Aston Villa hire Bruce in bid to return to Premier League
Aston Villa have named former Hull City and Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce as their new manager.
Former Manchester United captain Bruce, 55, who left Hull in July, succeeds Roberto di Matteo, who was sacked on 3 October, at Villa Park.
Bruce, who has lived in the Midlands since first joining Birmingham as a player in 1996, takes over with Villa 19th in the Championship table.
His first game in charge is at home to local rivals Wolves on Saturday.
Bruce will become the sixth man to pick the Villa team inside the last 12 months.
He then has matches against Reading and Fulham before returning to St Andrew’s for the Blues-Villa derby on Sunday, 30 October in only his second away match.
“It is one of the big clubs of this country,” said Bruce. “To be given the opportunity to manage it is terrific.
“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.”
Villa will begin life under Bruce 10 points behind Birmingham, the team occupying the last of the four play-off places in sixth.
Bruce’s managerial record
Northumberland-born Bruce is into his 19th season in management, in which he has taken charge of 784 matches with eight clubs, winning promotion in each of his last four seasons at this level.
That followed a 20-year playing career at Gillingham, Norwich City, Manchester United and Birmingham before finishing as player-manager at Sheffield United.
After his first season in management at Bramall Lane, he spent 17 months with Huddersfield, and had short spells in charge of Wigan and Crystal Palace before becoming Birmingham manager in December 2001.
Taking over a Blues side in 10th position, he led them up via the play-offs that season to reach the Premier League for the first time. And, although relegated in their fourth season, he took them straight back up in 2007.
He returned to Wigan after leaving St Andrew’s in November 2007, then had two and a half years at Sunderland, before joining Hull in 2012.
Bruce, who led Hull to the FA Cup final in 2014, twice won promotion with the Tigers to the Premier League, the second time via the Championship play-offs in May - his fourth promotion to English football’s top flight.
He was interviewed for the England job before the appointment of Sam Allardyce in July.
Villa’s managerial merrygo-round
Tim Sherwood: February to October 2015
Kevin MacDonald (caretaker): October to November 2015
Remi Garde: November 2015 to March 2016
Eric Black (caretaker): March to June 2016
Roberto di Matteo: June to October 2016
Villa turned to former Champions League winner Di Matteo after being relegated from the Premier League last season.
However, the ex-West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea boss was sacked after 124 days in charge following a run of one win in 11 Championship matches.
Steve Clarke, who served as Di Matteo’s assistant and as caretaker following his sacking, was on the club’s list of candidates for the role.
“Villa caretaker boss Clarke was highly rated by the recruitment team of Keith Wyness, Villa’s chief executive, former Villa manager Brian Little and technical director Steve Round.
“But Round has known Bruce for a long time, admired him for a long time and has always wanted to work with him.
“He has massive experience four promotions from the Championship to the Premier League. A safe pair of hands. Also, he has that personality, that affability.
“He is just the man they need at the moment compared with the aloof Di Matteo. I suspect Bruce will be bringing his own people in as well.
“And how interesting it is going to be on 30 October when Bruce takes Villa to his former side Birmingham City?”