Assem Allam deserves Hull City promotion, says Steve Bruce
WITH nine games to go and his Hull City side fighting it out for promotion to the Premier League, Steve Bruce is quick to dismiss any talk of pressure.
There is a feeling of calm around the Tigers' training ground in Cottingham, and Bruce insists that relaxed manner is something which feeds down right from the very top of the club.
Bruce is due to meet the club owners after completing his media duties for the day and, with his side second in the Championship table, it is a meeting which he knows should go well.
With every passing week, Bruce is edging closer to delivering Assem Allam's dream of taking the club he saved back to the top.
CAR KEYS AND REMOTES "FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY" 01482 423414 ...View details
FOR ALL YOUR CAR KEY NEEDS CALL US NOW ON
SNAPPED KEYS, LOST KEYS, KEYS LOCKED IN VEHICLES,
WE ALSO REPAIR 90% OF ALL REMOTES AND KEYS, NO FIX NO CHARGE.
Terms: FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY ONE PER CUSTOMER
Contact: 01482 423414
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
That is an achievement both men would cherish, and knowing the huge financial commitment Allam has made (more than £50m), it is at the forefront of Bruce's mind as the season reaches its climax.
"When I first met Assem in the summer, all he wanted to do was have a team that would make a fist of having a go at promotion," Bruce recalled.
"That was one of the reasons I'm here.
"He has pumped in a lot of money to this club, a lot of money, and without him I worry where it would be, it could easily have been another Portsmouth.
"He didn't want the club to go into administration and has spent a hell of a lot of money on this club, and deserves success.
"For him to put the money he has done into the club is incredible. He has been in this city almost all of his life and been a successful businessman from here.
"It is quite a remarkable story, and I just hope he can get his reward now through us, not just financially, but for his club to be in the big league.
"That would be terrific for him and I know he would be a very proud man."
Bruce knows he has been lucky to have full support from the boardroom.
It has seen him constantly supported in strengthening his squad as the likes of Stephen Quinn, David Meyler, Robbie Brady and George Boyd have been added as the season has progressed.
All have played key roles, but it was perhaps a deal which brought Egyptian duo Gedo and Ahmed Fathi to the KC Stadium in January which showed a manager and owner working together.
Bruce's belief and confidence in Egyptian footballers dates back many years, to his time at Wigan when he signed Amr Zaki and he became an instant success.
That knowledge of the Egyptian game saw him identify Gedo as a possible solution to City's goalscoring shortfalls, but again, it is Bruce who is keen to lay the credit at Allam's door.
"I got interested in the Egyptian team way back in 2008-09," says Bruce.
"Everybody talks about African football and the African Nations, and of course the first ones you talk about are teams like Ivory Coast and Senegal, who have done well in the World Cup. But in the African Nations, Egypt won in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
"I went to watch them few years ago and brought back Zaki to Wigan, but without the owner it would not have been possible to get players from Al Ahly.
"They are the Manchester United of Egyptian football and have 75,000 watching them every week.
"Gedo has got 19 goals in 31 games for his country, so to get somebody like that on loan was a real coup for the club.
"I didn't think it would be possible but because of the owners' connections it was, and he has had a great start, just at the right time it has given everybody a lift."
Gedo couldn't have started life at the KC better, and will tomorrow go in search of extending his record of scoring in every game he has played at the KC (he has five in four so far).
City's Egyptian connection has also brought a whole new world of fans to the Tigers, as thousands are following the fortunes of Gedo, Fathi and Ahmed Elmohamady the KC Stadium.
"It is a huge football nation," Bruce adds.
"They love their football and if you have been there you see they are really crazy for it, have lots of pride, and have some really good players.
"I know there is a big following watching how we get on now. But as I say, Assem has been terrific and nothing but supportive from day one.
"He hasn't put me under any pressure at all though. He doesn't interfere.
"To be fair, he has been a successful businessman, and he always says that when he employs a manager, he wants them to manage.
"I'd be delighted to do it for him."