Aston Villa are just delaying the inevitable by keeping Steve Bruce in his managerial position.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
As Aston Villa grabbed their first win in a number of games yesterday at home to Rotherham, Steve Bruce knew that the pressure surrounding his position as manager had lessened, even just a little bit.
While Aston Villa controlled the game and came away with a 2-0 win – as home debutants Tammy Abraham and Yannick Bolasie scored two important goals – and managed their first clean sheet of the season, they still didn’t look overly convincing in their play.
Had the game gone differently and resulted in a draw or a loss for Aston Villa, then this article might have never seen the light of day and Steve Bruce may have been without a job at the end of the week – but alas, the game was won and has given Steve Bruce another handfull of games to prove his pedigree as a Championship manager.
But, regardless of results, there’s a major disconnect between the Aston Villa fanbase and Steve Bruce. This isn’t healthy for any club – disregarding the clubs stature, history or the players that they have available.
Some of the most passionate Aston Villa fans are done with having Steve Bruce at the helm. As the former Manchester United defender heads towards a century of games in charge on Saturday, a feat not managed since the reign of Paul Lambert, Aston Villa realistically look no different (other than the players) and their chances of gaining promotion back to the Premier League look no clearer.
Steve Bruce famously said that the club was always a handful of games away from a crisis in the eyes of the fans and media – almost laughing off the prospect – but the truth was much closer than that. Whilst some fans have always been relatively anti-Bruce, more and more of the Villa faithful are losing their ability to trust Steve Bruce as the clubs manager.
And if the results aren’t making that the case, then the football certainly is. With one of the most talented and individually successful groups of players at his disposal, the style of football played and the lack of tactical nous are truly grating on the vast majority of fans. There have been glimpses of quality football in the manager’s nearly 100 games, but glimpses are nowhere near enough.
Yesterday, Steve Bruce attacked the local media, namely BirminghamLive and the Express and Star, before throwing an insult towards the fans, saying those that were ‘intelligent’ would be able to see what he was trying to do, or achieve.
In reality, Bruce is losing his grip on the 12th Man (whether he’s ever truly had a grip on them is another argument for another day), but when the manager feels forced to attack his sides own fans and the local media, and the fans and media have been losing more and more faith as time goes on, it’s a recipe for a disaster.
The players look relatively together as a unit, but sometimes, look like they don’t want to play for Steve Bruce.
If he’s still here come Christmas, I’d be surprised. At this moment, he’s hanging on by the skin of his teeth, it seems. And each win, or last minute goal to salvage a draw he somehow manages, he’s handed another lifeline. But it’s over, in reality. He’s lost.