Bruce’s millions: Victorious Hull City manager eyes Premier League survival blueprint after winning world’s most lucrative football match
Manager believes Hull can copy the blueprint of the Premier League’s overachievers as they look to survive in the top-flight
Steve Bruce believes Hull can copy the blueprint of the Premier League’s overachievers as they look to survive in the top-flight.
Bruce’s side secured an immediate return to the big time following last year’s relegation thanks to Mohamed Diame’s sublime strike in the Championship play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday.
Senegal midfielder Diame’s long-range effort in the 72nd minute was enough to give Hull a 1-0 win at Wembley on Saturday and Hull boss Bruce can now turn his attention to planning their attempt to avoid the drop next term.
It will help that Hull’s bank balance will be boosted by the £110 million (HK$1.25 billion) windfall they will earn due to the Premier League’s new television contracts.
Spending that cash wisely is essential, but Bruce will also study shock champions Leicester and the likes of Swansea, Watford and Bournemouth, who have all survived against the odds.
“Nobody gave us a cat in hell’s chance of staying up a few years ago, but it can be done,” Bruce said.
“We know we have to be at our maximum and invest well. That’s the hardest part for a club like Hull.
“Even when you’ve got money you have to spend it wisely and get the right player. We’ll do our best.
“If we do things properly we can improve the club no end. If somebody had said Leicester would be champions we’d have said they were nuts, so it proves anything can happen.
“Bournemouth and Watford stayed up this season and Swansea have done it for seven or eight years. We have to try to replicate that.”
Bruce revealed he had offered to resign after Hull’s relegation but was persuaded to stay by the club’s Egyptian owner Assem Allam.
Allam is ailing in hospital and Bruce dedicated the promotion to him.
“I did offer to resign because ultimately we failed. Thankfully the owner didn’t want me to go,” Bruce said.
“I had a long hard think about it to see if I could repair the damage.
“I dedicate this to the chairman. He couldn’t make it today and his ill health concerns us all, so for him I’m very pleased.”
Bruce is the first manager in the Premier League era to mastermind four promotions to the top-flight – two with Hull and two with Birmingham – but he conceded he was unsure at the start of the season if Hull were capable of recovering from relegation.
“There’s an uncertainty when you get relegated. We didn’t sign a player until the end of July and people lost their jobs,” he said.
“We had to sell several of our best young players to make up the £25 million deficit from relegation.
“It’s never easy but thankfully we had enough in the squad to get us back up there.
“The last four times I’ve been in the Championship I’ve managed to get out of it. I’m delighted but it’s not all about me.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday face a 17th successive year outside the Premier League after a below par display on their first Wembley appearance since 1993.
But Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal is hopeful the momentum from their surprise run to the play-offs will carry over into next season.
“We didn’t play today like we usually play this season,” Carvalhal said.
“We are still very happy and proud with what we did. I think we woke up the giant.
“Sheffield Wednesday will be more respected. This is something we created.
“Everything will not be like the past. We are in a good way. We must get stronger but we have a good base.”