'Geordie roots' prove no problem for Bruce

Sunderland's new man determined to become a 'local hero' on Wearside

Steve Bruce was formally introduced as the new manager of Sunderland last night and immediately dealt head on with "The Geordie Thing", the sizeable, if parochial, issue of his Newcastle roots and his well-known support for the team 12 miles from the Stadium of Light.

"I know what I was born and bred, and it would be wrong of me to say anything different," Bruce said. "But I'm here and I'm proud to be Sunderland manager."

There were other similar comments but that encapsulated Bruce's view and promisingly for the 48-year-old, there has been a largely positive reaction on Wearside to his appointment. Bruce said that anecdotally he had received the same over the past 24 hours. As he posed for photographs beside the statue of Bob Stokoe outside the stadium, a passer-by came up, wished him well and complained about "my dog's bloody arthritis". Bruce took that as a vote of confidence.

The reason Bruce was posing there was that Stokoe was a Geordie who played for Newcastle but who went on to become Sunderland's most celebrated post-war manager. "He became a local hero, let's hope he rubs off," Bruce said. Bruce cut short his holiday in Portugal to meet chairman Niall Quinn on Monday night and after further talks on Tuesday, a three-year contract was signed yesterday. He was away with his father and mother and he said his Newcastle-supporting father Joe's advice was: "Fill your boots, son."

That was the tone last night and it says something of Bruce's enthusiasm that he has already said he hopes that his stay on Wearside will be a long one. "After two years I hope Niall's knocking down the door to offer me an extension," he said. "This is what I always wanted, a big club, a big challenge, a club with huge ambition. All the bits are here, the training ground, the stadium, we have some good players here, I am so pleased to have been the No 1 target. What we need is a team to represent us, take us forward and I accept a poor pass or a loss of form but I always demand hard graft."

That was music to Quinn's ears. Along with Sunderland's fans the chairman has had to watch an expensive squad survive relegation by the skin of their teeth. "We have been brittle at times, what we want is a Sunderland team that is determined, tough, that represents the Steve Bruce philosophy," Quinn said.

Bruce now has owner Ellis Short's millions to use in the market and he said he will be able to "target players I've never been able to before." He thanked the Wigan owner Dave Whelan but there are likely to be approaches made to his former club for the likes of Lee Cattermole.

That hard-graft philosophy meant that Bruce recovered from being rejected by Sunderland in 1976. "I was devastated. I thought I was off to be a plumber in the shipyard. They're not there any more, so I'd be out of a job now."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss