16 Jul 19
Simon Jordan has looked back on his infamous feud with Steve Bruce at Crystal Palace amid the Sheffield Wednesday manager’s imminent move to Newcastle.
The Magpies are understood to have paid the Owls a £4million compensation fee to secure the 58-year-old’s services, meaning he will leave Hillsborough after just six months.
And Jordan knows better than anyone that this isn’t the first time Bruce has jumped ship.
The former Palace chairman took Bruce to court in 2001 after he tried to quit and join Birmingham three months into his contract with the Eagles.
Bruce enjoyed a positive start with Palace as they pushed for promotion to the Premier League – but he left soon after
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Bruce’s deal included a nine-month notice period, and rather than letting him leave, Jordan enforced the contract and placed the manager on fully-paid ‘gardening leave’.
The unsavoury dispute was eventually settled and Bruce became Birmingham manager in December 2001.
Reflecting on the saga, Jordan told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “I was very unhappy, I felt he behaved inappropriately. He came to me for the job, desperate to manage Palace.
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“I gave him an interview when I didn’t want to, I gave him the job, I spent millions on players with him, and the moment Birmingham batted their eyelids at him, off he wanted to go.
“I do feel sorry for Sheffield Wednesday here because they’ve gone after a manager, brought him on board and they are a big football club that need to get out of this division.
“But the difference with my situation is that I put him on a nine-month notice period, which is why this ‘gardening leave’ thing emerged.
Sheffield Wednesday fans have become frustrated by Bruce’s desire to leave for Newcastle
“Whereas Sheffield Wednesday have put a big compensation clause in there, preparing for this eventuality.
“So while Sheffield Wednesday have every reason to be upset, they’ve brought a manager in, with no money invested into him, he’s been there for three [six] months and they’ve just got several million quid out of it.
“It’s not ideal, but not bad either.”
Bruce eventually joined Birmingham and sealed promotion via the play-offs in 2002
The former Eagles chief also reveals that Bruce has dreamt of managing his boyhood club for years.
He added: “This is a job he wanted in 2003 but couldn’t take because I’d done him up at Palace, putting him on gardening leave and making everyone think that he was a manager who jumped clubs, which he did.
“When he was at Birmingham, he couldn’t take that job first time round. He wants to take it now because it’s a huge opportunity.”