Hull City boss Steve Bruce says he will continue to be thankful to Sheffield United for allowing him his first opportunity in football management.
Bruce, who was speaking after his side's 1-1 pre-season friendly draw with the Blades, was brought to Bramall Lane as a player-manager in 1998 and retired from the playing side that year to concentrate on his role as the boss.
However, he would last just one season before leaving during what was a torrid time behind the scenes at the club.
The experience had almost prompted Bruce to give up on his managerial ambitions but he was eventually picked up by Huddersfield before going on to lead Wigan Athletic (twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Sunderland and then Hull, where he has been since 2012.
Speaking to Tigers TV, Bruce said: "It's been a long time (since he managed at Bramall Lane). I will always, always, always be thankful to Sheffield United because this club give me my chance.
"It's not often you get a club of this stature as your first job. It was a difficult job but, then again, football management has not got any easier in the past 15 years. It was difficult 15 years ago and it's difficult today."