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The Steve Bruce thread

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:43 am

Overall Recon actually seem to be going through a rough patch at the moment, Xia has said that currently it's the most difficult period of his business life, which he apparently talked about at the annual Recon Chinese new year get together, also China as an whole has been going through a rough period.

How it affects us I don't know, I don't think we'll go on a spending spree, that see us challenging for top six, but I think we'll be financially competitive relative to other clubs who have similar ambitions to us, i.e staying up, and trying to become an established Prem team.

Steve Round is apparently giving an interview today where he talks about transfer policy, so maybe that will give us more of a clue, but however much we have to spend, we're going to have to be very clever the way we go about things, having a good scouting system in place, and being able to pick up bargains, is going to be very important to us, whichever division we're in next season.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by achilles on Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:34 am

@deadbuzzardalive wrote: having a good scouting system in place, and being able to pick up bargains, is going to be very important to us, whichever division we're in next season.

I totally agree, it will be critical as you say whatever division we are in due to potential FFP among other things!
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by VTID85 on Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:30 pm

@deadbuzzardalive wrote:I don't think we'll go on a spending spree, that see us challenging for top six

Preface - I'm not specifically quoting you as a direct attack on what you've said here.

Does anyone actually think that challenging for the top six is realistic next season (assuming promotion is successful etc.)? I always said we needed to steady ourselves in the Championship and that whilst we might desire an instant return to top flight football it shouldn't have been expected. We're in a stronger state than we were when we got relegated and have become genuine contenders now. Getting into the Premier League will be no different - once we're there, it will take some resolve and heel-digging to get adjust to a new way of life again before ever we can contemplate a top six push.

Some may disagree (and they would be wrong Laughing), but I'm certainly not trying to be confrontational here. A big dose of realism goes a long way in supporting a football club!
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:08 pm

Well seeing as though, I said I'm not expecting us to spend the kind of money that will see us challenging for top six, then I obviously don't expect us to finish there, and actually pointed out that our ambition will be to stay up. The line wasn't an attack on the ambition of the club either, as in it's original context I was actually sticking up for them. That said I don't think we should settle for mediocrity, there has to be some ambition, and top six and beyond should definitely be a longer term aim.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by VTID85 on Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:43 pm

@deadbuzzardalive wrote:Well seeing as though, etc etc

Indeed, hence my preface. I was using your comment purely to open up a general question.
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:02 am

Villa fans are nothing when it comes to being unrealistic compared to Wolves fans, a lot of them genuinely seem to think that they're already better than most teams in the Premier league, and that they'll be challenging for Champions league, because 'Fosun are worth £50B and won't settle for failure', I've even seen a few of them who think they'll sign C.Ronaldo in the summer, and that's just a small sample, if they struggle in the Premier league next season, I'm not sure how their fans are going to cope.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by FoxyAV on Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:44 am

Well, Wolves are probably better than the teams in the lower half of the Premier League! Sadly I don't think we are, we're half a season behind them and still making changes. We could still catch them up and take some momentum and confidence into the PL. It's optimistic to think we could end up in the top half at the end of the first season if we did get promoted but then Burnley, Watford and Bournemouth are all looking ok two or three seasons in. What we really don't want to do is become a Southampton.

I am still retaining some pessimism (and don't want to think automatic promotion is already ours - I think that would be disrespectful to both Cardiff and Derby and to the slowly catching up Fulham) but have been thinking all season we have the players capable of winning matches and promotion.

Still think Bruce needs all the help the club can throw at him!
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:04 am

Talking of Recon and their ambition for when we become a Premier league club, I see one of the moderators on Villatalk has said that he's heard from a 'reliable source' that Xia is 'all fart and no shit' and that 'he's not as rich as we first thought', you can almost guarantee that this 'reliable source' is TrentVilla, but these ideas seem to be based on the idea that Xia has said we'd be doing this and that in five years time, and spending mega money to do it, but actually he didn't really say either, he's said from the start that we won't be spending mega money to achieve our ambitions, and the becoming one of the top clubs in Europe thing was just a throwaway comment in an interview, I think the interviewer asked him if that was the aim, and he just said something 'yes why not', it wasn't really meant as a statement of intent as such.

Also Chinese legislation making it hard to move money from that country, and the inflation of transfer fees was also mentioned as a barrier, but we already know about those things will have an impact anyway, as Wyness himself has said. I think the truth is somewhere in between, we won't spend mega money, but we won't exactly be paupers either.

It seems that no matter what Xia does there will be a number of fans who think he's a fraud, which is a shame, I can't see that he's done much wrong, in fact it's not unreasonable to imagine that without him, we'd be a lot worse off.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:39 am

@FoxyAV wrote:Well, Wolves are probably better than the teams in the lower half of the Premier League! Sadly I don't think we are, we're half a season behind them and still making changes. We could still catch them up and take some momentum and confidence into the PL. It's optimistic to think we could end up in the top half at the end of the first season if we did get promoted but then Burnley, Watford and Bournemouth are all looking ok two or three seasons in. What we really don't want to do is become a Southampton.

I am still retaining some pessimism (and don't want to think automatic promotion is already ours - I think that would be disrespectful to both Cardiff and Derby and to the slowly catching up Fulham) but have been thinking all season we have the players capable of winning matches and promotion.

Still think Bruce needs all the help the club can throw at him!

To be honest if it wasn't for injuries I think we'd be a lot closer to Wolves, they've had tremdous luck in keeping their best players fit, and playing a number of games against ten men, and whilst at times they play fantastic football they've also had a lot of games where they've simply grinded out wins, nothing wrong with that at all, but there seems to be this notion that they're some sort of Barcelona-esque side, and get all their wins playing as such.

And they might well be better than the sides in the lower half, but their fans seem to think that they're better than most teams in the top half, I've even seen some suggest that they can overtake Liverpool and Arsenal within a couple of seasons.

As for us, I certainly don't think that we're already promoted, still just under a third of the season to go yet and we're only top by virtue of the fact that we've just uncharacteristically won seven on the bounce, unfortunately that kind of form can't go on forever, so things are going to level out at some point, just got to hope that it's still enough though; but if we do go up, in our first season I think we should be aiming for mid-table, but would be reasonably happy with survival, as long as it's done with signs that we can make progress,

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by DelboyVilla on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:04 pm

Firstly condolences to the Bruce family for their loss and I hope your mother is on the mend.

At last we have seen a bit of consistency in selection and less hoof ball on the pitch! Players like Jack, Snoddy Hogan and Uncle Albert have stepped up a notch and JT has been a rock at the back. We should have been doing this last season but it seems that Bruce has taken over a year to get to where we should have been. Obviously now we need to keep key players injury free and try to not squeeze Whelan and Jedinak back in for no reason!

If we get up and have to plan for life in the Premier League how much money we spend will depend on FFP not how much money Tony has in the bank? All teams now run like this? The like of Bournemouth and Burnley don't have mega rich owners as far as I now but are spending 20m on players based on TV money and player sales? The top 6 are fairly untouchable because of the silly amount of money they generate and the players they can buy?

Even saying that you see teams like Chelsea selling Matic and bringing in a younger (cheaper) replacement? City & Chelsea selling fringe players? Arsenal losing Sanchez and having to pay Ozil silly wages?

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:09 pm

anyone remember saying Brucie was full of shit for saying this"But Bruce wanted to make the 22-year-old the focal point of his side right at the very start of the season.

When Grealish sustained an injury, that would sideline him for three months, in the final warm-up game of the season, Bruce said:

“It’s a big blow because I wanted to build my team around him,”

anyone whos watched us since grealish came back still thinks bruce is full of shit? apart from floppe?

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by Dazzle on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:21 pm

jimbop wrote:anyone remember saying Brucie was full of shit for saying this"But Bruce wanted to make the 22-year-old the focal point of his side right at the very start of the season.

When Grealish sustained an injury, that would sideline him for three months, in the final warm-up game of the season, Bruce said:

“It’s a big blow because I wanted to build my team around him,”

anyone whos watched us since grealish came back still thinks bruce is full of shit? apart from floppe?

I may be alone in saying this, but I find you incredibly prepubescent.
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by Villa_Dan on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:26 pm

jimbop wrote:anyone remember saying Brucie was full of shit for saying this"But Bruce wanted to make the 22-year-old the focal point of his side right at the very start of the season.

When Grealish sustained an injury, that would sideline him for three months, in the final warm-up game of the season, Bruce said:

“It’s a big blow because I wanted to build my team around him,”

anyone whos watched us since grealish came back still thinks bruce is full of shit? apart from floppe?

Grow the fuck up
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:32 pm

@Dazzle wrote:
jimbop wrote:anyone remember saying Brucie was full of shit for saying this"But Bruce wanted to make the 22-year-old the focal point of his side right at the very start of the season.

When Grealish sustained an injury, that would sideline him for three months, in the final warm-up game of the season, Bruce said:

“It’s a big blow because I wanted to build my team around him,”

anyone whos watched us since grealish came back still thinks bruce is full of shit? apart from floppe?

I may be alone in saying this, but I find you incredibly prepubescent.

just a question that's all, wanted to see who said it and to see if it was a REAL post or just to provoke.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:34 pm

@Villa_Dan wrote:
jimbop wrote:anyone remember saying Brucie was full of shit for saying this"But Bruce wanted to make the 22-year-old the focal point of his side right at the very start of the season.

When Grealish sustained an injury, that would sideline him for three months, in the final warm-up game of the season, Bruce said:

“It’s a big blow because I wanted to build my team around him,”

anyone whos watched us since grealish came back still thinks bruce is full of shit? apart from floppe?

Grow the fuck up

point proved

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by Dazzle on Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:07 pm

Oh contraire
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:53 pm

If you've got owners with money they can spend it on things like the youth set-up, stadium development and other infrastructural expansions like buying up satellite clubs, which can all help bring in more money, and so help with FFP in the long run.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by smetro on Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:44 am

@deadbuzzardalive wrote:If you've got owners with money they can spend it on things like the youth set-up, stadium development and other infrastructural expansions like buying up satellite clubs, which can all help bring in more money, and so help with FFP in the long run.

We haven't done any of those thing though ? - ok maybe you could say youth set up, but that really hasn't cost very much money
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:29 pm

@smetro wrote:
@deadbuzzardalive wrote:If you've got owners with money they can spend it on things like the youth set-up, stadium development and other infrastructural expansions like buying up satellite clubs, which can all help bring in more money, and so help with FFP in the long run.

We haven't done any of those thing though ?  - ok maybe you could say youth set up, but that really hasn't cost very much money

It wasn't really in reference to our owners, just a reply to the idea that it doesn't really matter how rich your owners are, because of FFP, and everyone just using the TV money.

But to be fair, plans for the redevelopment of Villa Park are obviously in place, and talks have already begun with Birmingham Council, I'm pretty sure Wyness, Luke Organ and Xia himself aren't lying about that, and I think some Councillors have even tweeted about it themselves. As for buying other clubs, that's something that was obviously not going to happen straight away, as we needed to get our own house in order first, and it still might not happen, but we're currently in talks to buy a majority share in Lyngby BK, according to the guy who just saved them, he's even said that we're also in talks with Lyngby Council about upgrading their stadium, Wyness himself has said that we're looking at their finaces; if that goes ahead then that would count as spending money on the academy as one of the intentions will be to send our youngsters on loan there.

Of course none of it has happened yet, but it was never really going to, this early in Recon's ownership, the redevelopment of Villa Park probably couldn't have even begun this early even if the club wanted it to, but I think there's enough evidence to suggest that there's a genuine intention there, and once we reach the Premier league we'll start hearing more and seeing concrete actions taking place.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by deadbuzzardalive on Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:06 pm

Also the current accounts apparently show that Recon have put tens of millions of pounds of capital into the club and its subsidiaries, that doesn't have to be paid back, and have bought some land. Which whilst might not be mega money, it does show that they at least have some and dispels the rumours - mainly emanating from James Nursey, that the club have been borrowing money from the banks.


Anyway on topic, nice to see Bruce back talking to the media, hopefully another win for us and him tomorrow.

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by smetro on Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:37 pm

How is it obvious plans for development of the stadium are in place ?

Sure Xia apparently made a presentation about his ideas for the stadium to his internal management team - But I am not aware of going any further than that ? - To me his position on the stadium isn't far of Lerners 'We will develop the staduim when we can fill it'

Has an architect drawn up plans for the redevelopment of the stadium ? Have the plans be submitted for planning permission ? - I don't know for sure but I would reckon its no on both counts, especially the 2nd.

I have no axe to grind with Xia - but lets not build him up into something he isn't. - According to Bruce there is no money for a contract extension for Hutton - so there certainly isn't a couple of hundred million for staduim redevelopment (Which aren't counted for FFP before thats quoted!!!)
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by DelboyVilla on Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:54 am

To continue to spend money on the stadium and infrastructure whilst in the Championship is pure madness as the money is not there to recoup? Let's see how things go if Potato Head doesn't fuck up our promotion? The Premier League gives you a chance of generating additional income by investing but without that I say stick where we are spending wise?

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by smetro on Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:20 am

@DelboyVilla wrote:To continue to spend money on the stadium and infrastructure whilst in the Championship is pure madness as the money is not there to recoup? Let's see how things go if Potato Head doesn't fuck up our promotion? The Premier League gives you a chance of generating additional income by investing but without that I say stick where we are spending wise?

Agreed. The point I was responding to was that 'plans for staduim development are obviously in place' - IMO nothing is imminent on that front.
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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by DelboyVilla on Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:02 pm

@smetro wrote:
@DelboyVilla wrote:To continue to spend money on the stadium and infrastructure whilst in the Championship is pure madness as the money is not there to recoup? Let's see how things go if Potato Head doesn't fuck up our promotion? The Premier League gives you a chance of generating additional income by investing but without that I say stick where we are spending wise?

Agreed. The point I was responding to was that 'plans for staduim development are obviously in place' - IMO nothing is imminent on that front.

I agree too because plans have been in place before under Randy and nothing happened? I think we actually had the General talking about it in one of his many PR stunts?

We have just lost to one of our main rivals for promotion so we need to re-group, be positive with the team selection, stop the defensive mentality and win against Preston! Every point is vital as we have seen this weekend!

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Re: The Steve Bruce thread

Post by achilles on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:53 am

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/steve-bruce-ive-lost-dad-mams-fighting-for-her-life-i-feel-powerless-0770hk6p3

From The Times (link above)

Steve Bruce: I’ve lost Dad. Mam’s fighting for her life. I feel powerless

Steve Bruce’s arms are aloft. Aston Villa have just scored and as their manager turns towards the camera, he is living in the now, fuelled by adrenaline, his smile joyous, fists pumping. Then his chin collapses to his chest and as he claps his hands, it hits him again, the weight of mourning, those hours on the motorway, “the horrible pain in the stomach that grief gives you”. His face is creasing. Tears are coming.

When he thinks back to those few seconds this month, in the midst of Villa’s 2-0 victory over Birmingham City, his former club, Bruce struggles to peer through the mist. Joe, his father, had died that week. “I don’t know what I was doing or what happened,” he says.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have celebrated, but I was lost in the moment. All the emotion was bubbling out.”

The feeling was too raw, but Bruce needed to be there. “Even though I’d lost my dad, I had to be at that game,” he says. “He would have wanted me there. He would have said, ‘Just do your job, son. No fuss.’ That was him, exactly what he was like, the type who quietly got on with things.” So Bruce did the same, or tried to, a football man to his core, doing his suffering in public.

There is no disguising it; Bruce is reeling. In the days before his father’s passing, Sheenagh, his mother — who had been caring for Joe — was taken to hospital in Newcastle with a serious illness. She is still there. “It’s heartbreaking,” Bruce says, “and it’s been the cruellest three weeks. My mam was so independent and fit. She’d get the Metro into town, go shopping, or out to Whitley Bay.”

Bruce’s existence has shifted, mentally and physically. Three days a week, from his home in Cheshire, he drives to Tyneside to visit Sheenagh. It is draining. “The problem is that Newcastle is not on my doorstep, but if that’s what it is, then that’s what it’ll be,” he says. “It takes seven or eight hours [round trip], but so what? It’s what anybody would do. And when I think about the sacrifices my parents made . . .

“Do you know something? We’re all guilty of it, especially in this business: we think we’re invincible. You go through life thinking, ‘It’ll never happen to me’. But something like this can happen to anyone. You get to a certain age and you have to evaluate things and I know I’m not invincible. I’ve lost my dad and my mam’s fighting for her life and there’s nothing I can do. I’m powerless.”

He found out about Sheenagh before Villa’s match away to Sheffield United on January 30. “Because of the severity of what happened to her, I was in a place where I couldn’t concentrate on anything,” he says. “That was the worst night. It took all of my experience just to be involved. That’s where you need a staff, the support of your family and friends. Villa have been very understanding.”

Decades of old threads have been unpicked. “I always spoke to my dad before games,” Bruce says. “I’d ring him on a Friday and he’d ask, ‘Who have you got tomorrow?’ I’d tell him and we’d have a chat. He wasn’t one of those dads who followed my every move. My mam was the real driving force when I was a kid. She took me on the bus everywhere, you know. My dad had to work to make ends meet.

“He was the quiet one. Real northeast. If you got a, ‘Well done,’ you’d be happy. Mam would have shouted from the rooftops, but it was that steely thing with him. In the end, it was over a Glenmorangie or a pint and he’d say, ‘Yeah, you’ve done OK, son.’ And I’d reply, ‘That’s kind of you, Dad, thank you.’ He never wanted the limelight, never wanted to be seen as a footballer’s dad. He never played that card once.

“He would come and watch me play for Manchester United every couple of months when the big games were on, for cup finals, but I suppose one of his biggest strengths was being able to say, ‘Go out and enjoy your life — you don’t want me hanging on your coat-tails.’ He wasn’t that sort of man. And I think it’s fair to say he didn’t enjoy me being a manager one little bit.

“Towards the end, he was asking me, ‘Have you not had enough yet?’ He still had that protective side. It was his way of saying, ‘What are you doing, Steve? Are you mad?’ We all ask that question of ourselves sometimes. The job has so many highs, but it can be so isolated too. I’d tell my dad, ‘If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be involved, I promise.’ ”

Bruce grew up in a family of Newcastle United supporters. Joe took Steve to his first match at St James’ Park in 1969. “He worked at the Parsons factory [the northeast engineering firm], on the same machine for more than 30 years until he retired at 62,” Bruce says. “He was like a lot of working-class fathers. Went to work, enjoyed a few beers at the club at the weekend. He was satisfied with that.”

When Bruce became Sunderland manager in 2009, Joe wrestled with it, pleased to have his son home, pained by him straddling the Tyne-Wear rivalry and what it might entail. “He only came to one Sunderland game and that was my first one at home, when we lost to Chelsea,” Bruce says. “Afterwards, he said, ‘I can’t deal with that, Steve.’ He never felt that football was the be all and end all, and he didn’t like the prospect of his son being slated. I’d be the same with Alex, my son.

“My mam was different. I got her a box at Sunderland and she came for every game with a couple of pals and enjoyed it, until that horrible day against Wigan, when she turned around and said to me, ‘Son, I don’t think I’m going to bother coming next week.’ And I said, ‘Mam, I don’t think I’ll be here next week!’ We were both right. Neither of us went back. But maybe Sunderland people look back now and think, ‘The old bugger didn’t do such a bad job.’ I hope so.”

Bruce led Sunderland to tenth, their highest finish during their decade in the Premier League. He secured two promotions with Birmingham and did the same at Hull City (coupled with an FA Cup final and European football), leaving them when they returned to the top division in 2016, concerned at the club’s direction. When he took the Villa role that October, becoming their fourth manager in a year, the club were 19th in the Sky Bet Championship. They are now third.

In a strange, poignant way, Bruce’s “worst” night was also the best. Villa were victorious against Sheffield United, scoring a late winner through Robert Snodgrass. “Everyone is euphoric when you get a last-minute goal, but there was a connection between the supporters and the team,” he says. “They associate with them again. That was the first time I really felt that.”

As with many of his colleagues, the game has always been “a drug” for Bruce, 57, but now it is a “release” too. “It helps,” he says. A situation such as his would always be distressing, but it has come just as he brought an untethered club under control, his team beaten just once in nine league games. He has laboured under a tight budget that will become tighter if Villa are not promoted, but he has restored order.

“We’ve done OK,” he says. “We can’t get carried away. We’ve given ourselves an outstanding chance, which was the remit at the start, but there are two clubs in Sunderland and Hull, both of whom I’ve managed, newly relegated from the Premier League and in danger of dropping down again. That was my fear here and it was a real fear. We’d overspent. There was an horrendous wage bill.

“I’d walked away from a Premier League job, but once Villa knocked on my door, it was a no-brainer: great name, great club, great stadium, great fanbase. It’s a huge privilege to be here but a big challenge. The most important thing was to get stabilised. After a horrible few years, the whole club was just so used to getting beat. There was an acceptance of it.”

Bruce has made a profit in his transfer dealings, but in the summer brought in John Terry on a free transfer and Glenn Whelan for £1 million from Stoke City.

“Somebody like Jack Grealish will look at John at 37 and think ‘Wow, is that what I’ve got to do to get to the top?’ ” Bruce says. “OK, we haven’t got a lot of money, but I needed leaders, that influence in the dressing room, really good old pros.”

Then came a wobble; after finishing 13th in May, Villa took seven points from as many matches at the start of this season. “It was tough,” Bruce says, “and there was an element saying, ‘Off with his head.’ Thankfully, there was common sense above me. Ultimately there’s only one club that changes managers all the time and has success and that’s Chelsea. And they’re on a different level to every bugger else.”

Villa are starting to feel like Villa again. “Slowly but surely, we’ve turned it around,” Bruce says. “We haven’t achieved anything, but at least we’ve changed the culture.

“We’ve seen it with other big clubs, just because you’re Aston Villa it doesn’t mean anything. If you don’t do things right, if you don’t invest right, you come unstuck.”

It can be a fickle, fragile game, but it is a delicate world, too. More than most, Bruce understands that.

Going up would be a “fitting” way to honour his dad, to please his mother, although Joe would recoil from it.

“He’d say, ‘Howay son, that’s a bit much,’ ” Bruce says. “But he’d want me to be successful. So I’ll do the best I can. Of course, I could do without this — oh McGrath , how I wish to be without it — but I’ll face it head on.”

It is Bruce’s way; resilient, determined, optimistic, a good manager and a decent man, whether he is ploughing up the A1 or fidgeting in the dugout. He will carry on.

“There are times when we all have to suffer grief, but obviously my job is public, so everybody knows,” he says.

“That horrible pain in the stomach that grief gives you is there. It’s always there. But my mam and dad would want me to get on with it. There’s no alternative, is there?”
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