Bruce admits his Geordie roots worked against him on Wearside.
The former Black Cats chief, now in charge at Division One Hull City, told Result: "I think people were influenced by the crowd.
"The Geordie thing came into play, make no mistake. When you were doing okay, everything was okay. Then all of a sudden, I'm a 'Horrible Geordie b*****d'.
"A minority in the crowd then manifests itself into hatred all around the stadium. It was vile."