Steve Bruce, the captain who spearheaded Sir Alex Ferguson’s renaissance of Manchester United, has displayed similar determination in establishing himself as a Premier League manager. He has managed ten clubs (Wigan twice), five of them on the top flight, and won promotion to the Premier League four times.
Bruce was an instant hit at Birmingham City in particular, winning promotion via the play-offs within five months of his appointment midway through the 2001-02 season. Birmingham then enjoyed respectable Premier League finishes of 13th, 10th and 12th before being relegated in 2005. Bruce then spearheaded an instant comeback to the top flight for the Blues.
His return to Wigan in November, 2007 was instrumental in the Lancashire club surviving in the Premier League.
Then in his first full season with Sunderland, he led The Black Cats to 13th place in the Barclays Premier League and his most notable signing Darren Bent recorded an impressive 24 league goals.
The following campaign, Bent joined Aston Villa for a club record fee but Bruce still went onto guide his team to a top 10 finish in the Barclays Premier League. He later joined Hull for the start of the 2012/13 season. He enjoyed immediate success in the role as he guided the club back to the Barclays Premier League after Hull finished second in the Championship.
In 2013/14, Bruce then led Hull to the FA Cup final for the first time in the club’s history where they narrowly missed out on lifting the trophy to Arsenal in a pulsating final. This ensured European football for the following campaign. Hull also recorded a 16th place finish in the Barclays Premier League.
After leading Hull to promotion via the play-offs in 2016, Bruce left the club ahead of their return to the Premier League and later became manager of Aston Villa in October 2016. A spell at Sheffield Wednesday followed before he took over boyhood club Newcastle in 2019.
As a player, Bruce was synonymous with launching Manchester United into an era of relentless achievement. Beginning with Gillingham and Norwich, the rugged centre half skippered United to their first title for 25 years in 1993. He won seven major trophies at Old Trafford – three championships, two FA Cups, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup. Bruce also claimed the distinction of being the first English player of the 20th century to captain a team to the double when United pulled off the feat in 1994.