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Arsenal vs. Utd: Mutual hatred

50-50 Challenge 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Nov 26, 2007

Bruce disappointed with protracted Blues exit

New Wigan manager Steve Bruce was finally unveiled today but admitted the delay between his departure from Birmingham and his arrival at the JJB Stadium 'left a bitter taste in the mouth'.

Bruce was due to be presented to the press last week but could not appear due to a hold-up involving the repayment of advance funds paid to Bruce by City.

The issue has now been resolved, with the former England defender admitting he had repaid some of the cash, but he remains angry at the public nature of the dispute.

'It's become a bit of a laughing stock,' he conceded on Sky Sports News. 'But things in contracts should, I believe, remain private and it was unfortunate it was addressed in the media.

'It left me in an embarrassing situation and one I'm very disappointed with. I always knew it would get resolved but it has left a bad taste in the mouth after six years of decent service to the football club.

'It was disappointing at the 11th hour to be facing this obstacle and I'm glad it's resolved.'

Bruce is sure he can match the ambition of Latics owner Dave Whelan, who paid around £3million in compensation to Blues - a figure the new boss believes should have been enough to prevent this week's behind-the-scenes financial wrangling.

'I think familiarity breeds contempt,' he said. 'Having been here six years and having certain promises taken away, like new contracts (it was disappointing).

'Mr Whelan came in and made it clear I was the one he wanted. Paul Jewell was obviously his first choice because he has worked with him before and I'll do my utmost to give it my best shot,' said Bruce, who previously managed the club for seven weeks in 2001.

'With the chairman (Whelan) paying something like £3million compensation I would have thought that would be enough but obviously not.

'But I'm here, it's a new challenge and if I have the same success as I had at Birmingham then I'm sure Mr Whelan will be happy.'

When quizzed if he was keen to add former Norwich team-mate Dave Watson and Birmingham caretaker manager Erick Black to his staff, Bruce replied: 'There is always going to be speculation. Dave Watson is a big friend of mine and he worked with me at Birmingham for a while, so we'll see.'

'I'm hoping that I can make some additions to the backroom staff by the end of the week.

'Eric Black is still in work at Birmingham, but I'm hoping to bring in a couple of new faces.'

Bruce added: 'I was extremely impressed with the way they went about their job on Saturday (in their 2-0 loss to Arsenal). I know it's going to be difficult but my job is to try and give the whole place a lift. I'm very confident of staying in the Premier League.'

Bruce also insisted he was looking forward to linking up once again with two former charges - Emile Heskey and Mario Melchiot.

There were rumours Bruce and Melchiot did not get on during their time together and St Andrews but he insisted that was not a concern.

'I'm looking forward to working with the whole squad. Emile did fantastically well for us at Birmingham, but when we got relegated you have to make a decision on who goes and Emile was one.

'I've just spoken to Mario and it's never been an issue, I wanted to clear that up with him. When you get relegated there is going to be disappointed people and you have to make changes and that's what happened. There is no bad blood between us and I'm looking forward to working with him.'