When Steve Bruce ended his playing career, everyone seem to know that the next logical step for him was to have a career in club management. His no-nonsense and inspirational defender's display was supposed to provide a springboard for him to inspire, motivate, and drive a club forwards as manager.
Even when other former players are finding the transition to club managers difficult, Steve Bruce has proven himself to be a very good Premiership-level manager. Over the past 10 years, Bruce has been a proverbial managerial nomad. Constantly searching for the next big club to satisfy his desire to progress and augment his blossoming managerial resume. In moving, Bruce will feel that he is stepping up the ladder in the dream of finally managing a club capable of winning trophies and satisfying his burning desire to be the best. A desire borne from years of excellence in a Manchester United jersey.
He is a shrewd manager, with a good eye for talent. Wilson Palacios, Amr Zaki, and Antonio Valencia are talented footballers who were unknown but shot to prominence through Bruce's tutelage. Not afraid to reprimand his players, Bruce can also be counted upon to defend his players when the need arises.
Moving to Sunderland means that Bruce has the money (since Sunderland has new owners this season) and the club facilities (training, medical etc) to try and push for a European spot. On the evidence of Sunderland's progress this season, they looked promising. Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones have started the season very well, both sharing the scoring duties even in penalty taking. Bruce has bought well, bringing in ex-Marseille captain Lorik Cana, Michael Turner and Lee Cattermole, all proven players. Sunderland is enjoying their best start to a season and Steve Bruce should take credit for that.
Apart from the dour affair dished up in Birmingham, his teams have all been hard to beat, and they play with wingers displaying an expansive style of football which continue to be the hallmark of the Fergie era.
His inside knowledge of the United dressing room means that he will not be overawed and his overall understanding of the history and heritage of Manchester United makes him the most ideal ex-United player to replace Sir Alex Ferguson when the great man steps down.
From Sheffield United to Sunderland, and perhaps finally Manchester United, Steve Bruce could reach the pinnacle of his career as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor. That will definitely keep the United traditions ticking along nicely. The trophies, too could quite possibly continue to pile up at Old Trafford.
His record this season against the Big Four so far? Two wins, one draw, and one defeat. Bruce was also the first Wigan manager who took points off Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Bobby Chew runs a football blog called The Flat Back Four .
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