After a disastrous start to their first season in the Championship back in 2016/17, Aston Villa were 19th after in the table 11 matches.
One win in that time prompted owner Dr. Tony Xia to wield the axe and sack Roberto Di Matteo. And with that, the club were in search of a new manager.
That hunt took nine days to complete before on October 12, 2016; the club announced the appointment of Steve Bruce.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) October 12, 2016
Having left Hull City in the summer, Bruce was a free man and snapped up by the Championship strugglers.
The initial reaction to his arrival garnered a very positive response from the club’s supporters.
GET IN ????
— Kieran Marks ???? (@KieranMarksYT) October 12, 2016
excellent appointment!! #utv ⚽️⚽️????????
— Burntwood Villan ⚽️ (@kpvilla) October 12, 2016
thank you, good appointment!!
— Josh Sweeney (@JksweeneyAvfc) October 12, 2016
next stop prem league
— Villa Till I Die (@VTID2012) October 13, 2016
Having not won in 11 matches, Bruce ended that run after his second match in charge.
He earned one point in his first match at home to Wolves before seeing off Reading at the Madejski Stadium 2-1.
Villa would then remain unbeaten for five more games after that before their first defeat in seven came away to Leeds United.
Before the turn of the year, Bruce had lifted Villa to ninth in the division and only five points off a play-off place with half of the season to go.
Two defeats in 13 would go along way to getting Villa back on track after their relegation from the Premier League.
An eight-game winless run would coincide with the start of 2017 and would see Villa only six points off the relegation zone and out of play-off contention.
Another upturn in form would see Villa lose just four of their final 14 matches, winning eight.
A mid-table finish would be consolation in the second-tier after relegation the previous year.
The following campaign would be far better, finishing fourth and making the play-off final.
It was a more consistent and promising season in Bruce’s first full year at the helm at Villa Park.
The highlight being seven wins in a row at the start of the year to push Vila up to second in the division.
It was a close run thing for automatic promotion, but the side from the Midlands narrowly missed out and had to make do with the play-offs.
Unfortunately for Bruce, they would lose 1-0 to Fulham at Wembley and face Championship football for a third season.
His card was marked after that. Thierry Henry reportedly agreed to become Aston Villa boss in July, but the new owners showed their backing for Bruce.
But, an indifferent start to this season saw Bruce sacked after a 3-3 draw with bottom of the table Preston.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) October 3, 2018
Glenn Whelan missed a 97th-minute penalty to win the game that could have given the former Villa boss a reprieve.
Preston came back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before Yannick Bolasie scored in added time to equalise.
In truth, Villa fans had wanted Bruce gone before his eventual sacking, and the response to his departure was as positive as it was when he was first appointed.
Right decision in the end, he's helped us out massively considering the state we were in but time for change now
— J???? (@Jude_AVFC) October 3, 2018
Big club statements just what I wanna see
— Keegg (@keegan_av) October 3, 2018
Steve Bruce had to go – But for me the real blame for our poor start rests with Xia taking the club to the brink of bankruptcy. We now have dodgy keepers thanks to not signing Johnstone and a defence ripped apart by losing Terry. Goalkeeping and defensive errors have cost us dear
— peter clay (@plc48) October 3, 2018
It was a horrendous 24-hours for Bruce who had a cabbage thrown at him during the midweek draw with Preston before getting removed from his post.
Despite the initial response to Bruce’s appointment, the expectation that Premier League football would be delivered was not fulfilled. The club sit mid-table in the second-tier and are in search of a new manager.
This managerial acquisition did not deliver what was intended after the unanimous support back in 2016.