Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Looking Forward to Return of United

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bruce Is Looking Forward to Return of United

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

NEWCASTLE United will be warmly welcomed back to the Premier League by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce - for professional as much as sentimental reasons.

The Magpies' one-year Championship sabbatical could officially come to an end on Saturday when, if results go their way, they will clinch promotion back to the top-flight. That will delight Bruce, and not just because he used to support them when growing up on Tyneside.

The Black Cats boss (pictured above) believes Newcastle will bring with them passion, excitement and revenue.

"I think that the North East wants Newcastle back," said the Corbridge-born manager. "I'm from here so I can say it. We want our football clubs to do well, we want Newcastle and Middlesbrough in the Premier League because the supporters of all of the clubs are like nowhere else. The more the merrier for me because we have missed them.

"The last few games at home we had 1,500 (away fans) come when we played Man City, Wigan 300, Fulham 200, Birmingham 400. When Newcastle come next year there'll be thousands, which makes for a great game."

The Magpies' average Championship gates this season have been bigger even than those Sunderland have attracted in the top-flight, the fifth best in the country.

But more than that, their reappearance on the big stage will re-ignite a Tyne-Wear rivalry which has to a large degree had to lay dormant since May.

At one stage during Sunderland's bleak mid-winter it looked like the North East's two biggest clubs could be swapping divisions at the end of the season. The Black Cats, though, have recovered their poise after 14 league games without a win.

Victory at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday - not as unlikely as it may sound given their form against the big clubs under Bruce, particularly on Wearside - would take them to 38 points and in their manager's eyes, the brink of safety. …

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