Did Steve Bruce become Sheffield Wednesday's biggest ever sale when he left for Newcastle United?
A mysterious figure in Sheffield Wednesday’s accounts for the 2018/19 season could well indicate that the club received an eye-watering fee from Newcastle United in exchange for the services of Steve Bruce and his staff.
It is suspected that the former Owls boss, who swapped South Yorkshire for him hometown club in a whirlwind of controversy in July 2019, is the subject of a ‘Confidential Compensation Package’ totalling £6,475,000.
The fee, which would also include compensation for the services of his assistants Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, would represent the highest fee ever received by the club, outstripping the widely reported fee received from Reading for Lucas Joao later that summer.
Dr Dan Plumley, a football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University, said on ‘Confidential Compensation Packages’: “Usually it’s linked to the early termination of contracts. More often than not, when you see higher numbers in this it’s a player or a managerial contract.
“We obviously don’t know the full detailed, as it is stated, it’s confidential. But normally these things are related to contractual obligations for players or managers.”
Bruce, who took charge of only 18 Wednesday matches having arrived in February 2019, has had a tough time of it at Newcastle and is currently embroiled in a relegation scrap.
Asked how likely it was that the fee was for Bruce and his staff, Dr Plumley said: “It’s a payment to Wednesday for a settlement agreement, so in that regard you are safer to assume it’s the manager because it would be Newcastle covering the settlement fee of the terminated contracts.”
At a press briefing in November last year Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri was asked whether the club had received the entire compensation payment for Bruce by Newcastle. He later launched into a scathing assessment of Bruce’s conduct in leaving the club.
“We’ve already received the compensation from them,” Chansiri said.
“I told him since the beginning, that things should be straight forward. If he wanted to leave or I wanted him to leave, we would talk about.
“I’m just disappointed that he didn’t tell me the truth. If he’d told me the truth I would’ve supported him, why was the need to lie?”