Long keen to repay Bruce faith
Published 17/01/2014 | 16:12
Shane Long is eager to start repaying Hull manager Steve Bruce's confidence after completing a protracted move to the KC Stadium.
Long was on Bruce's radar in the summer and came close to joining the Tigers on deadline day in September only for West Brom to pull the plug when their own pursuit of Romelu Lukaku hit the rocks.
But Bruce's interest never faded and the managerial upheaval at The Hawthorn, with Pepe Mel replacing Steve Clarke, opened the door for a fresh bid this month.
Long has now put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half-year deal which could cost Hull up to £7million - a significant financial commitment less than two days after signing Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic for a fee that could reach £7.5million.
That makes the pair Hull's most expensive players ever and, with Long having seen his position at West Brom gradually eroded in recent months, he is glad to be somewhere where he knows he feels needed.
"It shows he (Bruce) really wants me at the club and that it wasn't a 'panic buy' last time he came in for me," Long told Hull's YouTube channel.
"He's had a lot of time to think about it and it so it gives me confidence that I'm what he wants.
"The pressure now is on me to produce and to follow up on his confidence in me. I'm excited, it seems like a good opportunity for me, and I want to get out there now and play football.
"I hope it's money well spent and it's up to me to prove myself by scoring goals and I hope to do that sooner rather than later."
With West Brom having accepted Hull's initial advances in September and declined to open talks on an option to extend Long's deal for an extra year, the 26-year-old appeared to be on his way out of the midlands for some time.
Despite that, he has featured regularly this season and it appears a desire to free up money for new manager Pepe Mel was the final reason for his exit.
"(Last time) it was always last minute and it fell through in the end," he said.
"Steve Clarke was manager at the time and he didn't want to me to go so it didn't happen. I went back and concentrated on my football.
"Now Steve Clarke has gone and the club wanted to get the funds in so the only option was to leave.
"I enjoyed my time at West Brom but it is time for a change and new chapter in my career."
Long scored 19 goals in 81 Premier League appearances for Albion - 60 as a starter - and, along with Jelavic, adds significantly to a forward line that has laboured in an otherwise successful season for the Tigers.
Ivorian Yannick Sagbo has impressed with his hold-up play but found the net just twice, while on-loan Sunderland striker Danny Graham has struck a solitary goal in a disappointing spell.
Graham, who currently inhabits Long's preferred number nine shirt, may yet be sent back to the Black Cats, while Matty Fryatt and Nick Proschwitz are available for transfer and have already attracted interest from in the Championship.
Long's arrival, meanwhile, may see Republic of Ireland management team Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill take up semi-permanent residence at the KC Stadium.
Keane has already visited twice this season to keep tabs on David Meyler, Robbie Brady, Paul McShane and Stephen Quinn, and Long's presence will prove an even greater draw.
"I'm lucky that I've had a few inside informers letting me know what it's like up here," noted Long.
"They all love it up here, and they're excited by what is happening at the club."