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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK
Bruce back in the big-time
Darren Carter, keeper Nico Vaesen and Geoff Horsfield celebrate their victory
Birmingham celebrate promotion to the big time

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce said his side's Division One play-off win to secure a place in the Premiership ended four years of personal frustration.

The Blues beat Norwich on penalties at the Millennium Stadium to end a 16-year absence from the top flight and ensure that Bruce will be managing a Premiership club for the first time next season.


We are all intrigued to see how big this club can be
Steve Bruce

"I've had a rough four years in management but I've finally got there," said Bruce, who was manager of Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan and Crystal Palace before taking over at Birmingham five months ago.

"Barry Ruberry, my chairman at Huddersfield, kicked me in the teeth when he said great players don't always make great managers.

"I hope he was watching today."

Bruce also paid tribute to the club's players and supporters.

"I'm delighted for the fans - they will now be watching the best players in the world playing in the best league in the world.

"I didn't expect this to happen so quickly - and the credit must go not to me but the players."

Birmingham captain Jeff Kenna and Steve Bruce celebrate
Steve Bruce celebrates with captain Jeff Kenna

"They had to dig deep when we were behind in extra-time and I must admit I could not see where a goal was going to come from."

The former Manchester United defender has not been involved in the Premiership since he left Old Trafford in 1996 - and he is excited at being back.

"It has been such a long time since Birmingham has been in the top flight - and we are all intrigued to see how big this club can be."

But the Blues boss admitted he has modest priorities for next season.

"Our first aim is to try and stay up - we will be doing our best to finish fourth bottom."


In this game you have to be like a rubber ball - you have got to keep bouncing back
Norwich manager
Nigel Worthington

Norwich boss Nigel Worthington was philosophical in defeat and said he hopes his team can build on the experience of reaching the play-off final.

"It has been one hell of a season and one we have enjoyed.

"It has been a wonderful ride - we have done a lot and learned a lot. In this game you have to be like a rubber ball - you have got to keep bouncing back.

"If we had been promoted we would have had money to spend but now we might end up looking for Bosman signings - that is the harsh reality of the situation."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce
"It's been too long"
Birmingham's Darren Carter
"We are back where we belong"
Birmingham chairman David Gold
"It was fantastic"
 VOTE RESULTS
Who will finish highest?

Birmingham
 11.61% 

Manchester City
 80.91% 

West Brom
 7.47% 

16819 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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13 May 02 | Eng Div 1
Links to more Eng Div 1 stories are at the foot of the page.


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