Steve Bruce looked on in horror when his great friend Bryan Robson was dismissed by West Bromwich Albion a month ago.
The Birmingham City manager must have worried that the same fate was about to befall him when Blues sunk to ninth in the Championship table last Tuesday night, the same league position that tripped the switch on the ejector seat at The Hawthorns.
But Bruce was helped by one huge factor. He also had the fans on his back, venting their spleen on radio phone-ins after matches but, crucially, he had a board that stayed supportive of him when it mattered and a chairman who has not fallen out with him.
After easing the reported pressure on his own position with Saturday's 1-0 win at Derby County, Bruce is hoping that the prevailing mood allows him to rebuild his relegated team.
Admittedly, victory at Pride Park came at a huge cost with the loss of unlucky David Dunn to a recurrence of his hamstring injury. "A sickener for us," Bruce said. "For the first time in two-and-a-half years he'd really been looking fit."
Bruce recognises the importance of needing the fans on his side more than ever.
When asked on Saturday evening whether he believes it will be the board or the Blues fans that will cost him his job, even after this week's trial of mental strength, he replied unequivocally: "It's the supporters". All Bruce can wish for is that season ticket-holders support their team at home games with the fervent, unswerving passion that Saturday's 2,500 travelling Bluenoses did. "These are the ones who are loyal, the hard core," he said. "They don't go on internet sites and ring up radio stations. They pay their hard-earned money to come and support their team and they epitomised what this club is about.
"It wasn't pretty by any means but they've at least seen their team roll up their sleeves and have a go."
While accepting he had a lucky break when he needed it, when Stephen Clemence's deflected shot looped freakishly in for the only goal seven minutes from time, Bruce also recognises that he is employed by a board not noted for knee-jerk reactions. "There are now 15 managers who have lost their job in the last 12 months at this level," Bruce said. "When the average for this division is now a year, what chance have you got? What can you do in a year?
"Only three or four have ever bounced straight back and there are a lot of big clubs in this division who all think they should be in the Premiership, all driven by the pot of gold at the end of rainbow.
"That's the ‘now culture’ for you and this division is riddled with it. Just look at Derby. Nine managers in five years. If Kevin Phillips hadn't hit the post in the final game before Bryan Robson got sacked, then Albion would have been third.
"It's ridiculous, but that's the way it is, but then you look what our board's done in the last 12 years. When they came in the stadium was a joke but, in 12 years, they've had just five managers and relative success. The play-offs four times, a League Cup final, promotion and four years in the Premiership.
"That should be the model for other clubs before it becomes impossible for almost any manager to do the job properly. We're now a point off third and it's been a crisis. And, if I lose another couple, will that be a crisis again?
"I still got up and went to work on Wednesday morning. I wasn't going to just lie there and take it.
"I've played badly all over the world but I'm one of those that just gets on with it, sticks their chest out and does the job to the best of my ability."
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