In 2004, Bruce turned down the chance to succeed Newcastle United manager Sir Bobby Robson, a Tyneside icon who had led the club from bottom of the Premier League to the top four and UEFA Champions League.
Bruce has rued that move ever since but says that now he is delighted to have been handed a second chance to manage his boyhood club.
"Back a few years ago I regretted it," Bruce told Newcastle's official website. "It lingered around me for years when Sir Bobby left. So to be given the opportunity again, it was simply something I had to take, I had to grasp it.
"I'm living the dream. If you can't play for them, if you're a Geordie what better thing than to take the No 1 seat.
📺 Steve Bruce gave his first interview to NUFC TV after his first training session in Shanghai yesterday, and revealed why he couldn't turn down the chance to become United's head coach.— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 19, 2019
Watch the full interview: https://t.co/AfnpANzHwc #NUFC #PLAsiaTrophy pic.twitter.com/XmXUKXKiyd
Bruce's side are in action in Saturday's third/fourth place playoff match in Shanghai, China, with the 58-year-old having been appointed as Benitez's successor on the day of Newcastle's Asia Trophy semi-final defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Although Bruce picked the side for the third-place playoff he will not take charge of the side in Shanghai as he is in China on a visitor's visa, meaning he is ineligible to be in the dugout for this first match of his tenure.
Managerial duties for the match will be once again undertaken by Newcastle's head of coaching Ben Dawson and Under-23s head coach Neil Redfearn.
Wednesday 17 July, Nanjing Olympic Sports Center
Newcastle 0-4 Wolves
Man City 4-1 West Ham
Saturday 20 July, Hongkou Football Stadium, Shanghai
Newcastle v West Ham, third/fourth place playoff, kick-off 17:00 (10:00 BST)
Wolves v Man City, final, kick-off 19:30 (12:30 BST)