Steve Bruce: A tower of strength

Saturday 17 December 2022 07:00

Today - Saturday 17 December 2022 - marks 35 years since Steve Bruce signed for Manchester United, back in 1987.

To celebrate this landmark, we're bringing you this extract from the new 'Manchester United: 30 years of the Premier League' book, which is available to buy now.

Bruce epitomised the term 'stalwart centre-back' and also had an eye for goal, notching an incredible 19 times in all competitions during the 1990/91 campaign.

A bona fide club legend, he joined the Reds five years before the inception of the Premier League and picked up plenty of winner's medals before departing in the summer of 1996...

How much would Bruce be worth today? Video

How much would Bruce be worth today?

How much would Steve Bruce be worth today? The legendary defender joined United 35 years ago, on 17 December 1987...

STEVE BRUCE: 1992-1996

A tower of strength in the Reds’ backline for the entirety of his nine-year stay, his experience and leadership steered United on a new path to glory as our consummate defensive colossus.

The majority of Steve Bruce’s United league games came before the founding of the Premier League. Nevertheless, few players are more associated with our rich, early successes in the new competition.

Bruce was the first player to lift the Premier League trophy – along with Bryan Robson – when our 26-year wait for the title ended in 1993, and he became our club captain after Robbo left in 1994.

His on-field leadership was essential in the four Premier League seasons that preceded his departure to Birmingham City – a period in which United claimed three titles, and came within a whisker of a fourth. It was an astonishing period of success, with many key players.

But according to Sir Alex Ferguson, few were more influential than the loyal, craggy-faced centre-half.

“The big Geordie was a banker,” wrote Ferguson. “One of the dourest and most dependable defenders ever to play for me. His resolution was mingled with warmth and modesty, so that he commanded respect and affection in equal measure.”

What would a prime Steve Bruce be worth in today's transfer market?poll

What would a prime Steve Bruce be worth in today's transfer market?

Brucie’s willingness to defend anything and everything that entered the United box – whether ball or man – was legendary, and you only needed to glance at his weathered face to know that here was a man eager to put everything on the line to achieve victory.

He was more than useful in the opposition box, too, famously scoring twice late on to seal a desperate 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the final weeks of the 1992/93 season.

It was arguably the key victory in our first Premier League success and, given what followed, it is impossible to overstate the importance of Bruce’s timely double.

His partnership with Gary Pallister gave the free-scoring teams of the 1990s a rock-solid foundation, and his heart and strength were an inspiration to the players around him.

United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 Video

United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1

10 April 1993: Watch the extended highlights of a game which proved pivotal in the first Premier League title race...


1992/93 – 42 appearances, 5 goals
1993/94 – 41 apps, 3 goals
1994/95 – 35 apps, 2 goals
1995/96 – 30 apps, 1 goal

Total: 148 apps, 11 goals

Premier League winner: 1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96

If you enjoyed this extract, you can read plenty more like it in ‘Manchester United: 30 years of the Premier League’, out now.