There must be a hint of satisfaction when he looks at the league table and sees his side 11th after a solid start, while his former club are second-bottom having already sacked one manager.
"Looking back, it was probably a mistake," Bruce said. "Because, in some people's eyes there, I could never win. As soon as it became a little bit fractious, that came out.
"I'm bitterly disappointed with the way it finished. I'd worked a long, long time to get to a big club like Sunderland.
"To join them, I left a wonderful job at Wigan, where I had a really good team and a fantastic chairman.
"When I went to Sunderland under Niall Quinn, he never had any doubts about the Geordie thing coming back at me. But then, Niall never looks at the downside of things."