As­ton Villa hand Bruce task of restor­ing former glo­ries

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports -

As­ton Villa have handed much-trav­elled man­ager Steve Bruce the task of lead­ing the former Euro­pean cham­pi­ons back into the Pre­mier League.

Bruce, former man­ager of Villa’s arch-ri­vals Birm­ing­ham City, re­placed Ital­ian Roberto Di Mat­teo, who was sacked af­ter 124 days in charge with the club 19th in the Cham­pi­onship stand­ings fol­low­ing their rel­e­ga­tion from the Pre­mier League.

“It’s a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity. It is one of the big clubs of this coun­try. To be given the op­por­tu­nity to man­age it is ter­rific,” the 55-year-old Bruce told the Villa web­site.

“I rel­ish the chal­lenge of try­ing to take the club where it wants to go and needs to be -- and try to turn around the mis­for­tune we seem to have had over the past few years.

Bruce has been with­out a club since he quit as Hull City man­ager in July af­ter lead­ing the team to Pre­mier League pro­mo­tion with a play­off vic­tory over Sh­effield Wed­nes­day. The former Manch­ester United cap­tain, who has man­aged sev­eral English clubs in­clud­ing Wi­gan Ath­letic, Sun­der­land and Sh­effield United, was in­ter­viewed for the Eng­land man­ager’s job be­fore Sam Allardyce was ap­pointed in July. “With his track record, not only at lead­ing teams to pro­mo­tion from the Cham­pi­onship, but also vast ex­pe­ri­ence in the Pre­mier League, I be­lieve we have se­cured the ser­vices of an ex­cel­lent man­ager,” Villa owner Tony Xia said. Villa, seven-times English cham­pi­ons, won the Euro­pean Cup in 1982 and fin­ished run­ners-up to Manch­ester United in the inau­gu­ral Pre­mier League sea­son in 1992-93. Their for­tunes de­clined, how­ever, un­der a suc­ces­sion of dif­fer­ent man­agers and they fin­ished 17 points adrift at the bot­tom of the stand­ings last sea­son to be rel­e­gated from the top flight for the first time since 1987. “In the re­cent trans­fer win­dow we fo­cused on char­ac­ter, per­son­al­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence,” Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Keith Wy­ness said.

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