STEVE BRUCE just wishes his late parents were still around to help him celebrate his new job.
The Geordie, 58, lost both Joe and Sheenagh within a few months of each other last year.
1 Newcastle boss Steve Bruce with his beloved mum and dad who died last yearCredit: Getty
But as North East natives they would have been so proud to see their boy appointed as manager of Newcastle United.
Bruce passed up the chance to succeed Bobby Robson in charge of his boyhood favourites back in 2004 — and has always regretted it.
But his voice crackled with emotion and his eyes filled up when he was asked what his folks would have made of it all.
He said: “My mum would have burst into tears, she would have been so proud. And my dad would have said ‘are you sure you know what you’re doing son?’
“For all the family I’ve still got in the North East, I’m sure they will be as proud as punch.
“For any Geordie, if you can’t play for them, then to manage them it’s something special.
“If I had my time back, I would have gone in 2004 when Bobby Robson left. I never thought the opportunity would come again.
“No matter how difficult, no matter how much s*** I’m going to have to deal with, I had to have a crack at it.”
My mum would have burst into tears, she would have been so proud
Despite his obvious love for the club, Bruce knows his appointment has not been met with much enthusiasm.
His links with bitter rivals Sunderland have not helped but Bruce says his early experience with Newcastle will help him deal with it.
He said: “They rejected me as a player. Newcastle said I wasn’t going to be big or strong enough to make the grade.
“It was one of my biggest disappointments so I went to Wallsend Boys Club.
“That early rejection was the biggest kick, I was 12 or 13, I was fighting against it then and I’m fighting against it again now because I’m still not good enough it seems.
“I honestly think whoever came in to replace Rafa, they were going to be big shoes to fill.
"I’m under no illusions, he is very, very talented, he is very, very good at what he does.
"But I hope I can still take the club forward and really establish it as a Premier League force because It’s only three years ago it was in the Championship.”
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Rafa Benitez left the club last month when his contract expired leaving the Toon Army livid with owner Mike Ashley.
Bruce added: “The atmosphere in the city is a result of Rafa leaving. There is naturally disappointment that the club have lost a very talented manager, but I cannot change that.
“I can’t take that personally, the only thing that can improve it is results.
“We aren’t all Champions League winners but I will do my utmost to keep the club going forward. I’ve got plenty of experience of dragging teams out of difficult circumstances.”
Meanwhile Bruce will not be officially in charge of the Toon as they play their final Premier League Asia Trophy match with Wolves in Shanghai today.
The ex-Sheffield Wednesday boss came into China on a 72 hour tourist visa meaning he is not eligible to work in the country so Ben Dawson and Neil Redfearn will be in the dug-out.