Town old boy in Bruce's dream team

By Derek DavisEAST Anglia may not be everyone's idea of a footballing hotbed but it is amazing how often players and managers from the area go on to make a mark elsewhere.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

EAST Anglia may not be everyone's idea of a footballing hotbed but it is amazing how often players and managers from the area go on to make a mark elsewhere.

Take Steve Bruce's appointment at Sunderland for example.


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Of course we know that his son Alex plays for Ipswich, he himself played for Norwich City, but a look at his back rooms staff shows an interesting connection between the north-east and East Anglia.

Bruce's right hand man is Keith Bertschin, also a former Canary but before that he started his playing career with the Blues, after being spotted as a youngster at Barnet.

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A member of the FA Youth Cup winning side in 1975, a year later the 19-year-old Bertschin scored on his Ipswich debut after coming off the bench to net against Arsenal at Highbury in and a week after that he made his full debut in a 4-0 win over West Ham.

Keeping a regular place with the likes of Alan Brazil as competition proved difficult and after 33 games, 13 as a sub, and eight goals, Bertschin moved to Birmingham for �100,000 in 1977 where he formed a superb partnership with Trevor Francis.

After helping City win promotion to the old Division One Bertschin moved on to Norwich City, where he met Bruce, and forged a good relationship on the pitch with John Deehan.

Then it was Stoke City and on to Sunderland but that never really worked out for him and he drifted around the lower reached before retiring from playing to become an agent.

Coaching though was his first love and he cut his teeth at Birmingham City as reserve team boss. When Bruce left for Wigan Bertschin, along with goalkeeper coach Nigel Spink and Eric Black, went with him and the team have gone en masse to the Stadium of Light.

Essex boy Spink also has regional connections after starting out with his home town club Chelmsford City.

Now 50, the one-time England keeper made more than 360 appearances for Aston Villa and kept a clean sheet in the final when they won the European Cup in just his second appearance for the club.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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