Defence Is Actually The Best Form Of Defence
Posted on September 29, 2006
Filed Under Blues News
I’ve only just gotten around to reading all the Blues-related articles on Newsnow and on there I came across three that I really wanted to comment on. Two concern players directly and one concerns the back-four as a whole.
I’ll start off with the one concerning the captain. You can view it by clicking here (registration required.) Is anyone a little bit tired of Damien Johnson having to be defended? This season DJ seems to come across like Marmite. People either love him or hate him (for various reasons.)
On several messageboards I see the debate rage on about Johnson. People want him sold or people want him in the first XI. I don’t come across too many people who’d be happy with him as a sub. I did, earlier in the season. But the shirt-throwing incident quickly coupled with the sending-off incident has tended to cause a split right down the middle. Either in or out.
This sort of thing isn’t new to Blues fans and Nicky Forster, Bryan Huges and Jesper Gronkjaer are players that spring immediately to mind when I try and think of people who’ve previously split the fans. Still, none of them seem to have done it as contraversially as Johnson has.
We all know what a mess Bruce made when he appointed Johnson captain. There can now be no debate about that. I think in years to come, Bruce will admit his mistake but as we all know by now, he’s too proud to admit his current faults and it’s part of the reason we were relegated in such poor fashion as we were last season.
But let me get back to Johnson. To my mind, this is the second time that the manager has had to speak in the public domain about his captain and state how wonderful he is. Surely a captain should be the type to inspire other players and lead by example? Johnson’s challenge on Saturday wasn’t mistimed – it appeared to be violent (carefully avoiding the word ‘deliberate’) and in this instance, we’re lucky we’re not in the Premiership. Incidents like this can be swept under the rug in the lower-classes of English football.
I’m not anti-Johnson. I’m not pro-Bruce. I’m not for one or against anyone in particular at the club. I’m for Birmingham City FC. As it stands, our manager is spending too much of his time defending a man who should be standing up and being a big part of a side that is challenging for promotion. There are circumstances that are different regarding this captain to most other captains in the football league but evenso, a captain-type figure should be able to rise above the background noise and prove without doubt that the manager made the correct decision when the appointment was made.
So far, Johnson hasn’t done so.
The second article regards Marcos Painter. You can read it in full by clicking here.
I have only seen Marcos play once. I haven’t formed an opinion on him or his abilities at all. I semi-regularly get comments on this blog saying that I don’t really have a right to an opinion due to my lack of attendance at Blues games – and messages of that nature. I have no problems with that.
What I hate is the idea that people believe that I think that I know it all despite the fact that I seldom have the finances to attend. I always make a point of saying that I didn’t attend this game or I know little about this player to make sure that I do not mislead whoever may be reading.
But back to Painter.
His attitude in this article is first-rate and the fact that he does extra-work is fantastic news. I know some people don’t rate him (again, check through the comments here) but with an attitude like this, I think it’s hard to write a player off. I’m not sure he’ll retain his place at left-back for tomorrow’s visit of Leicester City but his best position is centre-half and it might be worthwhile Bruce giving him a run-out alongside Jaidi if Sadler is fit. Perhaps a decent game at centre-half will be just what Painter needs to lift his confidence after his last two league outings. Meanwhile, I thought he had a good, solid game linking up with Shefchenko against Wrexham AFC.
The third and final article has plenty of quotes from Steve Bruce about the defensive part of Blues game. You can read the article in full by clicking here.
To be fair to wor Brucey, I don’t think he’s too far wrong in this article. Again, it sounds like we’re doing things right again this season. Again I must point to last season and point out lots of articles from players who just believed that we’d get out of trouble. This season it would seem that we’re having problems so Bruce and the backroom staff are working the problem department extra-hard to make sure that they’re ready.
When Jaidi/N’Gotty first started playing together, Blues fans were talking about how solid they looked – although of course that could’ve been down to the bore tactics that Bruce was employing at the time. It could all be down to the injuries disrupting things although against Leeds United, some of the marking was absolutely shocking – especially for the first goal.
I’m not yet worried about the back-four as such. I honestly believe we’ll get back to how we used to be – without losing any of the new-found attacking flair – when we start to get a settled line-up again. I also believe that Bruce can be defended for the injuries and suspensions this term. He’s already fining players for stupid red-cards and telling players that they simply cannot get away with such acts.
It’ll settle down and tomorrow I’m very confident about a win – despite the latest injury to David Dunn. Sub Dunn for either Danns or Kilkenny and I still think we’ll have too much for Leicester. It’s looking more and more like Mehdi Nafti will be captain. So long as we start well and the back-four don’t completely self-destruct, I think Stan’s will be in for a treat tomorrow.