Byline: Ged Scott
Steve Bruce is used to getting one over on his old mate Micky Adams and, today, when Birmingham City take on Leicester City at the Walkers Stadium, he could do with another result.
Since their days together as apprentices at Gillingham 25 years ago, Bruce has had the edge on Adams. From the moment he sold him his first car, to prising Robbie Savage from Leicester for a bargain pounds 2.5 million two summers ago, Bruce has held on to that apparent advantage.
He beat Adams into the Gillingham first team and went further as a player. Yet, as managers, they're two of a kind. Good, honest, likeable, genuine football men who have, between them, already racked up more experiences at a string of different clubs than most football bosses can garner in a career.
They have not met since their Gillingham days, although the Blues boss reveals that his Leicester counterpart did nearly become his first managerial assistant.
'There was a time at Sheffield United,' recalls Bruce, 'when I was looking for a reserve-team manager and I knew they were his club, but he was just about to go to Nottingham Forest with 'Harry' Bassett.'
It is no surprise to Bruce that Adams should have been popular and successful wherever he has gone, much like the Blues boss himself.
'We learnt a lot from our old youth-team manager at Gillingham, an old stager called Bill Collins,' said Bruce. 'A Rockytype trainer, one of the old school, a wonderful man. He had a big part in the way myself and Micky have developed.
'We have come up the same way, having learnt it at lower division clubs. Same upbringing, same traits and we play the game the same way.
'He even bought my Ford Cortina off me --for the bargain price of pounds 195,' he says, with a smirk writ large across his face.
'The exhaust was tied up with string, although he didn't know that at the time and, when it dropped off two days later, it cost him pounds 45 to have it repaired.
'We were all scrimping and scraping back then, and let's just say he was not very happy about it.
'It was my first car and his, too, I think. A bit different from the Ferraris and Lambourghinis they have now.
'And when I got Robbie Savage off him, it was the second time I'd stung him. We obviously took advantage of the situation Leicester found themselves in, but it was still a fair deal at the time.'
Savage's return to Leicester is one …