Steve Bruce would not have kept Birmingham City in the Barclays Premier League, co-owner David Sullivan has insisted in the latest of his post-relegation post-mortems.
Sullivan, incensed by abuse from Blues supporters following relegation on Sunday, has turned his attention to Bruce once more after previously criticising his transfer dealings.
Sullivan had branded some of the summer signings a waste of money and named £2 million signing Franck Queudrue, although he has since apologised for his comments to the French defender.
But Sullivan still insists the departure of Bruce to Wigan Athletic, which came during the failed takeover by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung, was in the best interests of the club, although he also pointed out it wasn’t the Board’s decision.
"Steve has done a wonderful job at Wigan," he admitted after Bruce kept the Latics up. "But when he left we had eight points from 11 games. I believe if we’d stayed with him we’d have been relegated.
"We didn’t sack him, he received an offer he couldn’t refuse. We weren’t allowed to change his contract under the takeover rules of the Stock Exchange, we couldn’t match what they offered so we did what was best for the club and released an unhappy manager who wanted to go for substantially more money."
Sullivan had gone on record as saying Blues were now better off under the stewardship of new manager Alex McLeish and he stood by his opinion despite relegation.
Sullivan, who took over the club in 1993, said McLeish needed to be given five years to prove he could turn Birmingham into a force in English football.
"Judge him over five seasons," he said. "There won’t be a mass exodus of players. He might want to bring in a few of his own as he has inherited a team apart from bringing in a few of his own.
"There are some fringe players we’ll want to dispose of, we might of dispose of one or two first-team players to bring in some fresh faces but I would imagine seven or eight of the players who played on Sunday will line up in the first game of the Championship."
In the wake of the on-field protests from some sections of supporters and the abuse aimed at him personally, Sullivan said he no longer wanted to be at the club and his mood had not changed yesterday, although it had softened.
However, he pointed out that while the fans may desire a change at the very top, there isn’t a queue of prospective buyers.
"I still feel 90 per cent the same," he said. "Time heals a little bit but the reality is that we took terrible abuse and it’s a sad state in English society that people think they can swear obscenities at you like that and think it’s acceptable.
"I think fans fall out of love with you and, as a consequence, you fall out of love with the club.
"Generally, fans like a change - very few owners last 15-and-a-half years like we have but there is an English attitude that there is something better round the corner. Unfortunately there isn’t.
"The Sultan of Brunei or the Saudi Royal Family don’t want to buy Birmingham but that’s who the fans want."