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Bitter Bruce Not A Victim Of North East Divide - He's An Accessory To It

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Brucie loves to play the victim, but his constant jibes about Sunderland's alleged institutionalised bigotry make him a serious accessory to the modern north east divide.

Steve Bardens

Steve Bruce has insisted his mutual animosity with Sunderland fans is now a thing of the past - and then immediately challenged the home fans to shower him with abuse.

That's right, after years of wholly false and entirely unfair accusations of engrained institutionalised bigotry on a region scale, old cushion-face has astonishingly tried to seize the moral high ground.

The potato-headed berk told the Mirror:

What I felt about my time at Sunderland and how it all ended has gone for me now.

They are on their third manager since I left, and Gus Poyet is in there now and doing a fantastic job.

Good luck to Gus because it's not an easy club to manage, and I hope he can be the one to turn it into a big club in the top half of the Premier League.

Couple of lovely little digs in there. Presumably he means us irrational and unreasonably demanding hate-fueled fans are what makes Sunderland a difficult club to manage? After all, he was well-funded and backed, granted daily access to some of the finest training facilities in the country and had patience from his chairmen that most managers would kill for.

Yeah, it must have been us fans who made it oh so difficult for the poor innocent lamb. Even when he is 'moving on' he openly attempts to antagonise fans.

If they want to spend the game having a go at me, then that's absolutely fine.

It's my players that are the most important thing for me - they are the ones who have got to handle the occasion and the atmosphere.

And it's a hell of a lot easier if the crowd are on somebody else's back. So, if it's all geared to me, fantastic. Bring it on.

I'll tell you the thing with Bruce's attitude and continued - either spoken or implied - defamation of Sunderland fans that really sits uncomfortably with me.

Last month, the decision was taken by Northumbria Police to essentially treat Sunderland fans like animals. It was suggested that, where Newcastle is concerned, there was simply too much uncontrollable hatred to allow us freedom of choice whilst also protecting the public from our bigoted ways.

Sunderland fans had to fight very hard to have that decision overturned and plead for the removal of the stigma such thinking attaches to our reputation. The result was a good one, but it remains a running battle.

Now, all the while, there is a high-profile manager constantly running his mouth off, taking advantage of his connections in the press to poor petrol on that fire by claiming that Sunderland fans abused him based on his 'geordie' heritage and forced him out of a job. They have been strong statements, repeated often and never retracted.

What is more - they are completely unsustainable. There is a statue of a geordie outside the ground. There is one in the middle of the current Sunderland midfield. You can't miss him. He does stuff like scoring against Newcastle.

And now, under the sheer pretense of 'moving on', he pretty much challenges the fans he has led that smear campaign against to openly abuse him. The whole thing is irresponsible, petty, and incredibly unhelpful to what has so far been an important and successful campaign.

Steve Bruce is not an innocent victim of the great north east divide. Whether he knows it or not, his regular bitter face-saving selfishly vile accusations make him an accessory to it.