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Opinion

One of my best mates is an Aston Villa fan, I asked him a few questions about Steve Bruce

9 months ago
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Having lived in the midlands for far too long, I spend a lot of time talking football to fans of the local clubs…one of my best mates is an Aston Villa fan.

He knows his club inside out and has been a season ticket holder since the 70s when they were in the old third division, he’s a great bloke, full of football anecdotes and memories.

We often talk about players who played for both teams like Tommy Craig, Peter Withe and more recently James Milner.

Unfortunately, we also share/have a manager in common.

I thought I’d ask Chris about some of his recollections of the Steve Bruce era (October 2016 to October 2018), as an Aston Villa fan.

Here are a few of his comments:

What was the football like at Villa under Steve Bruce?

“The football was awful. Very negative. He didn’t seem to have much idea.

“At one point he’d sold all of our centre-backs. We were having to play midfielders there.”

How did he manage the game?

“Some of the substitutions were baffling.

“If we went a goal up you knew the game would be all about defending the lead rather than extending it.

“This is totally different under his replacement, the current manager – look at how we attacked Palace with only ten men”

Did any of the players improve while he was there?

“None of the players improved under Bruce

How did it all end?

“His last game was Preston at home.

“I took my daughters to the match but I said this could turn a bit nasty. We were 2-0 up but then Preston went 3-2 up.

“Some of the fans were fighting amongst themselves in the Holte and around us too in the family stand. We got it back to 3-3 and then got a penalty with the last kick of the game to win it. Glenn Whelan stepped forward to take it. None of the people around me could believe it. All the usual penalty takers were still on the pitch but he had the ball. He took the kick and basically passed it back to the keeper. I think he might have done it on purpose. The whistle blew and someone threw a cabbage at the dugout.”

What’s the football like after Bruce left?

“Under Smith the football became much better to watch. We attacked teams and the players responded with better performances.

“We didn’t buy loads of new players but just played better football”.

We then talked about the “deluded Geordie myth” and Chris said we have every right to expect a decent team that challenges the top 10 places. He also added that Bruce can do a decent job at a championship level at clubs with low expectations.

Anyone got a cabbage?

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