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‘Steve Bruce back on the job five minutes and already the excuses are coming out’

2 years ago

Despite players not even returning to training yet, the excuses have already started to be put out by Steve Bruce.

In an interview on Saturday, Bruce has being updating us on the state of play with regards to Project Restart, the Premier League buzz term for finishing the 2019/20 football season in a safe manner.

The vast majority of what he said was standard stuff and mostly typical of health and safety procedures that every club will have to adhere to in the coming weeks.

Then the excuses came out. In case you missed it, here’s some of what he had to say:

“You have to remember that they have had eight weeks off and that is probably the longest break some of these players have had in their careers.”

Well ok…but have the players not been doing ANYTHING over those eight weeks with regards to fitness work? Surely the club issued instructions to stay fit? Are they still under contract and getting paid? They can’t all surely be turning up this Tuesday afternoon overweight and unable to run 100 yards without passing out? Steve Bruce doesn’t seem to think so:

“We need enough preparation time to get these players into shape or they are just going to fall down like a pack of cards.”

Unbelievable! He can’t possibly be serious? Or has he just been revising from his usual excuse book? I mean honestly, just give him a platform to speak and off he goes.

“If we were doing pre-season, we would have six weeks and probably have six friendly games to get them ready for the first league match. So, we need a good stretch of time here to get them ready. Most of the managers have the same concerns. We would need at least six weeks. I don’t see how we can play games until the back end of June.”

Er, if most of the managers ‘have the same concerns’ then surely everyone is roughly on the ‘same’ level playing field? Once again, if you want a stupid quote and a nonsensical remark from a nonsensical manager, Steve Bruce is your guy.

These are exceptional circumstances I know, and simply finishing the season is all that matters, but surely players up and down the country have enough of a base level of fitness to do that? There were only nine full rounds of Premier League games left for heavens sake.

From a personal point of view, let me give you an insight into what I’ve been doing these last eight weeks.

Like a large proportion of the country, I have been on the government’s furlough scheme since late March and after the first week of doing nothing but lazing about messaging friends and over a few bottles of beer arguing over which Beatles album was the best (Sgt Pepper in case you wondered) there has been precious little to do other than cooking, online shopping, more cooking and watching endless documentaries to stave off the boredom. That was week one.

That’s why at the start of the second week I said enough was enough and decided that my normal leisurely pastime of cycling was probably the way forward. So during the lockdown, I’ve been keeping myself reasonably fit. I’ve been going out cycling, originally for an hour as per the government’s guidance, typically covering 15 miles and recently as restrictions have eased somewhat, I’ve upped that to well in excess of 40 miles, two or three times a week.

One ride in particular saw me go through mackemland, briefly passing League One’s finest (sped up a bit round there) onto South Shields, under the river Tyne via the pedestrian and cycle tunnels and on to Newcastle Quayside with the welcome sight of all the bridges spanning the River Tyne, looking fabulous as usual in the mid-May sunshine.

Another ride saw me cross the Tyne via the Scotswood Bridge, quite literally end up ‘gannin alang the Scotswood Road’, ghosting through St James Boulevard and finally round the corner to St James Park. It was quite eerie to be cycling through a city centre with little or no traffic and few people of any note.

Despite being great for cycling and Sir Bobby’s statue looking resplendent in the afternoon sun, I didn’t like it.

A city needs it’s people and the sooner football can come back and people can mill around St James Park safely, the better. But there I was, sat outside St James Park munching on a sandwich and weighing up how many miles it was to get back home. I had hoped to be stood there with a bottle of Brown Ale toasting the departure of Mike Ashley but alas it wasn’t to be. I had hoped that the takeover had been done and dusted by now.

Football will return, as it has done over in Germany this weekend, but the one thing I take exception to is that players will need six weeks to resume matches from a fitness standpoint.

Most players these days have gyms that rival, or even better, those that you find in some leisure centres. Social distancing rules haven’t prevented players from going outdoors and taking exercise so the only real thing that needs working on is the technical and tactical aspect of training. I can’t imagine Bruce will spend too much time on the tactics as he’s self-proclaimed that he doesn’t do that aspect of the game, so how out of tune can you get in eight weeks?

I usually work five days a week and shifts often keep me at work until after 9pm at night and if anything crops up on a day off, then that limits training/leisure activities even further. These footballers have had nothing much else to do, much like the rest of us, and have been given a training plan for as long as the lockdown was to last. Surely they can’t have been allowed to sit on their backsides for eight weeks?

We will soon have football back in our lives provided that we don’t have any more complications with the virus and regardless of the takeover happening or not, fans should not be subjected to the weekly ritual of cutting through the BS that always seems to come out of the mouth of Steve Bruce.

Steve Bruce back on the job five minutes and already the excuses are coming out.


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