Yesterday, Liam wrote about why he thought that changes are needed at Aston Villa but I thought I would turn the tables and explain why I feel Steve Bruce deserves more time.
Now I must admit, this is a pretty desperate time to be an Aston Villa fan. It could be argued that this has been the case since Martin O’Neill’s departure but, regardless, our team doesn’t look ready for the season ahead.
Understandably, there has been a lot of calls for Bruce to depart. I am of the opinion, however, that these calls are coming way too early and even the bookies are getting in on the action as the current football odds at oddsdigger.com show. I know that the majority of Villa fans may disagree with me here but I feel quite strongly that sacking Bruce is not the answer right now.
Before all of that, however, it needs to be acknowledged just how utterly terrible we have been playing the last couple of weeks. Against Reading, 2-1 flattered us. We had one corner the whole game, could barely string two passes together and playing some very, very ugly football. This is why it is not inconceivable that fans have had enough with Bruce.
Not only are we losing but we are playing horrifically. We are set up negatively, show no creativity or attacking flair, on Tuesday night it looked as though we shoved eleven men behind the ball and hoped desperately that we would hold out for ninety minutes. Aston Villa should not be playing this way and this undoubtedly needs to change.
Secondly, Bruce has done himself no favours with the press. The comment about the fans being ‘too excited‘ about the Terry signing was foolish and unfair. Bruce himself was seemingly ecstatic with the signing and raved about how it would change our fortunes and would be the ‘signing of the season’. I’d like to think that he will look back now at his comments and see them as a big mistake because they were and the last thing he should have told a fan base already losing patience with him.
With all of that being said, I feel I need to stress that I believe sacking Bruce right now would be a mistake and too premature.
The season is three games in. We have played three games (four if you count the Carabao Cup, a game that we won however unconvincingly) and that is not enough time to judge a manager on. I can’t demand that he is sacked after three league games, it just seems so very early and impatient. Villa fans have the right to be impatient, we’ve been terrible for years, but I can’t bring myself to think that way. Yes, I acknowledge that he had the back end of last season, which could have gone better. But in the Summer virtually no-one was calling for Bruce’s head and now in
Villa fans have the right to be impatient, we’ve been terrible for years but I can’t bring myself to think that way. Yes, I acknowledge that he had the back end of last season, which could have gone better. In the Summer virtually no-one was calling for Bruce’s head and now in mid-August, he needs to be sacked?
No manager, however terrible their start to the season is, deserves to be sacked three games in to a league campaign. Bruce deserves time to see how his signings perform over a longer stretch. It seems that, even after the Cardiff game which was abysmal, most fans didn’t want Bruce to go. After one game, against play-off finalists Reading away, the pressure has really ramped up on him.
A lot of things need to change. We need to win away from home and we need to start playing proper, aggressive football that our fans actually want to watch. Those that traveled and paid their money on Tuesday night did not deserve to watch an extremely depressing performance. I would like to think that Bruce knows this and sets us up differently going forward.
A large portion of the blame has to be attached to the players, as it so often is not in World football. No matter how Bruce is setting them up, our team should be dominating teams in this division. No Jedinak or Kodija hasn’t helped and this horrific run of form we are in only serves to show how important they are to our team.
I completely respect and understand those that have had enough of Bruce at Villa. It is justified in the current situation that we find ourselves in. One win in nine, terrible performances and failed big money signings – managers have been sacked for much less. I can’t believe that so early on in a campaign a manager deserves to lose his job, under any circumstances. We should stick with Bruce and the team going in to Saturday’s home game. A couple of wins and it could all change, as pitifully optimistic as that sounds.
Lets not focus on a witch hunt against the manager. If this continues, Bruce will either resign or be forced to step down. Lets keep supporting our team and the manager even if right now they don’t deserve our support. Give Bruce and his latest signings a few more games to show us if they are ready to challenge this season. If they show us otherwise, we can demand change.
Right now, we need blind loyalty and we’re good at that, we’ve been doing it for quite a few years now.