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Bruce: Scout Report Said I Wasn’t Good Enough For United

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.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Vidic says:

    First ?

  2. Vidic says:


  3. Colbert says:

    “Cultured left foot” :D

  4. Vidic says:


  5. Vidic says:


  6. goatinaunitedshirt says:

    Name and shame – who was the scout?

    Was the scout a club exclusive scout or a generally respected floater. Maybe the same man that said Carlton Palmer and Barry Venison was a banker. Would love to know if this was a one off and he had many a success or not.
    I did a bit of scouting one time and have one reasonable success. Max Von schlebrugg played in the lower swedish leagues with a team called bromma pojkarna, same that Djordic came from. I particularly like the left back and talked to a friend who was in with Hammarby . He later went on to become an international and got to play for Brondby and Anderlect. I was chuffed to pick him out of a crowd of players, no one else rated him. Do I have the gift?

  7. Ash says:

    Anyone knows whats the team today?

  8. Xyth says:

    It would be interesting to see Bebe’s report!

  9. Jrdonl says:

    This article ve were able to read in man utd official something new scot…where are thou indian red devils? Jeet,balaji spill ur thoughts

  10. Colbert says:

    Buttner starts! Sweet.

  11. goatinaunitedshirt says:

    Can I ask if anyone else gets some of the words in the texts as adverts or is it just me. Some words are marked red and double underlined and then advertise some online university or the like. Is it my computer infected or a desperate measure for scott to bring in loot seen as some have deserted RoM and hits are down.

  12. OHH AHH Cantona says:

    The scout was trying to do an inside job for anothr premier league team

  13. Clint-Iamyourpapii says:

    Inspirational is the only word that describes this.

  14. Eric L'edieu says:

    One of my all time favourites.
    Like Kevin Moran, in that he would give absolutely everything.
    The memories from rotterdam, THAT sheffield Wednesday game, & the evening against middlesbrough where he first lifted that trophywit robbo will always live with me.

  15. LexxytheRed says:

    CUltured Left foot made me chuckle a bit. Lol

  16. Raizzen says:

    Clint, inspirational indeed. If he were to receive that before his departure, dunno what he could’ve been..

  17. Zulu-Utd-Malta says:

    Thanks Brucey for the wonderfull service you gave us. I’ll never forget when you scored against Sheffield Wednesday and practically you gave us the title after 26 years waiting.
    I was at home watching the game and when you scored I jumped on my Missus stomach. She felt sick for 3 days but it was worth it. :)
    She managed to be ok and we where there for the celebrations !!!!

    OH MY GOD HOW I LOVE MANCHESTER UNITED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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