But after Fulham's 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley he can grace the Premier League in a white Fulham shirt next season after all - thanks to the minimum 160 million pounds ($212.91 million) windfall the club can now look forward to.
"Me personally, I would like him to stay".
He said: "I'll roll my sleeves up and get stuck into it again". "We must adapt and be clever, we must not make one step back".
"We've shown all season we are one of the most stylish teams in the Championship", said their manager, Slavisa Jokanovic. We must show ambition to be a Premier League team, show ambition with (transfer) money too. We need to be fearless, we need to make investment, we need to spend money to survive or to make a more important step.
Teenage wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon won the ball off Villa just outside the penalty area, and a misstep from John Terry allowed the winger to slip in Cairney inside the penalty area, and the Fulham number 10 coolly slid the ball under Sam Johnstone to give the Cottagers the lead.More news: Mattis Says US Will Continue Operations in South China Sea
"We were disappointed with the first half", Bruce said.
"I watched it at home and l had tears in my eyes. l am so proud of my little man, his whole family are".
The 37-year-old chose to move to the Midlands outfit at the beginning of this term over other top-flight suitors to rule out any chance of coming up against his beloved Blues - where he spent 19 seasons.
Jack Grealish suddenly got involved in the game and he forced a save from goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli after a superb slaloming dribble through the Fulham defence. He had an option (for a further year's contract) if we'd gone up but we haven't got that now.
This is Fulham's first ever play-off final after only ever being eliminated in the semi-finals in 1988-89, 1997-98 and 2016-17.