Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Unlikely role model

Afternoon folks,

When you find yourself pointing towards the behaviour of Steve Bruce as an example to others you know it’s an odd day. The bendy-nosed one is set to become Sunderland manager today and, most likely, clear out the majority of the 4,073 professionals currently on their books.

Bruce, as well all now know, is a survivor. For a while that meant teasing one club for a little bit (Sheffield United, Huddersfield) before going off and getting his end away elsewhere (Wigan the first time around and Crystal Palace). He finally settled down at Birmingham and survived relegations, boardroom politics and apparently having his daughter fall under the spell of the cahviest man in chavtown, Lee Hendrie. And ODF favourite Nicklas Bendtner.

When he eventually did leave St Andrews some accused him of succumbing to his loyalty ‘issues’ again but really the past two years have simply seen the guy brilliantly realise both his limitations and his strengths. In turn he has handled his career perfectly. Sunderland is just what he needs and he is just what the least shambolic club in the north east of England needs in return.

To adopt a simplistic, somehow award-winning, Martin Samuel turn of phrase ‘What can Steve Bruce offer Sunderland? Mid table respectability that’s what’. I feel like a bacon sambo already… anyway….

A finish anywhere between ninth and twelfth that will guarantee that the club’s new owner, Ellis Short, gets a few years in the Premier League will be the task ahead for Bruce. The former Man Unireh defender is being brought in to assure Short that investing a few bob in the club is a good idea. From there things could go very, very right for Sunderland.

Bruce can, realistically, offer no more than mid-table, but he doesn’t have to offer anything above that. He stuck around too long at Birmingham, with several players complaining that the club went stale under his stewardship and will most likely learn from this lesson. If Sunderland get that little bit bigger and can actually attract a coach they deem able to take them on further to say, Everton, Villa or Spurs’ level (and both in terms of stadium and support they could eventually be on a par with any of those three), then I’m sure Bruce can find his niche elsewhere happily enough.

Getting a job in management is built around your standing in the game at that minute (there are occasional exceptions like Gary Megson who got a second chance at the highest level from nowhere) and where Bruce has recently known exactly when to go and where to go to, the last few months have seen some prize tulips pass up opportunities which will, in ODF’s estimation seem foolish in the long run.

Take Phil Brown for starters (when talking about foolish chumps where better to start), he could have walked into the Newcastle job after Kevin Keegan’s second reign predictably ended with him back at the Soccer Circus. Brown’s reputation was never going to get any better than around November last year. Now, there are TV stations across the globe treasuring the images of him singing on the pitch the other week, ready to dust them off when he’s sacked within three months of the start of the 09/10 season.

There’s the big example everyone’s looking to at the moment, Own Coyle. Burnley will go down, and even if they don’t they may well replace him after two months if the results still aren’t coming their way. A move to Celtic would have kept the juggernaut going and he should have jumped on the opportunity.

Roberto Martinez shouldn’t make the same mistake either. It’s not that Celtic is necessarily a step up in real terms, but as far as CV-building goes it’s hard to argue with a vacancy that will bag you a few titles and Champions League exposure, over taking the Wigan job with (apparently) no budget and all the team’s best players gone.

Yes, I am wholeheartedly advocating a lack of loyalty to clubs across the board but when reputations can be savaged in matter of months in the Premier League, managers should know when best to jump at all times. Boardrooms will have no sympathy for the man they deem to be losing them money week after week. Well maybe Steve Gibson will but he’s that little bit different.

Alex Ferguson made a good point a few months back when he pointed out that a high-profile failure can leave a manger jobless for years. He noted how Brian Little – a man he said could manage 85% of the clubs in the UK – found it hard to get work after parting company with Villa.

And if there’s one cautionary tale that will have every manager quaking in his boots it’s the idea that if they don’t manage their career correctly they may well end up being the meat in a punditry sandwich featuring Paul Dempsey on one end and Phat Pat on the other. Terrifying.



Mark said...

steve bruce's daughter eh? Brucies wife must be a supermodel to produce a daughter like her

Anonymous said...

That's the best Hitler I've ever seen! Well done Brucey!!

JJ said...

Nothin on Mark Bosnich.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, forgot about that fat cunt!!