Steve Bruce was born in Northumberland and grew up as a Newcastle United fan. Having been rejected by many clubs at youth level, he began an apprenticeship in plumbing, but was offered a trial, and started his footballing career as a youngster at Gillingham, spending his first season in the club’s reserves. He finished their top scorer in spite of playing centre back! He drew the attention of the England ranks and was selected to represent them at youth level. Bruce broke into the first team at Gillingham and won their player of the season award in 1979-80 at a very young age.
Steve spent five years as a regular at Gillingham, and was often linked with moves away from the club, having made his name there as not only a sturdy centre half but a goal threat too, he scored 29 goals in just over 200 appearances for the Gills, and in 1984-5 season made a move to Norwich City, who paid £125,000 for his services.
Bruce’s career at Norwich did not start well. He scored an own goal in the first minute of his debut against Liverpool. He quickly redeemed himself though with a string of solid performances, winning their player of the season award and becoming a fan favourite by scoring the winner against rivals Ipswich in the League Cup. He was named man of the match in the final of the League Cup too, which Norwich famously won in 1985. He became club captain during his three year stint at the Canaries, but they couldn’t hold onto him. Manchester United came calling and paid a rumoured £800,000 for his services in 1987.
Steve is probably remembered mostly for his Manchester United career, and certainly won the most silverware whilst with the Red Devils. Bruce struck up a partnership in central defence with Gary Pallister, which has been described as the best in United’s long and illustrious history. In nine years at the club he played over 300 games, and won just about every trophy going. Bruce played a key part at united until he was aged 35, when he spent brief stints as captain of Birmingham before playing ten games for Sheffield United. He retired in 1999 having played an incredible 737 games in his career.
Unfortunately, Bruce never played for England’s first team, though he did represent them at ‘B’ team level.
Steve is now a successful manager, who has been the gaffer at clubs at a very high level. He has managed Sheffield United, Wigan, Birmingham and Sunderland most famously, though he is currently without a job. He has also made a lot of media appearances for Sky Sports and other broadcasters.
Steve Bruce, The North Stand salutes you!