FORMER Sunderland striker Keith Bertschin has spent the past 18 months developing the youngsters in the club’s second string after following Steve Bruce to the Stadium of Light.
The Echo’s Chris Young spoke to Bertschin about the changing face of reserve team football and his relationship with ex-Norwich City team-mate Bruce.
WHEN Steve Bruce made the leap from bottom to top tier, he found a willing ally in the Norwich City dressing room.
Keith Bertschin was four years Bruce’s senior, yet provided some worldly nous for the Corbridge-born centre-half as he adapted to the physical demands of life in the First Division at Carrow Road after coming through the ranks at Gillingham.
The pair were room-mates for just four months with the Canaries.
But they remained friends throughout Bruce’s rise to prominence at Old Trafford and their prior association saw them become working allies again more than 15 years after they first crossed paths.
Bertschin had just finished his non-league career at the ripe age of 41 and was coming to terms with earning a crust away from playing professionally.
Then newly-crowned Birmingham City boss Bruce asked the former Brum striker whether he fancied a shot at coaching at St Andrew’s.
Bertschin has been part of Bruce’s backroom team ever since – following his managerial trail to Wigan and for the past 18 months Sunderland.
* Read Chris’s interview with Keith Bertschin in full in today’s Echo.