Steve Bruce last night accused Karren Brady, the managing director of Birmingham City during his six years as manager, of "shafting" him over a proposed new contract before he left St Andrew's two years ago and of selling a player against his wishes.
Bruce, who identified the transfer of Matthew Upson to West Ham United as a deal he did not sanction, saw his Sunderland team lose 2-1 on his first return to Birmingham since leaving for Wigan Athletic. He was responding to comments in a newspaper by Brady, who also left the Midlands club this month after Carson Yeung completed his takeover from David Sullivan and David Gold.
Brady, ironically, had described the Sunderland manager as "special, a motivator, liked and respected by everyone and, above all, a good bloke". But Bruce said: "All the patronising stuff from Ms Brady I find very galling. She shafted me over my contract and she was selling players from underneath me. I find all the nicey-nicey stuff [in the press] a bit strange."
In May 2007, after securing promotion to the Premier League, Bruce agreed a new contract with Birmingham but Yeung was reported to be unwilling to ratify the deal.