Bruce 'utterly disgusted' over delay to Wigan move

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The Independent Online

Steve Bruce delivered a parting shot at the Birmingham board after becoming Wigan's new manager.

He rebuked the directors after details of his contract and image rights came into the public domain.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan paid £3million compensation for his services.

Bruce also repaid an unspecified sum to secure his release following a six-year spell at the club.

He said: "I deserved more respect from Birmingham and this business has left a bad taste in my mouth.

"Yes, I have paid money back to the club but surely this is a private matter.

"To find my contract details and matters dealing with my image rights plastered all over the newspapers was very upsetting.

"The way things finished was totally and utterly disappointing."

Bruce, 46, only signed a new deal six months ago and expected to be at St Andrews for the foreseeable future.

However, the proposed takeover by Carson Yeung has led to a period of instability at the club.

Bruce said: "I thought I was going to be at Birmingham for the long haul.

"That's why I signed the contract last May and committed myself to the club.

"Then the prospective takeover left me in a vulnerable position to say the least.

"The uncertainty surrounding a club is going to affect the manager and it did affect me."

Bruce admits he was taken in by Whelan's ambition to drive the club out of the relegation zone.

He took training for the first time today after watching the 2-0 defeat by Arsenal at the weekend from the stands.

It was Wigan's eighth successive defeat and Bruce now has the responsibility of turning the team's season around after succeeding Chris Hutchings.

Bruce said: "When Dave Whelan pounced and the board gave me permission to speak to him, he made it clear how much he wants the club to remain in the Premier League.

"The chairman's message was quite refreshing. Mind you he has probably paid a world record fee for a manager! He has huge confidence in me. Hopefully I can repay him by keeping Wigan in the top flight."

Bruce wants his right hand man at Birmingham, Eric Black, to join him in the north west. However that proposed move could be protracted as Black has been named caretaker manager at St Andrews. He took charge of the team for the first time in the defeat by Portsmouth at the weekend.

Bruce said: "I hope Eric will join me but he is now running the show at Birmingham.

"He has been put in charge for a couple of weeks at least, so we will have to see what happens."

Wigan caretaker-manager Frank Barlow will remain on the backroom staff but coach Mark Seagraves has been granted his wish to leave the club.

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