Now, Steve Bruce is a proven and experienced Championship manager with an excellent record when it comes to taking teams up to the Premier League. Four times he achieved the feat in fact, twice each with Hull City and Birmingham.
But if anyone is still claiming that Aston Villa made a mistake in sacking Bruce in October, their argument doesn’t stack up in the face of evidence.
Villa have exploded into life under Dean Smith, looking like a team transformed and fulfilling their massive potential at last. They’ve beaten Derby, Birmingham and Middlesbrough in their last three games with an aggregate scoreline of 10-2.
Bruce, to put it simply, underachieved, albeit in testing circumstances.
And the Aston Villa fans have been quick to point that out as the 57-year-old is being tipped for a return to the Championship with the now manager-less Reading.
The Royals sacked Paul Clement after a dreadful start to the season on Thursday and The Mirror (live blog, 10.17pm) reports that Bruce will now be offered the chance to steer the club into safer waters.
But, if Villa fans are to be believed, Bruce might have lost a bit of his lustre. Reading shouldn't get their hopes up just yet.
I don't think Bruce will take the Reading job. Not a big enough budget, too much travelling from Cheshire and his ego will think he deserves a bigger job. He'll take over an EPL relegated club next season in the Champ looking for his "promotion experience".— Dave Jordan (Yorkshire AVFC) (@yorkshireAVFC) December 7, 2018
Bruce to reading. I hope so then we can smash them #avfc— Harry Johnson (@avfc_johnson) December 6, 2018
God help you if you end up with bruce .— Andy (@avfc555) December 7, 2018
Poor sods lol— Tom J (@TomskiJak) December 6, 2018
His track record proves he's the best there is at that level.— Patch (@garypatchett) December 6, 2018