Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Monday February 16 2009
Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce returns to work today following a short holiday to Dubai and he will be hit by all the speculation linking him with the Newcastle United job, even the Wigan Evening Post has got in on the act (no surprise there then)
With Joe Kinnear looking at a lay off of 8 weeks minimum Newcastle United are currently being run by Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood, not really an ideal situation to have your assistant manager and first team coach in charge of what is effectively a relegation battle
Bruce was offered the Newcastle job back in 2004 and he turned it down, a decision he says he regretted at that time, but times have moved on and Bruce has his sights set a lot higher than the Newcastle job
For a start he is in charge of the Latics and still has three years of his contract left to run and club chairman Dave Whelan paid a huge sum for a manager when he gave Birmingham £3 million compensation but Bruce has proved his worth to the Latics taking the club from relegation certainties to European hopefuls all in the space of 12 months
Bruce has shown at the Latics that he isn`t afraid of reputations and he has made changes in the side and got people to play how he wants them to play, he has also changed the staff around, bringing in 15 players and shipping out 16 and making a tidy profit along the way.
There have been sounds coming out of Old Trafford that Bruce could and I stress could be in line to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson when he decides to call it a day at Manchester United though he would face competition from Jose Mourinho who is many peoples favourite for that job.
The Latics would also demand a hefty fee for Bruce, the £3 million that Whelan paid Birmingham now seems an absolute bargain and surely he is worth at least double that amount, to Birmingham he was worth £60 million because that`s the amount they lost when they were relegated at the end of last season.
When Bruce left Birmingham they were in 14th spot and seemingly heading for mid-table security when Bruce joined Wigan we were 19th with 8 points and heading for the Championship the turn a round at both clubs was amazing, Latics achieving the mid-table security that 14th place brings and Birmingham relegated just one place above Derby County and the worst ever Premier League performance.
Bruce is worth is weight in Premier League gold and he is destined for greater things than Newcastle United, fingers crossed, lets just hope that in the next few weeks I am not left eating my words.
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Date:Monday February 16 2009
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