This is why Steve Bruce deserves 'respect' from fans
Dean Smith says Steve Bruce deserves “respect” from Aston Villa fans ahead of his return to Villa Park.
One Villa fan threw a cabbage at Bruce, who took charge of Newcastle United in the summer following the departure of Rafa Benitez.
Smith – who succeeded Bruce at Villa Park and went on to guide the club to promotion through the play-offs – has labelled the cabbage incident “disgraceful”.
"I thought it was a disgrace," said Smith. "You don't want to see that in the ground – I said that at the time."
Smith is an admirer of Bruce, whose “organised” United side is 14th in the Premier League ahead of tomorrow night’s game against 17th-placed Villa.
Speaking ahead of Bruce’s first return to Villa Park, Smith said: "I said when I took the job that I have an awful lot of respect for what he’s done in management, but, more importantly, for how he’s as a man as well.
"This season, if you look at Newcastle at the start, there were a lot of questions about the club and where it was going. But Steve has gone in and done what he does best – got them organised.
"They've got pace and power up front. They are winning games – they've won the last couple – and they beat Manchester United at home as well. They’re in a good run of form at the moment."
Smith was particularly impressed with Newcastle’s 3-2 away win over West Ham United.
Allan Saint-Maximin wreaked havoc with his pace at the London Stadium, where former Villa defender Ciaran Clark, “touch and go” for the game with an injury, was among the goalscorers.
"It could have been five or six, such is the pace and power they've got in their team," said Smith. "They were outstanding in their counter-attacking.
"They've got really good organisation as well. They're tough to break down, but a real threat on the counter."