'I became a bit reclusive – and bought the sausage and chips': Steve Bruce opens up on managerial experience

Steve Bruce says his managerial career was almost over before it really started – because of his early experiences at Sheffield United.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 9:10 am

Bruce’s Newcastle United, 14th in the Premier League, take on Chris Wilder’s side in a televised game tomorrow night.

Bruce was appointed player-manager at Bramall Lane 21 years ago – and Wilder was in his squad. Bruce cited boardroom turmoil and a lack of transfer funds when he resigned his post after just one season in the summer of 1999.

After a difficult spell at Huddersfield Town, Bruce was “very close” to taking a different career path – after Sky Sports offered him a job.

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“(With) the uncertainty above me, it wasn’t easy,” said the 58-year-old. “I had five chief executives in a year. It was difficult, although I’ll always be grateful for giving me that opportunity.”

Bruce took a six-month break from football – and “became a bit reclusive” – following his sacking at Huddersfield.

“After Huddersfield, for the first time in my life, I became a bit reclusive,” said Bruce.

“I never really went out of the house. Thankfully, I was doing my house up. I would do a bit of labouring. I would get the sausage and chips for the lads. I was just Billy normal.”

Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

Bruce eventually took over at Wigan Athletic. Asked how close he had been to taking a job in television, Bruce said: “I was very close.

“I thought ‘is this (management) really what I want to do? Do I want to put myself in that situation?’. After Sheffield and Huddersfield, I had a big decision to make, but Wigan was the way it should be, and I really enjoyed it.”

The head coach’s job at boyhood club Newcastle, however, is arguably Bruce’s biggest challenge yet.

Bruce said: “This has been a cakewalk! Now, in the Premier League, we all understand one thing – if you don’t get any results, no matter who you are, you come under the pump.

“When you get to the Premier League, you’re in the eye of everybody. There’s no escape. You have to accept there’s going to be a tough period, and the only thing you can do is get a few results.”