruce and his staff as quickly as possible, Bruce expressed a desire to take some time out. Do I think the chairman would have been keen on this? No. However, he was understanding of Bruce’s position.
It turned out Bruce wanted some time with his family, there was a knee operation which needed to take place and Bruce also wanted to watch some cricket. Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence joined in the interim, as the chairman and Sheffield Wednesday continued to do their upmost to respect Bruce’s wishes, something on which they should be commended.
Wednesday did undoubtedly improve on the pitch following Luhukay’s departure, Lee Bullen’s stint in charge, the arrival of Agnew and Clemence, and then Bruce, however, after making a late push for the playoffs, we just fell short. There were reasons to be optimistic at this stage however, and this, in my opinion, was all down to Steve Bruce.
Bruce had been given the opportunity to bring in his own staff. Not only did Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence arrive, but there were additions on the recruitment side in David Downes and Dean Hughes. Bruce has also hired Tony Strudwick too, a man tasked with solving the fitness and injury concerns which have plagued the club for a number of years.
Everything seemed to be on the up. The club looked to be moving forward, and I personally started to get the same optimistic feelings I had experienced ahead of the 15/16 campaign, and then, the hero in this situation rapidly went down in my estimations.
Newcastle United announced on the 24th of June that Rafa Benitez would be leaving the club at the end of his contract. While Bruce was initially linked with the vacancy, the majority laughed it off as mere speculation, something which Bruce himself did at Owls In The Park on the 30th.
However, if reliable sources such as Vernon (@VGTIPS1) and others are to be believed, and I personally have no reason to doubt them as it seems they have the inside from Bruce’s camp, our manager had instructed his agent to reach out to Newcastle United in the hope of landing the job on Tyneside.
Now, I recognise that Bruce is a lifelong Newcastle fan, however, this didn’t stop him managing bitter rivals Sunderland, while also taking time to criticise the fan base he is now looking to get on side. Bruce seemingly has a habit of crossing divides too. He’s managed both Wednesday and United, Birmingham and Villa, and has now made it Sunderland and Newcastle.
Bruce also has another habit, one which has barely had a mention in media circles. He has form for engineering his own exit from football clubs in order to move to another. Now, this isn’t possible without being deceitful, something which us Wednesday fans have quickly realised.
Steve Bruce is a media darling. He’s a man with a gentle approach, one who speaks to others and about others with respect. However, I’m now questioning whether this is all an act, because it certainly feels like it. Does Steve Bruce get everyone dancing to his tune, so in the event of a sitatuion occuring which could potentially make him look bad, everyone will side with him and not believe he’s capable of such a thing?
Throughout this sorry episode, one where Sheffield Wednesday are the victims, the media have not once questioned Steve Bruce or his behaviour. I saw Darren Huckerby’s tweet and the snippet of Micky Gray speaking on the subject, but we’re now seeing the media darling being backed by ex teammates and other footballing people. Are you ignoring what has happened here?
The media are quick to crticise Raheem Sterling for taking an ecomomy flight abroad, or Paul Pogba for his latest haircut, but what about a bloke who has been held in high regard for years who has just shit on one of England’s traditional big clubs?
Steve Bruce courted the Newcastle United job, behind the back of a chairman who bent over backwards to support him prior to and during his employment. Yes, there probably were disagreements along the way, an excuse Bruce is likely to use, but disagreements can be discussed, worked out and moved on from.
Prior to us heading to Portugal for our training camp, and during the time there, Steve Bruce and his assistants knew full well that they would potentially be exiting the club to join Newcastle. Bruce had brought in three new players in Moses Odubajo, Kadeem Harris and Julian Borner, Josh McEachran arrived on trial, and contract renewals were signed. So, was Bruce just spinning the Wednesday plate in case he never got the gig on Tyneside?
This, in my opinion, makes the whole situation worse. I know the lads at we have at the club are professional and the new additions will get their heads down and get on with it, but what if some only joined the club because of Steve Bruce being the gaffer? What about employing Tony Strudwick who only joined last month?
The lack of respect Steve Bruce had shown at this point for Sheffield Wednesday as a whole – chairman, staff, players and fans – at this point was bordering on uneblievable. That was until he took charge of the side at Lincoln City, where he practically used his time with the media to make it clear in no uncertain terms that he wanted out, and was just waiting for it to happen.
With the clubs locked in talks over a compensation package to release Bruce, Agnew and Clemence from their contracts, Bruce then took things to a whole new level disrespect when he resigned as Sheffield Wednesday manager, alongside Agnew and Clemence on Monday of this week. A move which in my opinion tells you everything you need to know about the man.
Now, his media friends may be prepared to back Bruce in the face of adversity, but I don’t see how they possibly can, but let’s face it, they’ve been doing so for years. He’s once again shown the other side to his character, his true colours, his deceitful underbelly, and it’s a shame that nobody is willing to call him out on this.
The best part is, Steve Bruce was already loved at our place. He had breathed an air of optimism into the club. The project was one where there was potential for Bruce and co to take this club back to the top flight, writing their name’s in the history books, and being forever known as heroes. However, Steve leaves as a zero, and he’s certainly a zero on Tyneside too.