Championship strugglers Aston Villa have named ex-Birmingham City player and coach Steve Bruce as their new manager just over a week after Roberto Di Matteo was given the elbow at Villa Park.
The 55-year-old Bruce left Hull City in the summer after taking them back to the Premier League. Indeed, the former Manchester United defender has returned four sides to the top-flight in his managerial career, more than anyone else.
Bruce was in the frame for the England job, only to be beaten to the post by one-game wonder Sam Allardyce and will be eager to make his mark with the Villans, who ignored his past with bitter rivals Birmingham.
Author of a trilogy of ropey novels, Bruce faces a massive task with the Blues’ rivals, who currently lie 19th in the Championship, just two points above the drop-zone. However, the Corbridge-born coach has a wealth of experience under his belt, having managed the likes of Sheffield United, Wigan and Sunderland.
Speaking about his new job, Bruce said:
It is one of the big clubs of this country. To be given the opportunity to manage it is terrific.
I relish the challenge of trying to take the club where it wants to go and needs to be – and try to turn around the misfortune we seem to have had over the past few years.
Bruce will be the sixth different manager to oversee a Villa game in the past 12 months and faces a tricky first fixture, against local rivals Wolves.
However, a proven coach and a likable one at that, he may well be the one to kickstart one of the great clubs of English football.