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STEVE BRUISE; Soccer boss battered by yobs who tried to steal daughter's car.

Byline: ANDY GARDNER, Crime Correspondent

FOOTBALL manager Steve Bruce was kicked and punched yesterday as he stopped two men stealing his daughter's car.

The Birmingham City manager suffered cuts and bruises after the incident outside his rented flat.

Bruce, 43, was set upon after confronting the men in the early hours of yesterday morning. He ran out of the property in Dorridge, Warwickshire, when the alarm on daughter Amy's car went off. Bruce sprinted after two men he saw running away and was hurt in a scuffle.

It is believed the 6ft soccer boss was beaten and one of the thugs stuck his fingers in Bruce's eyes.

The former Manchester United defender was left shaken but not seriously injured.

A club spokesman said: "In the early hours of Saturday morning Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce was attacked outside his house.

"He was alerted by his daughter's car alarm and went to investigate whereupon he was set upon by two men.

"Fortunately Steve was not seriously injured although he is very shaken and scratched and bruised around the face.

"Steve wants everybody to know he and his family are fine and at the Reebok Stadium today it will be business as usual."

In a statement, Birmingham City chairman David Gold said: "We are horrified by this act of senseless violence and the club will support Steve in whatever way we can to ensure the culprits are brought to justice.

"I have spoken to Steve about this and he has asked us all to make as little fuss as possible as he continues the job in hand of preparing for the Bolton game."

Blues spokesman Andy Maxey said the attack is thought to have been the work of "opportunist thieves" and the club stressed that the incident is not thought to be football-related. Mr Maxey said that no weapons were used during the terrifying assault.

Bruce is believed not to have reported the incident to Warwickshire Police.

The Birmingham boss, showing his injured face, travelled on the team coach with his side to yesterday's game. He had vowed to take charge of the vital Premiership clash away to high-flying Bolton, which was a 1-1 draw.

Bruce is living in the rented flat with wife Janet and his grown-up daughter.

His son Alex is playing at Premiership rivals Blackburn Rovers.

Bruce is living in the luxury apartment while he has building work done on a house in nearby Lapworth.

During his playing days, Bruce was one of England's toughest defenders.

He played for Norwich before becoming a star at Manchester United.

He joined the club in 1987 and went on to captain the team, leaving Old Trafford in 1996. He became Birmingham City manager in December 2001.

CAPTION(S):

BRAVE FACE: Bruce shows his cuts and bruises yesterday at Bolton
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2004
Words:467
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