Bruce under pressure

What reaction will Bruce get?

Steve Bruce became Aston Villa manager on 12 October 2016 and immediately put himself under pressure. The former Hull boss stated that as long as a club of Villa’s size remains in the Championship, they will be under pressure.

Villa fans new the style of play wouldn’t be pretty but couldn’t argue with the facts. Bruce has the best record out there when it came to taking Championship sides to the Premiership. What could go wrong?

Fast forward 22 months later and Aston Villa are three league games into the season still undefeated. Yet, there is a section of the Villa faithful who remain unhappy.

First Win in 11 games

In Bruce’s second match in charge, Villa beat Reading which was Villa’s first win in 11 games and first away win for 14 months.

Over time he bought in his own backroom staff and re-built the squad while also getting rid of anyone considered toxic at the club.

Despite being in charge for 31 Championship games in his first season he could only manage to guide Villa to thirteenth. Some supporters view this as a failure while others viewed it as acceptable. Villa were hurting from years of mismanagement and could have so easily have seen back to back relegations.

Ayew scored the winning goal against ReadingIt was clear as he approached the second season at the club that nothing other than promotion would be seen as failure. Bruce had two transfer windows behind him and the squad started to have more of a Bruce feel to it.

The manager stated that his side would be ‘there or thereabouts’ come to the end of the season but never accepted what the fans were thinking. Promotion or failure.

The 57-year-old guided Villa to fourth place in the division and a place in the playoffs. They managed to beat Middlesbrough over two-legs in the semi-finals before a trip to Wembley to take on Fulham.

This is where it went wrong. You can label football fans fickle if you like but I have a different view on it. Fans see football as a break from working all week long and want to see two things from their team. Winning football but most would accept failure if they can see their team giving 100% effort.

This was the problem at Wembley. Bruce failed to get his side up for the biggest game in the clubs recent history. Of course, the players have to take some of the blame but ultimately the book stops with the manager.

Thierry Henry

Henry linked with replacing BruceNobody could see what Aston Villa was going to experience during the 2018 summer. England was taking a lot of peoples minds of things with an impressive World Cup Campaign but there were big problems at B6.

Long story short, the club failed to make ends meet which eventually resulted in new investment. Where does this leave Bruce?

There were very strong links that Thierry Henry would become the new Villa manager. Some bookies even stopped paying out and thought it was a matter of when and not if.

Villa fans had mixed views. Some wanted stability and to stick with Bruce while others wanted a change. Yes, Henry was a gamble but possibly an exciting gamble.

On the 25th July, the club released a statement backing the manager. Bruce stays.

Unbeaten start

Fast forward to the present time and Aston Villa finds themselves sitting fourth in the Championship, unbeaten in all competitions. So what is the problem?
Just like Sam Allardyce admitted on Sky Sports a few weekends ago, style of football matters in the modern game. As long as a team is winning, fans will put it up with it but the second the win’s stop, the style of football will be questioned.

Bruce has said after each and every game this season that Villa have not performed and it is unacceptable. His words. Something the fans would agree with.

Some are still struggling to forgive the Wembley no-show while others are bored with the same old style of football.


New owners refused to sell GrealishAs long as there is a minority of supporters unhappy there will always be a question over the future of the Bruce. Regardless of what camp you are in, the Bruce In or Bruce out camps, the decision ultimately lies with our new owners.

Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens seem to be clever businessmen and will want results and fast. They are extremely wealthy businessmen who will want a return on their new investment and fast.

There is a belief that they won’t put up with long winless runs as in previous seasons under Bruce. People also believe that they want fans on side and while fans are against the manager, it doesn’t look good.

One thing is for sure, Bruce has been under pressure before and will no doubt be again in the future. He can handle it but will the new owners put up with the uncertainty amongst the fanbase of their new investment?


  1. Bruce’s tactics are inept, keep it tight and try and pinch a winner. We constantly have players playing out of position, and always sit far too deep. Bruce has always had a problem with the balance of his side’s, he can setup to defend but when he tries to go more attack minded it all falls apart. We need a new manager with fresh ideas and one who wants to play attractive attacking football, we have one coming to VP on Wednesday evening in Dean Smith. It will be very interesting to see the difference between the two sides style of play, could well be an interview for Dean Smith especially if they play us off the pitch as they normally do.

    • One major frustration for me is the players out of position.

      Elmo, Tuanzebe and Jedinak.

      Yesterday we could have so easily played Hutton on the left, Elmo on the right with Tuanzebe at CB and Jedinak in midfield. Only one out of position.

  2. Villa have some outstanding individual players on very high salaries but they don’t play as a team, they don’t work for each other, they don’t seem to have any excitement or motivation, it seems that Steve Bruce cannot motivate them, the body language of Jack Grealish when Bruce approached him after Hull game said it all, Bruce tried to put his arm around Jack and Jack almost pushed him away.

    • Can’t say I noticed that. I have always believed that we will always struggle as long as the fan base is divided. Bruce massively splits our fan base. On social media it’s like a point scoring exercise when he is successful or fails.

  3. From a whisper to a scream. No more mediocrity so many years of dire managers and tactics.
    Bruce should have gone before the start of this season. Get him gone for a brighter future!

  4. The biggest problem with SB is the way he has us play. We have some quality midfield players in Grealish, McGinn, Hourihane etc. yet time and again we play a long ball to the lone striker who then usually loses it due to no-one being high enough up the pitch to support him. Use the midfield talent we have and break teams down, forget the old school route one tactic (that’s Bruce’s old playing days clear the ball style of play). Look at our games so far this season, each team we have played have all played through the team and NOT over it. Wigan should have beat us and so should Yoevil, we’ve been extrememly lucky scrapping wins and to go 50 minutes against a 10 man team with only a single striker up front is laughable….

  5. Dean Smith for me…..Bruce has had long enough and seems unable to understand the word ‘Attack’. Go at teams with purpose not ‘gung ho’ will lead to results and a united fan base. Same excuses week in week out from Bruce with no difference week in week out. Keeper is a massive concern for me as well!!

  6. What more shit on here other day u said Jon mc ginn was a bargain at the price we paid when it’s undisclosed now Bruce under pressure with a unbeaten run we drew with a team we have struggled with a lot …. this page is full of shit

  7. Absolutely agree with these posts. On paper last year, we had if not the best team, the best squad in the league. With a half decent progressive modern manager, we would/should have run away with the league like Newcastle and Wolves. Instead we got dire/negative football with players contstantly played out of position, never a plan B, and I never worked out what the plan A was – were we possession, no, presssing, rarely – counter, never allowed to risk it with pace. What is our football style? With that team, and support – not getting promoted was abject failure last year. The match against Fulham was an an ambarressment. Just shows you a good modern manager with an ok team, beats a old fashioned manager with a much better team. I think several of the leagues managers last year would have got our team promoted. How Bruce can’t get that team dominating matches and regularly rollling teams offer, I don’t know.

  8. hi stuart
    i have posted many times on or should say tried to post on here, but keep getting your comment is awaiting
    moderation,can you explain ?

    • Hello Lawrence. W

      All comments have to be approved by ourselves to prevent abuse and also spamming. All relevant comments go live but as this is just a fan site it may take a while before they are checked sometimes. Hope this helps.


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