Steve Bruce: welcome to our world (1)

Salut! Sunderland has said it before. We are not a sports news agency and have no wish – or ability – to compete with mainstream news media or newsy websites. Our role is different and it doesn't take too much scrutiny of the archives to see that.

But the appointment of a new manager is an event of such significance for our great club and its even greater supporters. So let us extend a warm welcome to Steve Bruce, who tonight becomes not only that manager but also our favourite Mag.

Bruce is a complete professional and will neither be distracted by his history as a Newcastle United man nor reinvent himself as a lifelong Mackem who would like nothing better than to see the Mags descend another division or two.

Our most recent experiences of Barcodes at Sunderland are not encouraging: Lee Clark's T-shirt, Michael Chopra's unmissable miss against Toon. But we got plenty of good work from Clark beforehand, gloried in Bob Stokoe's finest hour, saw Chopra score a goal against someone else that played a huge part in keeping us up last seasom and could easily dig up plenty of names from the past to show that people in football can act as adults and properly serve the hands that feed them.

So Bruce starts with a substantial benefit of the doubt, our heartfelt wishes for him to succeed and, if Pete Sixsmith agrees, a promise not to call him Mrs Doubtfire again, at least in the forseeable future.

And we rather liked this, from Kaveh Solhekol at The Times website: extracts of a piece on the six things Steve must do …

Forget about Newcastle United

Bruce has made no secret of the fact that he supports Newcastle, but most Sunderland fans are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt …

Attract the right players

Bruce is expected to have up to £50 million to spend on new players, although in reality he may get less than half of that to spend this summer. That should not be a problem for a manager with good contacts around the world …

Hold on to what he has got

Sunderland players such as Kieran Richardson, Dean Whitehead and Kenwyne Jones will be linked with other clubs … Bruce has to decide whether to cash in or keep his best players. The futures of Craig Gordon and Paul McShane will also need to be sorted out.

Plan to stick around

Bruce has been a manager for 11 years but he has already changed jobs six times … Sunderland fans will have every right to be angry if he does walk out because he has everything a manager needs – money, rich owner, sensible chairman, loyal fans, modern stadium …

Put his arm around Anton Ferdinand

Great things were expected … but so far he has done little to justify his £8 million price-tag after a promising start … Bruce will need to work the same magic that he used on Titus Bramble at Wigan to turn Ferdinand into a top-class defender.

Answer his phone

Steve, if your phone’s ringing and Ellis Short’s name comes up on the display, take a deep breath, press answer and say, “Hello, Mr Short. What can I do for you?”

For the full article, follow this link.

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