Ex-Manchester United defender leaves Birmingham to join Premiership rival.
|Steve Bruce: Yet to sign a contract with Wigan
Wigan Athletic were forced to put the arrival of Steve Bruce as manager on hold due to an unresolved issue between him and current employers Birmingham City.
Wigan chief executive Brenda Spencer told reporters at the JJB Stadium that the Premier League club had been unable to sign a contract as planned with the former Manchester United defender.
“We thought we’d be announcing the new manager this afternoon,” she said.
“It was going to be Steve Bruce.
“Unfortunately something’s come up and it’s an issue between Birmingham and Steve,” said Spencer, without giving details.
“Until that is resolved, we can’t announce him as our manager.
“He hasn’t signed a contract as yet. That was supposed to be this morning.
“Our chairman is desperate that we have a manager in place and he’s hopeful that something will happen in the next 24 hours.
Spencer said the club had spoken to Bruce and remained committed to him, “We definitely want him and he wants to come to Wigan.
“We’ve been without a manager now for two weeks so we really want a manager in place, if possible, for the weekend.”
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan said on Monday that he had agreed a deal to bring Bruce to the club, with compensation of $6.16 million to Birmingham.
The manager had been lined up to replace Chris Hutchings, who was sacked earlier this month after 13 games in charge.
Hutchings’s predecessor Paul Jewell turned down a return to the job he left at the end of last season.
Spencer said the delay had nothing to do with plans to bring Bruce’s Birmingham City assistant Eric Black with him to the north west.
Bruce, who had eight games in charge of Wigan in 2001 before walking out to join Crystal Palace, had been unsettled at Birmingham with his future uncertain as the club is involved in a long-running takeover bid.
Wigan have slipped to second-last in the Premier League, four places and three points behind Birmingham, on the back of seven straight defeats.
They travel to unbeaten leaders Arsenal on Saturday.