STEVE Bruce has said his time at Wearside is water under the bridge as far as he’s concerned – but the ex-Black Cats boss admits he would love to put one on his old club this weekend.
Hull City host Sunderland at the KC Stadium today – the first time Bruce has come up against his former employers since being sacked by an Ellis Short phone call in November, 2011.
The Tigers’ boss Bruce still has painful memories of how it all went wrong at Wearside before his sacking and still wonders whether ultimately his Geordie roots counted against him.
Reflecting on the uncertainty surrounding football management, he said: “When you get the sack in football it has just become the norm.
“Everybody thinks ‘ah well, they get the sack, they get back on the roundabout and away they go’.
“But I left a realLy good job to go to Sunderland.
“ I had a wonderful job at Wigan, where I had a really good team and a fantastic chairman.
“When I went to Sunderland under Niall Quinn, he never had any doubts the Geordie thing would come back at me but, then again, Naill never looks at the other side of things, he’s always positive.
“Looking back, it was probably a mistake because, in some people’s eyes there, I could never win.
“As soon as it became a little bit fractious, of course, that came out.
“I don’t think I’m still hurting but I’m bitterly disappointed with the way it finished – I’d worked a long, long time to get to a big club like Sunderland.”
The 52-year-old though believes he has emerged from his Sunderland sacking as a stronger person.
“It made me more determined, after I’d had a break,” he said. “I hadn’t had a break from football for years and years and maybe it did me a bit of good.
“You reflect on what went wrong and ask yourself questions.
“When you get the sack, you feel like a failure and you’re not good enough.
“That’s what rankles with you and I was always desperate to come back out and shut a few people up.
“How was I sacked?
“A phone call from Ellis, the owner. A phone call. Face-to-face. It doesn’t matter, you’re still getting the sack.
“It’s better than a text I suppose!
“If you’ve got anything about you, if you get the sack, it’s not a good place to be.
“I think the fact of being a manager again helped me get over it.
“Thankfully, Hull gave me the opportunity.