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Bruce would have loved the Newcastle job


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Bruce would have loved the Newcastle job - but he couldn't 'betray Blues players and supporters'

By Ian Clarkson 05-01-07


If Steve Bruce had chosen a different path then he could conceivably be in the hot seat at his beloved Newcastle rather than Birmingham City tomorrow. The FA Cup draw has paired Bruce's Birmingham – currently top of the Championship – with Glenn Roeder's injury-ravaged Magpies with all the ingredients of an upset in store.



Bruce was born 16 miles west of Newcastle, spent his formative years at St James' Park in the Sixties watching Newcastle play, and retains great affection for the club. He nearly joined Newcastle as manager in August 2004 but he wrestled with his conscience and decided to stay at St Andrew's in what he calls 'the ultimate sacrifice'.


When Birmingham were relegated last season and he was hanging on to his job by a thread he may have wondered why he chose that option. However, a summer revamp and a raft of goals courtesy of Gary McSheffrey and Nicklas Bendtner mean Birmingham are riding high and Bruce's stock has risen once more.

But there is no doubt that he was in turmoil when Newcastle came calling. "I am a Geordie," he says. "My wife is a Geordie. My family are Geordies. When I was a kid, I would crawl under the turnstiles at Newcastle to save a bob or two. They were my team.


"I am sure you can imagine how much of a lure the Newcastle job was for me but I felt loyalty for those who employed me, those who had backed me, so I decided to stay with Birmingham City. It was one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make but I knew I couldn't just walk away and betray the Birmingham players and supporters. Also, I had just brought in four or five players, so there was work to be done with Birmingham."

Bruce has no regrets about his decision as he is only 46 and has at least ten or 12 years left at the top. The Newcastle job may come again but for now, however, Bruce is thinking of Newcastle only in terms of the FA Cup tie at St Andrew's on Saturday. Bruce will want no repetition of last season's FA Cup debacle.


They reached the last eight only to suffer a demoralising 7-0 defeat to Liverpool that compounded their relegation. Bruce will be confident of springing an upset against a Newcastle side shorn of many stars. However, it could be that a former Villa star – Birmingham's bitter rivals – puts the knife into Bruce.

James Milner, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Thursday, was on loan at Villa Park last season and played an integral role in their 3-1 defeat of Blues in April that ultimately condemned them to the drop. Roeder is keen to keep Milner at St James' Park and believes there is more to come from the young midfielder.


"He is such a hard-working lad, one of the best pros I have worked with," said Roeder. "I have never known James Milner to finish the morning' training without doing extra. I have seen James many times in training score goals like he did on Monday.

"After the hard work he has put in on the training ground, he deserved that goal (against Manchester United on New Year's Day). Five, six seven goals a season - he scored his first on Monday, there are still enough games to do that.


"He has got the potential to do that, and it would be nice to have players in other positions chipping in with important goals rather than just relying on the strikers."

Nicky Butt missed out against his former club with an ankle injury and, with skipper Scott Parker suspended after reaching five bookings for the season and Emre battling a groin problem, Roeder's options will be further reduce



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Wild night on the forum today :happy:


Hehe funny.


Thanks  :(


You could have tried to get around that with the time difference factor (even if there isnt one most wouldnt have known) and claimed it was still day where you were but night over here.


Or maybe not  bluebiggrin.gif

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