Tony Gillan: If former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce doesn’t last at Aston Villa he can always claim to have been sacked because he used to manage Birmingham City

Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce

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Small-minded and misanthropic types such as myself can always feel better by looking at someone even more unfortunate.

Going down to casualty to laugh at people is for some reason frowned upon (political correctness gone mad). So we shall settle for a shufti at Aston Villa.

I bear Villa no ill will, but it’s difficult to say much that would lend hope to their supporters.

It will take more than the possibility of playing Sunderland again next season to have them curvetting with joy.

They remain heavily in debt. Not as much as SAFC, but Villa won’t be trousering the minimum £99m that all Premier League clubs will receive this season, following their relegation with nobs on in May.

There has been scant sign of revival; they lie fifth bottom of the Championship. So they have sent for Steve Bruce to rescue them.

He looks fitter and younger following a diet and a splodge from Just For Men’s hint-of-custard range on his bonce.

But even this wasn’t enough to prevent more of the same from his new charges in his first game at home to Wolves.

Villa scraped a draw, with the visitors desperately unlucky not to win.

Not encouraging, but Brucie is already in his stride, getting his excuses in early and blaming others. It seems that his squad isn’t fit enough and his predecessor, Roberto Di Matteo, copped it.

He said after the game: “I wouldn’t like to say anything against another manager,” at which point we knew he was about to say something against another manager and begin his next sentence with “but.”

“But it’s fair to say that some of them (his players) could be in better condition.”

Over the past decade Bruce has been statistically a good manager, even if he did lose his grasp towards the end of his time at Sunderland.

I expect him to improve Villa, although I am slightly surprised that he took the job.

Surely a vacancy at a less combustible club would have been available before long. Bruce is Villa’s fifth manager in 20 months.

Still, if he doesn’t last long he can always claim to have been sacked because he used to manage Birmingham City.