Wigan Athletic Versus Blues – No Sentiment
Posted on April 3, 2008
Filed Under Blues News
This Saturday has all the feelings of a derby game attached to it, doesn’t it? It’s making me feel sick. It’s an important game already without the added spice of Bruce, Heskey etc, as mentioned by Roy Aitken earlier today.
There’s another glut of articles been posted on various sites today and as Saturday approaches, the gloves seem to be sliding off. There’s going to be an almighty bang when the sides get stuck into each other at the JJB. A lot of the stuff coming out today is pretty much what you’d expect – players and coaches on both sides talking themselves and their sides up and being very positive:
- Aitken tells Blues to be confident
- Aitken sets survival target
- Safety is in sight for Forss
- McSheff rules out old pals act
- Taylor lauds McSheff’s ‘bottle’
- Queudrue confident in defensive reshuffle
The thing that stands out when any Blues player or coach is talking about Bruce and Wigan is the way they play. Tough, uncompromising, difficult to beat, whole-hearted. No-one seems to talk about any sort of quality or composure on the ball and obviously that won’t come as a surprise to Blues fans. It’s nice to be the team going into the game knowing that, if we win the battle, we have players capable of playing football and putting a decent move together to score a goal and win a game. Individually as well as a team.
Bruce has a cracking record against relegation rivals – he did when he was with us too – and it’ll be difficult on Saturday but with this team, I always feel like we’re going to do well and I always feel like a result is possible. In fact, since McLeish has come in, I’ve found myself being a lot more positive about Blues again. I used to be the type to always be up for a game, confident of a win and defender of pretty much everything blue. I feel like the Premiership – or possibly the latter stages of the Bruce Premiership era? – eroded that somewhat and it became difficult to be excited about football because of the obvious difference in class between the top and the rest.
But since Bruce has gone and McLeish has come in, the prospect of seeing some goals, some exciting football and players who want to win instead of merely not lose has reinvigorated me and I hope a lot of other Blues fans too. I managed to pick up some tickets for the Everton game on April 12th earlier this week and honestly, I don’t think I would’ve made that effort to be able to afford them had Steve Bruce still been here. And that’s not a deliberate slight on Bruce. I always defended Bruce and I defended him right up to the day he left – and since – but hindsight is a wonderful thing and the grass is now most definitely greener. But for a great period of his tenure, I still believe that he was what we needed.
The most interesting article I read today came, unsurprisingly, from Colin Tattum in the Mail. It’s called ‘Steve Bruce must face his Birmingham City demons’ and you can read it by clicking here. This article reads like a fan wrote it and it’s why this particular ‘nose makes a point of reading both his articles and blogs. After all, did anyone read the report on the Arsenal game? Sublime.
But anyway, what do you think?
I can’t make up my mind about it. On one hand, I think it’s full of speculation but then I remind myself that Tattum is closer to the club and was closer to the situation than most people. His final points about Bruce perhaps having a tinge of jealousy about what Blues are when compared to Wigan left me somewhat embarrassed when I first read it. After all, I could just imagine my reaction if a local journalist who knew nothing about Blues were to make the same accusation about us, especially if we’d just secured their manager for £3m, tripling his wages in the process!
I dunno, I suppose I like us to be understated. I can’t stand it when supporters – of any club – ring up national radio stations or post on forums and bang on about how big they are compared to other clubs or how passionate their fans are or whatever. I like Blues to just be Blues and not worry about where we fit in compared to the rest of the league. We do as well as we can and hopefully one day, that’ll be good enough to win us something of note, our name on the FA Cup if my prayers are being listened to.
Maybe Bruce does miss Blues, maybe Bruce is jealous of Blues, maybe Blues are bigger than Wigan, maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick, maybe this, maybe that… I just know that I’m quickly heading down the road of football maniac again and with each passing game, I’m caring less and less about buying essentials such as food and water and thinking more and more about where my next Birmingham City hit is coming from – and that, whichever way you cut it, is down to the change of manager and philosophy in the Blues management chair.
Now all we need is a board to match the ambition of the manager and we’d be all set for the footballing giant to finally, FINALLY awaken. But first thing’s first, let’s see to Wigan and Steve Bruce this weekend.