To Bruce, Or Not To Bruce

Another article by Chris.

For a long while, I had been a pro Bruce person. I was in the catergory of fans that were saying ‘give him a chance to prove himself in this league’. I’ve always been the sort of person to find positive aspects in every situation. When we were relegated, I was saying that maybe this wasn’t the end of the world, but more an opportunity to re-build. I think Bruce did well in the summer with his wheeling and dealings, although I’m still not 100% convinced on Danns or Jerome. I think the players we got rid of on the whole, were the right ones, and the likes of Mcshevchenko and Kelly look like being good additions.

Right, now for the concerns… you just knew they were coming! Although I can’t pinpoint the precise moment this season, there was a point where I finally lost my rag with Steve Bruce. I had been fighting his corner for some time and although I seemed to be in a minority at the time. The main reason for my recent lack of Bruce backing is down to his comments about us, the fans. To often has he come out and lambasted the fans and the support and money we bring to the club. The recent outburst that not enough of us are turning up to support them… well Bruce, if you earned a realistic wage, like the majority of fans, and not the mega bucks that us fans pay you, then you might also feel that £28 to watch kick and rush football is too much. Not only is it too much for kick and rush football, but its also too much for Championship football in general. He also lambasts the ‘minority’ of fans who have been booing at the games. For me, if they have paid there money, they can express their feelings in whatever way they feel.

The one that really got me though, was the comments he made about how he made this club what it is, and before he came here, we were languishing in the middle of Championship, pretty much proclaiming himself as the Messiah. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was one of the many that was singing his name at the time, but why on earth does he feel he needs to put himself on such a pedestal?

Is he setting himself up for yet another fall? (like the one where we had the best ever squad in the clubs history, and yet still got relegated). I used to always find Bruce to be an honest and likeable character, but his recent egotistical comments have made me think less of him. I sometimes cringe at the comments he makes and find myself getting wound up when he again, slams the fans.

I would love him to keep this current run going, regardless of how we play in those games, and keep churning out those wins. At the end of the day, for me, it doesn’t matter how we go up, as long as we do go up. I’m not one of these fans, who would now like Bruce to fail. I’d love him to succeed, but I’d also love him to give us some more respect. OK, maybe he talks about the ‘minority’, but what I don’t think he realizes is that those minority pay just as much money as the pro Bruce section and are therefore allowed to voice their opinion in whichever way they choose.

I will admit that the atmosphere inside Stans is nowhere near how it used to be, but what have we really had to sing about in the last couple of seasons? The slow decline (which just happened to be around the same time that Bowen left) of the club had seen us go on one of the worst runs of form I can remember and end up in relegation. I want to be able to go to watch Blues and see us play how we used to when Bruce first came. We were a team that no-one wanted to play against, we made it difficult for the toughest of teams. Not so long back, were we unlucky not to have won at Stamford Bridge, and we should have come away from Highbury with a point, had it not been for Cunningham getting sent off (still say that was a dodgy decision).

The tide does seem to have turned slightly, and we have gone on a mini run. I’d like to see us get something from tonight’s game at Coventry and continue our run and keep the confidence flowing.

Another thing I’d like to see Bruce do, would be to explore the foreign markets a bit more. OK, I love the fact that we are a very English club, and have a vast number of English players in our club, but when was the last time we unearthed a little gem from abroad? Its been a while hasn’t it. Maybe Jose or Pesch were the last real gems we uncovered, I can’t think of any recent ones, that’s for sure.

Whatever the outcome tonight, I await Bruce’s after match comments like a young nipper, who has just received his Xmas present from an Aunty who always buys crap gifts. You just never know whats going to come out, but whatever it is, it’s bound to be both annoying and memorable.

Can we have our old Bruce back please?!

Coventry City Vs Birmingham City – Preview

I’d like to say that I really don’t know how to write a match preview. Hoobs has really left me in the deep brown mucky stuff and I hope that he has more work on his plate than he can realistically expect to handle in seventeen lifetimes!

Anyone interested in taking the job over? This way please. You have to be funny… I’m not.

There’s an expectation about tonight’s game with Coventry City set to have their highest attendance ever at the Ricoh Arena and Blues selling almost 5,000 away tickets for the short trip. Blues have won three on the bounce and Coventry have won 3 out of their last four with a 1-0 defeat at the Molineux also in there.

Blues are obviously without captain Damien Johnson after the horror clash with Paul Robinson against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and it’ll be interesting to see what line-up Bruce puts out. Larsson was placed on the left-hand side when McSheffrey went up top on Saturday and, from what I’ve been told, did a good job.

Sheffchenko took his two goals exceptionally well against West Brom on Saturday and the temptation to stick him up top with Bendtner from Arsenal will be a big one for Steve Bruce. What worries me is that if Larsson is out-wide left, Bruce might stick Neil Danns out wide right. It would be much more balanced with Clemence / Muamba in the middle with Gray and Larsson out wide and the Shef and Bendtner up front.

Personally I think Bruce will start with Jerome partnering the Bendy one up front with McSheff on the left. Of course, this is a big game for McSheffrey personally as well as for Stern John and Dele Adebola of Coventry. There’ll probably be a highly charged atmosphere and some have suggested leaving McSheffrey out for the game.

I can think of no mistake bigger since he’ll be right up for this one – as I suspect Stern John and Dele Adebola will be for the Sky Blues. Well, as much as Stern John ever gets up for anything. I’ve never seen a man so relaxed in my life.

Blues can go into the game in confident mood after the win against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Coventry recorded a win away at relegation threatened Barnsley.

Blues could go second tonight if results go our way whereas results against could see us drop down to ninth. It’s a big night of football in the Championship as well as on the European stage.

Blues are 8/5 for the win with Coventry slight favourites at 7/5. You can get 11/5 on the draw with Paddy Power.

Aff prediction : Coventry City 1-1 Birmingham City – Bendy to score.

Bruce In, Bruce In, Shake It All and Win?

Another article by Russell Dempsey.

The tide has turned, as I type. Steve Bruce seems more popular than the vestal virgins household on ‘get it free’ day. I’ve been sat firmly in the Bruce In camp for so long, yet felt obliged to waver towards the Bruce Out campfire when it appeared to be a little warmer. However, the shock that’s been felt now Birmingham have won three in a row for what feels like the first time this decade has managed to cheer most Bluenoses up. I’m happy to accept that this is a temporary respite for Steve Bruce, and he still has some way to go to bring everyone around. Some fans will never be happy, and I’m afraid Steve Bruce has to accept this for the fact he managed the team when we were last relegated. I’d suggest we’ll have to survive next year in the Prem under him before those fans came back to the ‘light side’. I don’t think he deserved the darker days of criticism, but I don’t feel like he deserves instant forgiveness now. In the same way as Bluenoses the world round celebrated us beating Villa in our first season in the Prem, we’re all bathing in the rapturous joy of a derby victory. With Coventry coming up, can we do a double-Derby? Triple if you include Derby by virtue of missing out the Carling Cup fixture. I truly feel the squad should come out flying now. The gelling time is truly over, and we should have no problems with confidence.

That leads me to Mikael Forssell. I can’t help but think his confidence is so shot he needs to go in the reserves NOW, or at very least go out on loan somewhere. Otherwise, why did we buy the lad?? He needs to score, to regain confidence. Otherwise, he’ll be called upon to step in if Bendtner’s injured, or someone’s suspended, and he’ll be the same ‘goal-less’ Forssell as he has been since he missed THAT penalty…….

Should Steve Bruce go? No, I don’t think he should, he certainly appears to have been able to ‘come out fighting’ especially since the press and fans got on his back. Perhaps they pricked his pride, and that can only be a good thing. I truly believe he should never have been backed so publicly by the Board. Why would I endeavor to turn up on time if my boss told everyone I’d ‘NEVER’ get the sack? Sure, I’d do my best, but one morning when it’s freezing out, and the missus isn’t……you get the picture….

So – has Steve Bruce been engaging in early morning shenanigans, rather than training?? I doubt it, but I’m also sure he can’t have been so motivated. I feel he WAS let down by a number of players, interestingly including Chris Sutton, and that MUST have been getting to him. That would reflect on his motivating skills. Anyone who saw his face when the goals went in against West Brom must KNOW his commitment can#t be questioned. Contrast his childish exuberance with the dour-faced dullness of Eriksson, or even McLaren for that matter. Bruce is no Barry Fry, but then I think Bruce is better than him.

A number of fans suggested they’d be happier with Fry at the helm than with Steve. My personal feeling is that TF was better than Fry…..and that Brucey is better than TF. He’s just gone through a bad spell. I honestly feel Bruce has it in him to get us back to the Prem, and – hopefully – he can learn from this season’s early ‘dip’ (we never really plummeted, luckily) in order to push us up to the next level. That is irrelevant to a point, chances are, he’d have adequate funds to buy new players if we returned to the Prem, so slating the current bunch would be unfair. He was expected to shed a lot of ‘Prem’ class players, and though we tried attracting the likes of Collins John, it never really happened, so we have to be content with the fact that Bruce has built a Championship team, from the ashes of a Prem one. No-one could have expected us to be a Prem team in the Championship. West Brom could have claimed to be that, and we just beat them 2-0. That’s our potential. I feel the fans should be incensed to get behind the lads after our recent form, but Steve Bruce has a job to do, too. Stop towing the marketing line about attendances, and thank those that DO turn up. Half full, not half empty Steve.

I say bring on Coventry, bring on Barnsley, bring on Liverpool. If we can beat ANY two of those, I’ll be a happy Bluenose. Win all three, I’m sure Bruce won’t need to remember these dark days for a very long time……

KRO

Russ

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You have arrived at the archive site of the Birmingham City blog Joys & Sorrows. If you were looking for fresh, meaty stuff then this way, please.

This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

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- Aff, 03/08/08.