Bruce Broadside; Birmingham's Big Name Looks Certain to Quit St Andrew's after Blast at Manager Francis

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN LAWRENCE

STEVE BRUCE is certain to quit Birmingham City after his love-hate relationship with manager Trevor Francis exploded yesterday. The only question is when.

The 36-year-old defender is furious - not to mention embarrassed - after being dropped by the controversial Birmingham manager for the third away game in a row.

After his latest humiliation, he did not play in the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest - he could hold his tongue no longer.

He said: 'I know the manager does what he thinks is best but it is a waste of time me being around the place if I am not playing. I am absolutely fed-up at being dropped - not rested, dropped - and I will have to look very, very seriously at my future.

'Being stuck in the reserves at this stage of my career is no good to me or the club.

'I've bitten my lip long enough.

That it has come to this is sad.

But I don't believe I have been playing badly. It has all gone sour for me personally and that is a shame because this is still a big club.

'The supporters have been absolutely fantastic towards me and they deserve success.' The former Manchester United captain, who helped the club win the Premiership title three times, has a [pounds sterling]17,000a-week contract which ends in the summer and the only way he will stay at St Andrew's longer than that is if he takes over from Francis as manager.

Bruce, who joined Birmingham on a free transfer from United in the summer of 1996, was rumoured to be about to take over the managerial reigns a year ago as pressure mounted on Francis following a string of bad results.

Francis said he felt the relationship between Bruce and himself was fine.

He said: 'There are no problems between us. Steve is a very good man and loves playing football. When he isn't in the side he is, understandably, disappointed and frustrated. …