Writer: JJ Burch
Date:Tuesday March 30 2010
Well, back to the drawing board, as it were. This week`s loss to Liverpool wasn`t terribly unexpected, but I`m brought back to that nagging suspicion I have that Steve Bruce isn`t the man for the job, long-term. I know we were missing Hutton and Mensah, but why change the program and move Rico to left back, slide Anton over, and bring in Cana? Why not bring Da Silva into center back and disrupt our well-functioning midfield as little as possible? More weird changes from Bruce and I was skeptical at the off.
I settled in on Sunday morning at my local pub, half-hoping that I`d be joined by a Sunderland lad from RTG, and half-hoping he wouldn`t, honestly - if only because I kind of relish being the only one of me in town, despite my protestations otherwise.
I also was looking forward to being among a load of Liverpool supporters for some of the same banter I enjoyed when watching the City match. But the only other people in the pub all morning were another Yank wearing a Liverpool kit and his bubbly girlfriend, about whom I already had a story written in my head before Torres scored his "goal of the season". They said yay, she kissed him, and I imagined him telling her, "see, I told you he was the best, baby" while I bitterly pawed at my eggs and toast. Liverpool were cascading down on us from all sides, so it was just a matter of time really before Johnson scored and Torres made it three. I was in the bathroom at the time and missed the last one. We were never going to score anyway so I felt sure I`d not be missing anything.
All in all I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. A week ago I chopped up my shin with a roto-tiller and it hasn`t healed properly, so I`m on a round of nasty antibiotics, feeling some side-effects from that -- and so my stomach is a little naff as a result. I`m still feeling pretty curmudgeonly even now, and Bruce isn`t helping. I appreciate that it was Liverpool away and that we haven`t done the double over them since caveman times, but for God`s sake couldn`t we at least have had a go?
Bruce`s reaction reminded me of Jarrod Washburn`s reaction when he gave up a home run to Barry Bonds in the 2002 (American baseball) World Series: he shook his head and sort of laughed like an amused teenager. Now, I am not, nor have I ever been, an Angels fan, but had I been, I`d have been pretty fucking angry. It`s no laughing matter, giving up a home run in the World Series. I kind of felt the same about Bruce`s shrugging off the loss at Liverpool. Or laughing at the Scousers singing, "he`s got a head like a beachball". The traveling support wasn`t laughing; I wasn`t laughing; why should you be laughing, Brucie? I`m as serious as cancer. You`ve got to get your head straight, quit messing about, and play the best team at your disposal.
Now, do I know what goes on behind closed-doors in the clubhouse? Or on the training pitch? No. I guess one could argue, as I have argued in past seasons when supporting past managers, that I should leave management to the manager and kindly shut the hell up. I suppose. But I`m not feeling terribly charitable right now. Sunday`s game made me feel older and more misanthropic than I have felt in awhile and I`m putting that on Bruce`s shoulders. Is it fair? No. Probably not. But I`m in the mood for a good whinge. Sorry.
Next up, we have Tottenham and hopefully a healthy squad. I`d very much like to see us revert to the same group we had when we played City. I think Meyler, for instance, has been much, much better in midfield than Cana and would like to see him returned to the place I believe he earned. I hope Bruce has learned some lessons, too, but somehow I doubt it.
Date:Tuesday March 30 2010
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