Sunday night’s FA Cup fourth round match between Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea has sparked a big debate about Steve Bruce.
The fact that Bruce has delayed his start at Hillsborough is not new information, as it was announced that he would not take over until February 1 when he was initially appointed at the start of January.
But it’s certainly got people talking after Ruud Gullit and Danny Murphy were critical of the decision when they were working as pundits on Match of the Day for the cup clash.
Murphy, who said that Bruce had “made a rod for his own back” if he does not start well with the Owls, has since apologised for not having “all of the information” on the situation.
Fellow pundit and ex-professional player Dion Dublin has come to Bruce’s defence, saying on Sky Sports’ The Debate: “Losing both your parents and having health issues yourself, you know he was supposed to go to the cricket with his dad.
“The people that are having a go at Brucey, I think they are bang out of order. Leave Steve to do what he has got to do.
“Steve Bruce would never have taken this job on if he hadn’t have secured a conversation with the club first.
“I know Steve Bruce well and Alex his son. He’s a very genuine bloke, he won’t leave anyone in the lurch without a manager. They’ve agreed it, he’s agreed it so don’t get involved if it’s not to do with you.”
Emma Hayes, who manages Chelsea Women, also encouraged pundits and fans to remember off-field problems that football coaches and players might be suffering.
She said: “We’ve talked about this enough times. We’re not machines, we’re not robots, we’re human beings, we suffer and we go through different things.
“Sheffield Wednesday knew what they were signing up for. That was a scheduled, planned holiday importantly so he can look after himself and recover from the most traumatic, emotional year of his life.
“The pressures to win year-in, year-out to stay in success is damaging. It’s one of the toughest jobs you can ever do and he deserves that time.
“It’s important for Sheffield Wednesday fans, when he does come into the club, to give him their full support.
“Unless you’ve been a manager, the realities are this is a relentless business, you do not breathe. So I think for him to take the time he needed, I don’t think he should be judged on it.”
Bruce will oversee his first match in charge this weekend against Ipswich Town, when he will take over from caretaker manager Steve Agnew.