Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce has opened up about the last year in his life, which he deems the worst, as well as how he's been able to stay in management for so long.
Bruce lost both his parents last year, his job at Aston Villa and was diagnosed with cancer. In an in-depth interview with the Telegraph, he opened up for the first time about “the worst year of my life.”
“When I heard the word ‘cancer’, I was in bits,” he revealed to Telegraph. “I panicked, I think everyone does, it was very scary, horrible. Thankfully, the melanoma does not appear to have spread. They’ll continue to monitor me, I’ve got scars on my face, on my back. Good thing I was never worried about my good looks...”
When the topic turned to his current surroundings, Bruce admitted that his latest venture in Sheffield could be his last: “I began my managerial career in Sheffield and it might come to an end in this city too. If I’m here in four years, things will have gone well. That might be it. In four years, I’ll be 62. I played almost 1,000 games as a player and I’m approaching 1,000 as a manager. That’s pretty impressive.
“Every time I took another job, my dad would ask, ‘Why are you putting yourself through it again, haven’t you got enough money?’ I wish I’d spent more time with them, I think anyone who loses their parents will understand that, but I also know what he would have said. ‘You crack on Steve, get on with it, son’.
“Geordies get up every day, they go to work, they put a shift in. That’s what my dad taught me, but I still have that guilt... I miss them both terribly.”
The 58-year-old also opened about his initial difficulties in management, and his depression after being sacked from Huddersfield in his second ever job: “We’d had a positive 10 months, but it drifted away. We lost to Grimsby and I got the sack. It was then that everything hurt.
"Terry Venables took us sightseeing to the Great Wall of China, the lift was broken so me and @GNev2 had to walk 1000 steps to the top!" @Lionesses manager Phil Neville told us his "firsts" while at the #SheBelievesCup... pic.twitter.com/NZeIddaudJ— 90min (@90min_Football) March 3, 2019
"Management back then was just a substitute for playing. I just wanted to stay in the game. I thought I had something to offer. But after Huddersfield, it hit me hard. I became a recluse; miserable, bitter.
“I’ve seen that happen to so many players. You’re institutionalised and you come to the end and it’s brutal. I’ve had a conversation with Alan Shearer about it. He had the same. Niall Quinn was another one. That six months after losing my job at Huddersfield, I was in a downward spiral. Jan [his wife] was brilliant, a rock.”
And Bruce admitted that it was his subsequent short term gig at Wigan that revived his love for the game: “Working for Dave Whelan at Wigan, he was so positive, so helpful. It ignited something over those seven games. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I almost gave up.
"To have had the career I’ve had since, well, I’m proud of that for more reasons than I’ve admitted before. So, when I took my break after my operations, I knew I’d come back. I just didn’t think it would be this quickly."
Bringing it back to the present, the Sheffield Wednesday tactician, whose side will take on their cross-town rivals on Monday night, declared: “I want to get Wednesday back into the Premier League. I’ve taken this job because I believe I can get them back there. It excites me. I like the owner. It felt right and I know exactly what my dad would have said if I told him that.”