I am an Aston Villa supporter. Because I am an Aston Villa supporter, I would like to see the club win promotion back to the Premier League this season, preferably by finishing in the top two. As such, when the team wins, I’m generally pretty happy — three points always move our club closer to achieving the goal.
Steve Bruce is the Aston Villa manager. Logically, it seems like Steve Bruce should also like to see the club win promotion this season, preferably automatic promotion. And logically, it continues to follow, you would expect Bruce to be happy after wins, as it moves his team closer to the goal.
Further, because wins move the team closer to the team’s goal, it would make sense if Bruce did everything in his power to guarantee more wins, and one thing he has a direct impact over is his relationship with the fans. Yet every time Villa struggle, at the first sign of success, Steve runs to the press conference and bitches about the Villa supporters — and I just don’t get it.
I understand that there’s a vocal segment of the Villa fan base who isn’t behind Bruce, and who hasn’t been behind him for a long time. But those gripes aren’t really directed at Steve Bruce himself, rather the performance, style and direction of the club.
We can go back and forth all day about the pro- and anti-Bruce crowds, but at the end of the day, all Villa supporters want the same thing for our club: success. And that’s where Bruce’s words after the win over Rotherham United really bother me: “The vast majority of supporters are right behind what we’re trying to do.”
What are we “trying to do,” Steve? The quote suggests one of two things:
- That Steve Bruce’s aim isn’t the same as the aim of his critics’, which is almost universally attaining automatic promotion.
- That Steve Bruce is alleging his critics don’t want to see Villa win automatic promotion.
Both are… problematic.
If Steve’s really bothered by the Villa supporters who are against him, he shouldn’t try to pick fights with them and give those more reasons to be upset and turn against the team — nobody’s sitting out there saying, “well, actually, I didn’t like Steve Bruce before, but now that he’s insulted my commitment to the club, I’ll get behind him.” It’s entirely counterproductive and only serves to create a more toxic environment at Villa Park, one that has a direct impact on the club’s ability to win more matches at home.
He should be out there improving the team’s performance from match to match and giving every Villa supporter something to get behind. Instead, Steve’s trying to pick fights with the fan base.
I just don’t get it.
Unrelated: go Browns, baby.