Steve Bruce: A reminder - Sheffield Wednesday fans never thought you were a 'tactically inept cabbage-head'
The moment has finally arrived - Steve Bruce has been relieved of his duties at Newcastle United and with it comes some cringeworthy fawning in the media and a self-pitying goodbye from the man himself.
Frankly the whole episode is embarrassing, especially the I-just-wanted-to-be-loved letter in Bruce’s exit interview in the Daily Telegraph.
In it, the former Sheffield Wednesday manager whines about how he was never taken in by the Toon support, even if he was apparently ‘one of their own’.
“To never really be wanted,” he bubbles. “To feel that people wanted you to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage-head or whatever. And it was from day one.”
There’s a heavy dose of irony in all of that… he had everything he wanted at Wednesday.
Bruce had just endured a horrible time at Aston Villa – again not warmed-to by the club’s fans due to having previously managed Birmingham City – where in amongst what was happening on the pitch, he suffered the horrible experience of losing loved ones and lived with the worry of two medical procedures of his own.
He’ll be remembered there for having a cabbage chucked at him by a Villa supporter while he sat in the dugout.
That’s enough to take its toll on anyone but to his credit, there is a determination in Bruce’s character to prove people wrong.
So, despite wishing to take time away from the game for a while, when Wednesday came calling to bring the ex-Sheffield United boss back into management, he accepted the challenge.
However, he brought caveats to the table.
Bruce did indeed want to take the break he clearly needed and Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri granted that wish. Officially announced as the new manager on January 2, he would eventually take up the post on February 1, his newly-requested and appointed backroom staff taking charge of matters while he watched the England cricket team in the West Indies.
During that time, Wednesday played Chelsea in the FA Cup while Bruce was lapping up the sun.
BBC pundit and former Liverpool player Danny Murphy and Holland legend Ruud Gullit criticised the absent manager and the club for allowing the scenario to happen.
Wednesday fans immediately jumped to Bruce’s defence and that of the club, hammering the pair on social media.
Upon finally leading Wednesday, he was immediately respected. Players responded to him, the chairman felt the appointment was a huge coup and the fans were excited by an upturn in fortunes and the belief that Bruce was the man to take the club forward.
He could well have done but we’ll never know for certain because despite all that Sheffield Wednesday did for him, Bruce didn’t manage six months at S6 before he spoke to Newcastle United and eventually took charge at St James’ Park just two weeks before the season kicked off. Two weeks!
Newcastle fans didn’t want him and Bruce knew that from the start. Owls fans didn’t want him to leave and he knew that, too. Two years down the line he’s complaining about a lack of respect, backed up by his old pals in the national media who didn’t give a toss about the lack of respect shown to Sheffield Wednesday when he dropped them in the ****.
If it was merely love that he wanted then Bruce was swamped in hearts at Hillsborough but discarded them all the first chance he got.
Schadenfreude is not a pleasant emotion but following today’s news of Bruce’s Toon departure and his subsequently sad reflections, a different phrase will still go through the minds of many supporters from this neck of the woods who are still bothered … you reap what you sow.