Aston Villa appoint former Birmingham boss Steve Bruce

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 12 October 2016, 18:36

Aston Villa have appointed Steve Bruce as their new manager with the former Birmingham boss signing a two-year deal, believed to be worth £3million-a-year.

Bruce beat off competition from Villa’s caretaker manager Steve Clarke, who has now left the club, as well as a late surge from Burnley boss Sean Dyche - in the betting at least - who yesterday emerged as a shock contender for the post.

Villa had been on the hunt of a new manager since sacking Roberto Di Matteo - after just 122 days - just over a week ago. The Italian was sent packing at the start of the international break following a disappointing start to life at the Midlands club, having collected just 10 points, and one win, from 11 league games at the helm.

Di Matteo’s replacement, Bruce, is now back in the dugout for the the first time in three months after surprising leaving Hull in July, as he becomes Villa’s fourth permanent boss in the space of a year.

On Monday Bruce’s move to Villa was suddenly put under threat after a flurry of bets were placed on Dyche, who plummeted from 10/1 down to just 6/4. However, later that night media sources reported that Bruce was set to be named the new manager on Wednesday, much to the relief of concerned Clarets fans.

Bruce now inherits a team struggling down in 19th in the Championship, with just one league win to their name all season. The 55-year-old’s immediate task will be leading Villa away from the relegation zone, and if achieved, the target will then be reducing the gap between the club and the play-offs.

 

Despite Villa’s current position in the table, it's worth remembering that there is plenty of time left - 35 games to be precise - to leap up the league, and with the experienced Bruce now at the helm of a club of Villa’s size and stature, they should be able to make up that margin of 10 points.

History tells us that a winning run in this division can propel a club up the table in rapid fashion. In Bruce they have a manager with four Premier League promotions to his name, two each with Birmingham and Hull, with Villa priced at 15/2 (Sky Bet) to make an instant return to the top-flight, while they are out at 66/1 to go on and win the second-tier.

Bruce’s first game in charge is a Midlands derby against Wolves on Saturday, which will be televised live on Sky Sports. However, one feisty fixture to keep an eye on crops up on 30 October when Bruce takes Villa to the home of their fierce rivals, and his former club, Birmingham.

 

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