Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Manchester United News &Views

Steve Bruce – Grooming of an Orchestrator.

Of all the candidates from the Ferguson school of managers one man has gone about his business quietly & effectively. One man has succeeded, failed, recovered & honed his managerial skills to its current state of robust fearlessness. Sunderland’s victory against the Gunners can best be described as a display that had Steve Bruce’s persona stamped all over it. Bruce made his United debut in 1988, his partnership with Gary Pallister was one of the strongest in England back in the early to mid 90’s. Bruce as a player lacked natural skill yet his determination & grit saw him become one of the toughest central defenders in Britain which helped United succeed in Europe & England. Similarly Sunderland’s discipline against the Arsenal never allowed the Londoners to stamp their authority instead Bruce’s men were determined not to be outdone. They never panicked on the ball & passed it around at will. Bruce was fearless on the field with battle scars to prove he had the ability to score crucial goals mainly due to his aerial strength. The Wearsiders controlled aggressions thus far have seen them pick crucial points off United, Liverpool & Arsenal in their realistic bid for a top 10 finish. Bruce’s tactical intelligence has transformed Sunderland’s organization on the field, he has instilled a tireless work ethic backed by the skill & scoring ability of players like Darren Bent, Kieran Richardson & Steed Malbranque. Undoubtedly he must have learnt a great deal from the best in the business during his time at the Theatre. He has successfully served his apprenticeship with Birmingham bringing them up to the Premiership twice & saved Wigan from potential relegation in 2007 before leading them to a 11th place finish last season where exciting talents like Wilson Palacios & Antonio Valencia made their mark.

The evidence thus far on Bruce is he has the ability to organize a working unit working for each other. He is uncontroversial & aggressive only when it’s called for. He has an eye for talent & can efficiently spend within a budget to achieve the clubs goals. Compare these crucial traits to all of Fergies students who would love to take up the helm at the Theatre: Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Mark Hughes, Mike Phelan & Paul Ince. Steve Bruce stands out head & shoulders purely because of his consistency. In fact scratch out ‘Sparky’ from that list cos “once you go blue you’ll never be true”. The media’s number one candidate Jose Mourinho ‘Mr Bloated Ego’ if you think back got lucky due to an incorrect offside decision given against Paul Scholes in that infamous second leg tie against Porto when United got dumped from the Champions League & Porto went on to win it. It was not marginal it was stone dead onside. Yes this attention seeker has a winning mentality but not one that fits United due to his outspoken controversial nature. As for the volatile Roy Keane like Fergie said ‘You never know what this guy might do next” his quitting Sunderland has tarnished his reputation a bit. A potential successor will need to adopt the Manchester United philosophy of football & possibly work under Sir Alex as technical director. My Pick goes to Steve Bruce for the next Orchestrator of the Theatre!!

Games vs. Everton (3-0)

The Red Devils recovered convincingly after the Chelsea defeat & really a cruel result at the Bridge when United dominated that game. A draw against Chelsea would have been fair result but the ref was under pressure by the Blue support & it showed. Why Evans kicked out at Drogba boggles the mind, if he hadn’t the sequence of play would probably not have led to the opening goal. But we dusted ourselves off & got on with business against Everton with an impressive display of character that chewed up the Toffees. Man of the match & a worthy shout out to Patrice Evra who commanded the entire left flank in defense & attack. United will need a lot more goals from midfield to challenge for silverware & this was an encouraging indication of that. Darren Fletcher who I loathed for a long while is starting to prove a lot of people wrong. He has the potential to be a great midfield power house. For one he is not losing possession anymore in silly ways. His tackling and ball winning is spot on. If he keeps improving on his finishing we might have a world class midfielder here.

Looking Ahead

From me this will be the last post for the Theatre for 2009. I will possibly pick this up next January when United’s next big game will be the Gunners. From now till then United cannot afford to slip up if a credible challenge to retain the title is to materialize. Chelsea have the Arsenal up next followed by a trip to Man City & United need to capitalize on every opportunity to make up ground. The Blues will miss their African stars in January during the AFCON cup but a potential move for Frank Ribery looks to be on the cards. United need only hope that Owen Hargreaves can realize his true potential when he returns & they might not need to spend in the transfer window. Rio Ferdinands continued injury plight has caused defensive problems, worryingly there are doubts he might not return to his best form judging from recent displays. Tonights clash with Besiktas will allow Fergie to play some reserves & maybe let the defensive partnership of Brown & Vidic to gel. Obertan has provided an extra dimension on the left it’s still early days but this guy looks like he will be first choice on the left ahead of Nani & Tosic. The depth in the squad looks good in all areas as a crucial stage of the title race beckons.



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