Sheffield Wednesday: Alex Bruce hits back at criticism from BBC pundits over dad Steve’s break before taking charge of Owls

Steve Bruce, manager of Sheffield Wednesday talks to Stuart Broad during a training session of England's cricket team at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados
Steve Bruce, manager of Sheffield Wednesday talks to Stuart Broad during a training session of England's cricket team at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados

Alex Bruce has fiercely defended his dad, Steve after criticism from BBC Match of the day pundits over his extended break before officially taking over as Sheffield Wednesday manager.

A debate ensued between guests before the Owls FA Cup fourth round tie against Chelsea as they discussed Bruce’s decision to have a rest following a turbulent year.

Bruce sadly lost both his mother and father last year before being sacked as manager of Aston Villa.

At that point he vowed to take time away from the game to spend it with his family and part of that was fulfilling a promise to his father-in-law to take him to watch the England cricket team’s West Indies tour.

Bruce was officially announced as Wednesday manager at the beginning of this month but had requested the job not start until February 1 so as to keep that promise.

He was pictured this week in Barbados, watching England train ahead of the opening day of the First test in Barbados.

Alex Bruce has defended his dad

Alex Bruce has defended his dad

It was a decision Sheffield Wednesday as a club were happy with and fans have almost unanimously been supportive of it.

However, it appeared to be frowned upon by Ruud Gullit and Danny Murphy in the Match of the Day studio at Stamford Bridge.

Gullit suggested that if it was Manchester United who had asked him to come back into management then Bruce may have called off the trip.

Murphy went on to say that because Bruce hadn’t taken up the role immediately after accepting it, he was putting himself under pressure.

He said: “He’s making a rod for his own back. He managed Sheffield United. The club has to take some blame for allowing him to say ‘I’ll take it but not until then’. They facilitated that, which is wrong.

“If he starts poorly, you think Sheffield Wednesday fans aren’t going to bring this up? You’re sunning yourself watching the cricket, for whatever reason. It’s not something any manager I’ve ever played under would have done.”

Alex Bruce, a former Wednesday loanee and obviously someone with a much better grasp of the situation than Gullit or Murphy, jumped to his father’s defence.

On his twitter page, Alex posted: “Maybe if Ruud and Danny had been managing since 1998, lost a father, a mother, a job, had health issues of his own to to cope with all in the space of around six months they and others would understand why he needed a short break from football.”

Wednesday fans on social media had been angry at the time the comments were made and some backed up Alex’s view, pointing out that most of them had never had an issue with the decision.

@AlexanderSwfc posted: “Well said Alex. I can't believe Rudd and Danny are even saying this, obviously shows where their family values lay. Alex, can you please pass on to your Dad that we Wednesday fans to a person are absolutely fine with his decision and look forward to seeing him soon.”

Another pundit on the show, former England women’s international Alex Scott admitted she understood the reasons behind Bruce’s opting to take a break from management.

@L_Warburton95 said: “Wednesday fans are sympathetic and have accepted the reason. I don't see the issue. Not a single 'pundit' had a connection with swfc but fair play to Alex Scott talking sense.”

@Azuliblancos posted: “I think the majority of Wednesday fans understand why he’s starting when he is and don’t have a problem with it. Most MSM pundits haven’t got a clue what’s happening below the Premier League.”

Former Arsenal and England star Ian Wright, himself a pundit, replied to Alex Bruce, saying: “Can’t imagine how that would have felt to have to listen to that when you know exactly what’s happened. Family and health is and always should come before football.”

And Kelly Cates, a BBC sport presenter added: “Alex, I’m so glad you said this. Important to remember that we’re dealing with real people.”

Bruce will take charge this coming week, with his first match away to Ipswich on Saturday.