STEVE BRUCE needed a major fillip this summer in the wake of Hull City’s relegation and it came in the form of son Alex’s wedding.
The Tigers’ 30-year-old defender married partner Lucy at a ceremony in Portugal that was attended by a host of Premier League stars.
Wayne Rooney and wife Coleen were among those present and dad Steve admits such a happy occasion provided a timely lift.
“Being relegated on the final day ranks up there with my most disappointing seasons,” said the one-time Premier League title winner with Manchester United.
“After an experience like that, the one thing that you have to do is try and recover but it took me a long time.
“I had my son’s wedding in the summer and that was a positive. It is not often your son gets married, so that helped me ease through it.
“But, for the first week or two weeks [of the summer], I wasn’t very good company. It is like a grieving process but I also know the turmoil it can cause a club.
“No matter how you try and be strong with it, you know you are probably going to have to start all over again.
“That is the sad part. Just when you feel as though you are building something, you get the rug pulled from under your feet.
“It becomes inevitable that you’re going to lose your best young players because they want to play in the Premier League. You will lose some of your experience too, because they are all taking wage cuts. Human nature says they will want to move on.”
Last season had all started so differently to how it ended, with the first Thursday of August, 2014, bringing progress to the final qualifying round of the Europa League.
Defeat to Lokeren followed but, even so, there was a definite feel-good factor at the KC in those early weeks following what looked like having been a positive summer of recruitment.
“I will never want to make excuses because, at the end of the day, we all weren’t good enough,” says Bruce.
“But when you look back, from day one we were dealt a raw deal. I know injuries happen but not usually to all your big marquee players. For them all to miss over half a season, that was our problem.
“Up until October, we looked a very good side. We threw away three or four leads and that dented the confidence but the injury to (Nikica) Jelavic against Arsenal was the start of things going wrong.”