Whinging Bruce Can’t Take Shine off Arsenal Cup Triumph – by Rob Atkinson


Nice-guy Loser Bruce

Nice-guy Loser Bruce

Steve Bruce has this deceptive public image – he’s cultivated an on-screen interview demeanour which has convinced many that here is a nice, self-effacing guy. There’s a modest smile in there, or a resigned shrug, depending on how the match has gone for his team. There’s certainly none of the congested face with furious snarl surmounting a taut neck in which veins bulge with petulant fury – not these days. Perhaps the old boy’s blood pressure makes such displays inadvisable – he’s not as young as he used to be and, maybe, not in the best nick.

That Steve Bruce of old is well-remembered by Leeds fans who hold dear in their hearts the Whites’ Boxing Day 1995 beating of Man U at Elland Road. The breakthrough goal that day came from a rare penalty awarded against the Pride of Devon, duly converted with his usual classy panache by Gary MacAllister. But in the aftermath of the penalty award – a routine decision which would have been free of any controversy if it had been given against any other team – it was Steve the Bruce’s choleric reaction which grabbed the attention of onlookers from all sides. His face turned puce and seemed to swell until you feared the skin might split and pour blood and bile in equal measure onto the Elland Road pitch. He had to be restrained bodily from getting at the ref; the notion that he wanted to seize and throttle the official was hard to avoid. It took MacAllister himself to reduce Bruce’s temperature to below the critical meltdown mark – Scotland’s captain seemed to be reminding the England reject of the rules of the game where handling the ball in the area is concerned.

The guilty party, meanwhile, had slunk away without much protest at all. Nicky Butt had raised an arm and handled the ball – aside from his initial “hang on, you can’t give a pen against US” reaction, he seemed resigned that it was a fair cop. Only Bruce – and, after the match, Ferguson – had seriously seemed prepared to claim that what had in fact happened – hadn’t. But this was Steve Bruce the arrogant, bad loser – in the best traditions of the Theatre of Hollow Myths. Such behaviour was almost expected as part of the usual process of intimidation and aggression towards match officials.

Almost twenty years on, only the demeanour has mellowed – the determination and ruthlessness inculcated by Ferguson is a part of the Bruce DNA, as is a pathological unwillingness to accept that defeat, even from two goals ahead, was merited. The delivery is smoother, the visage less suffused with hate and resentment, but the message remains the same – we wuz robbed. He was singing that song at Elland Road that long-ago Christmas Eve, and he was singing it again at Wembley in the wake of Cup Final defeat. He can’t help it, it’s bred into him.

Bruce’s remarks in his post-match interview were described by cabbage-patch doll lookalike Adrian Chiles as “churlish”. That’s one word for the litany of grievances and excuses that preceded his laughable punchline “This isn’t the time to whinge”. Bruce had whinged long and hard, following the script that’s always been in his head, and his skewed reasoning and blinkered selectiveness were features hanging over from his Man U years. Arsenal’s first two goals were called into question – the first came from a free kick that Bruce felt shouldn’t have been given (wrong, Steve); the second resulted from a corner wrongly awarded (right – but you could see how ref Probert had been deceived). Bruce made no mention of the fact that Hull’s second goal came from a free kick taken 9 yards forward of the foul which led to it. Neither did he refer to the two clear penalties Arsenal could and should have been awarded. It was the one-eyed, wrong-headed Bruce of old; only the Man U shirt and the throbbing temple veins were missing.

Whatever the sulky reaction of Hull’s manager, Arsenal thoroughly deserved their victory, which owed much to resilience and bottle that many had thought the Gunners lacked. Many’s the time that the Arse have found it easy going against inferior opposition they have blown away with sumptuous football; this time, they faced a mountain no Cup Final side had ever before had to contemplate – two down in eight minutes and their game plan in tatters.

That they successfully climbed that mountain reflects immense credit on the Arsenal players and staff, together with their relatively long-suffering fans. Less credit is due to referee Probert – it was a great final despite, not because of, his slipshod efforts.

And – it has to be said, despite the gallant efforts of the underdogs and the fact that they fought to a particularly bitter end – least credit of all to the Hull City camp. That, though, is down to the ungracious reaction of their manager, a man who – despite that Ferguson upbringing – really should have known better.

Advertisements

33 responses to “Whinging Bruce Can’t Take Shine off Arsenal Cup Triumph – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Rob, spot on again, Rude and arrogant beyond belief, just as his masters voice never ever credited the opposition with even turning up, cast from the same one-eyed shell, he did not utter one word about how Arsenal were stronger and surely to his shame much fitter than his team of Journeymen players, this is as good as it gets for Dull, they will be back to whence they came next season and I for one will not shed a tear.

    Like

  2. The only thing i disagree with you is Arsenal had FOUR nailed-on penalty shouts in that game, and Rosenieur (what ever his name actually is) should have walked for two clear yellow card offences. But Bruce is like a wolf in sheeps clothing, his only aim being to instruct his team to kick Arsenal off the park, whilst trying to portray the ‘mr nice guy’ image….typical man utd trait.

    Like

  3. Rob. What can I say?
    After the final whistle I was distraught. Nothing could console me. Staring at my telly in disbelief. I was considering contacting the Samaritans!
    Then my wife came to the rescue and reminded me I still had a case of beer left in the back-up fridge.
    Phew! close call. Supped the lot rejoicing in the downfall of Brucie & his boys with all their inbred banjo playing fans….LOL…
    MOT

    Like

  4. As an Arsenal fan I agree entirely. One couldn’t fault Hull’s effort but the best team won in the end playing the right way. I was disappointed at the lack of class shown by Bruce. You always congratulate the winner irrespective of your hurt. He couldn’t even manage to do this. I agree about the ref but then I am biased. Arsenal have history with Probert and you can guarantee if the 3 penalties had been at the other end they would have been given.

    Like

    • “But all credit to Arsenal, congratulations to them. They were under enormous pressure and have come back from a position when I thought they were down and out.” Don’t let the truth get in the way, eh Brian?

      Like

      • Well I did say he was assuming a nice guy veneer these days. Perhaps you should read a little more carefully and perhaps thereby avoid knee-jerk reactions?

        Like

      • If you look a little closer you’ll notice I was responding to Brian’s comment in which he accused Steve Bruce of showing a lack of class and not congratulating Arsenal.

        Like

      • Same answer applies. Bruce does lack class. Bound to, with that unfortunate scum background.

        Like

  5. Even at 2-0 down the odds on Arsenal to win were ONLY 11-4 (in 90mins, to be ‘slightly fair, but we all knew!). Gooners: 9 years without a trophy. ‘Humberside Steve Bruce loving egg-chase watching at the Etihad FC’ :104 years!!

    Like

  6. Mark Byfield

    Rob, I like reading your stuff but this time I disagree. I am LUFC but had a ticket in the hospitality area. Arsenal struggled to win and I didn’t hear Bruce wihingeing. General consensus from everyone I spoke to was that Probert ref’d very well. You clearly don’t care for Bruce which is fair enough but I do feel your latest blog is picking issues where there are none. MOT

    Like

    • You didn’t hear Bruce whinging and you didn’t see Probert dropping resounding clangers. Doesn’t mean to say that either of these things failed to happen – and happen they did.

      Like

  7. What a shame you couldn’t support Hull City. I detect a bit of jealousy . The best team won on the day I agree, but we lived the dream for quite a while. After all Leeds United don’t have dreams anymore, just nightmares every time they try and play football. Up the tigers

    Like

    • It’s not about dreams, or even nightmares. It’s about history and tradition. Arsenal have it, in spades. Even Leeds do – we’ve beaten Arsenal in two Cup Finals. Hull’s proud tradition – of never winning ANYTHING – was, I’m glad to confirm, maintained at Wembley on Saturday.

      Like

    • Why the hell would Leeds fans support hull. None of you TOY* clubs would support Leeds under any circumstances, you all hate Leeds with a passion, because we are THE yorkshire club.

      * tiny other yorkshire

      Like

  8. You really are absolutely spot on with this.

    Tigers, Tigers, Rah, Rah, Rah!!

    Like

  9. Jeff Whincup

    What a bitter lot you Leeds lot are…..just what have your ‘gloryless’bunch of losers gained in the last 40 odd year’s? – one luck promotion from division 3, relegations and going into administration – pretty impressive stuff eh!

    Like

    • Well, there was a second division title in ’90 closely followed by the last ever Football League Championship and the Charity Shield in ’92 (Only club to put four past Liverpool at Wembley). But that’s all big club, big winner stuff – can’t expect an insecure tigger to know about that…

      Like

  10. Love your columns Rob, very witty and insightful as always, keep fighting the good fight.

    Like

  11. No Cup Finalist ever had to overcome a 2 goal deficit? Don’t know your football, do you?
    Were you there when Leeds fans booed their fans off the pitch after their 3-0 humiliation against Villa?

    Like

    • Tie me up and burn me for a chauvinist, but it always affords me a moment’s amusement when some clueless female, having entirely missed the point, then tells me I don’t know my football. Arf.

      Like

  12. You really make me laugh ! kc visitor and your mates , fowler and whincup , who states ‘ what have we gloryless bunch of losers gained in the last 40 years , one lucky promotion from division 3 and relegation and administration’…. Mmm too right Rob I think he maybe forgetting how we won the old second division and the last division one title in 92 before it re emerged to premier league. Forgive me if I’m wrong Mr Whincup or should I say Arsenal wincup !!!! but have you or will you ever see your tin potless little club ever become champions of England . WE HAVE !. Whilst I cannot argue you are presently lavishing in the lower half of the premiership . What I can guarantee is that you will never enjoy the sight of your club reaching the final and semi final of the champions league and parading the premiership trophy through your fishing village. Enjoy the Europa league , first round anyway. Even though you arrived there by default. Oh yea we’re green with jealousy. Hahaha…. M.O.T 🙂

    Like

  13. In response to @lucyhilt, and in your defence Rob, I think you were probably referring to the FA Cup ?! ;0)

    Like

    • Actually, there was a comeback from 2 down to win the Cup, when Everton beat the Wendies in 1966 – it’s this match I assume Lucy’s knickers were in a twist over. But on that occasion Everton weren’t two down in quite such short order – AND they’d recently been Champions too. Arsenal were on the verge of a nine-year drought – as everyone was continually reminding them. To be two down after 8 minutes, then almost 3 down but for a goal-line clearance, must have been the stuff of nightmares. It took incredible bottle to come back from that, and only an embittered and possibly hormonal lady tigger would presume to dispute that.

      Like

      • Rob, cheers for that – that one was well before my time (well a few years before birth at least)…Lady tigger Lucy was just trying to get the knife in by reminding us of THAT horror show v Villa (the cup that doesn’t count, you know the one that changes its name like I change my socks…what was it that year Rumbelows or milk cup ?!!)

        Like

  14. Wasn’t Steve Bruce actually a Scotland reject as well as an England one? Can’t remember the details, sure there was something… I never understood why anyone at Scum thought he was good enough.

    Like

    • Signing for the scum automatically makes you a 200% better player. Well according to the tabloid press anyway. It’s why we have to put up with the likes of captain liability shrek in the England team.

      Like

      • Same situation applies with managers. For 90 minutes against Norwich, Giggs was World Coach of the Year. Watch out now for the elevation of van Gaal into the select group of all-time greats.

        Like

Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s