Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Bruce Is Not One to Get out the Fergie Hairdryer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Bruce Is Not One to Get out the Fergie Hairdryer

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

HE may have spent nearly nine years learning from the greatest football manager of modern times, but Steve Bruce believes trying to copy Sir Alex Ferguson would be pointless.

The Sunderland boss was in Manchester last night at a dinner to mark Sunday's 25th anniversary of Ferguson's appointment as Manchester United manager.

Tomorrow, the pair meet there again on very different terms as Bruce's Black Cats try to spoil the party at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

Sunderland are fortunate their last three managers have worked at close quarters with some of the managerial greats. Bruce, Ricky Sbragia and Roy Keane were all at Manchester United, while the latter also had the privilege of playing under former Sunderland striker Brian Clough.

But, while Bruce saw Ferguson's infamous "hairdryer" first hand plenty of times during his spell as a Red Devil, he has never been tempted to copy it.

The Scot's short temper with underperforming players is notorious. Early in Ferguson's quarter-century at Old Trafford, the players coined a nickname for his favourite method of dressing down, standing nose-to-nose with his victim and bawling him out.

"Thankfully Pally (Gary Pallister) got it more than me," recalled Bruce, one of Ferguson's first and best signings. "In the early days we knew it was coming because Archie (Knox, Ferguson's first assistant) had a way of telling us when we were going up the tunnel at Old Trafford. He'd tap you on the shoulder and tell you to get ready, it's coming.

"If you couldn't stand up to that you were no use to him (Ferguson). If you couldn't stand up to him and his demands, and many a player couldn't, then you couldn't play for Man U. He wanted people to respond to it and react to it rather than shrink from it.

"There's many a time when we've had it, we've all had it. …

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