|Steve Bruce jumps straight into the relegation
English Premier League club Wigan have appointed Steve Bruce as manager after agreeing to pay rival Birmingham $6.2 million in compensation.
The 46-year-old former Manchester United defender signed up for a second spell in charge of the northwest England team after Birmingham stalled over an offer of a new contract while it waited for the outcome of a mooted takeover.
Bruce twice led Birmingham to promotion into the Premier League, suggesting he could lift Wigan out of the relegation zone and keep it in the top flight.
Wigan is 19th in the 20-team league and without a manager after firing Chris Hutchings two weeks ago.
“When Paul Jewell decided he was not going to come back I was a little bit disappointed, but Steve Bruce is the guy we wanted,” Wigan chairman Dave Whelan said.
“He’s one of the best young managers in the land. I’m delighted we’ve got him and he’ll bring enthusiasm, knowledge and spirit to our team.”
Bruce was at Wigan for eight games in 2001, but quit to take over at Crystal Palace.
He stayed for six months before joining Birmingham, which is just four places above Wigan in the league.
Whelan said he would give Bruce money to buy players in January to help keep the club in the Premier League, as Jewell had done for two years before quitting at the end of last season to take a break from soccer.
“We’ve had some bad luck with injuries and when Steve comes in, he I know he will want a midfield player and maybe a striker,” Whelan said.
“And I will be backing him exactly the same way I did with Paul Jewell.”