'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

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England