Steve Bruce has revealed that when he left Manchester United, the leaving present he received from Sir Alex Ferguson was a scout report on Bruce before the manager’s time at the club.
With Bruce playing for Gillingham in Division Three, a scout in the early 1980’s reckoned that Bruce wasn’t good enough for United.
“The report pre-dated Fergie’s time at the club, but being him – meticulous in every aspect of the job – he had kept all the scouts’ reports going back years,” he said. “When I left United I wasn’t expecting a gold watch or a carriage clock, but instead he handed me an old document from his files and said, ‘I think you had better have this.’ It was a scout’s report on me, from an old Third Division game when I was playing for Gillingham against Chesterfield, and it still raises a smile now. On the form it said, ‘Bright sunny day… Bruce picked up a facial injury and moved into midfield, where he can’t play… He is weak, no left foot, one-paced…’ And they were the complimentary bits. The report concluded, ‘In my opinion, the Third Division is his level… he will make a decent living at this standard… but not good enough for Manchester United.’ That was my leaving present from Sir Alex, and I couldn’t just tuck it away in a drawer. As a reminder of what I managed to achieve as a player, I framed it and hung it in the smallest room in the house. Within three years of that scout’s assessment of my cultured left foot, I was playing for the biggest club in the world. I like to think it shows how far you can go in this business with a bit of hard graft. To be fair, I was never blessed with any great ability, but I was captain of a great team. After Danny Blanchflower and Frank McLintock, I was the first English captain to do the Double in the 20th century with Manchester United in 1994. I never played for England, but that makes up for it a little bit.”
Bruce went on to captain to United and only 20 players have more appearances than him in the history of our club, with him featuring more than Rio Ferdinand, David Beckham and Denis Law.