Date: 26th June 2018 at 7:00pm
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It’s probably a factor that is not in the forefront of most fans’ minds at the moment. After all, the club is in a very precarious situation financially. But, the report by the Express & Star that Steve Bruce is still waiting to get the go-ahead to sign players does concern me.

Of course, with money as tight as it is, recruitment is going to be very tough this summer. With no substantial transfer budget likely to be forthcoming, and sales of key players on the horizon, getting some new additions in through the door early could be key.

I am not talking about players being signed for transfer fees here, I am talking loan deals and free transfers. The Birmingham Mail believe Steve Bruce and Steve Round have already drawn up their shortlist of targets.

Many, if not all of them, are likely to be available now, but they could easily be snapped up by other clubs if we don’t make our move very soon. When recruiting free players, there is no other club to negotiate with and so talks over contracts tend to be finalised in short order.

With players like Robert Huth,  there are likely to be a number of interested parties already waiting to swoop in. If we are not ready to move quickly, there is a good chance we will miss out.

With finances as they are, there are a finite number of players available for nothing or on loan deals that are good enough to play in the Championship. I’m sure some will say that if we do miss out on these targets, it will be a good thing, as Bruce will then be forced to use our younger players.

Replacing senior players with a group of teenagers would not be sensible. In my opinion, that places too much pressure on the youngsters. If we are going to make a decent fist of next season, a mixture of youth and experience will be needed. To get that balance right, Bruce must be allowed to get on with his job.

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5 Replies to “Bruce Must Be Allowed To Get On With His Job Or Villa Face Being Found Wanting”

  • The obvious concern is would Bruce trust the youngsters though? Or would it become about ‘signing names’ through panic when they would be 8th choice in reality?

  • First things first, I don’t rate Bruce very highly, so I guess I should come clean.

    I think he will struggle without an open cheque book, not just for transfer fees, but wages too. I never thought he ‘boxed clever’, even if he did.

    That all said. it looks as if he is staying, so he deserves some budget clarity sooner, rather than later. Whether Dr T is in a position to confirm much is an issue, but the gaffer needs to have an idea of who he is likely to lose and what he can do to plug the gaps.

    Brucie will hanker for experience (usually costly with no sell on value), but a little bit will be necessary if, say, Chester, Grealish and Kodjia are no more. What we must do though, in my humble opinion, is not pander to his hankering for external solutions to all his problems. He has to utilise some of the youth we have.

    Bruce has to demonstrate he can coach and apply some tactical nous. If he can’t, he should be honest and walk away now, rather than let things fester.

    • He’s steady and stable and has proven he knows what it takes to get out the Champ. Big questions about kicking on in the Prem. But given where we were when he came in, he’s done a bloody good job and respects the club which is more than we can say about some former managers.

      Doubt’s remain though. Especially on an attacking front, even giving him great credit for turning the atmosphere and our defence around. Then a youth front.

      His final days at Hull he did lean on youth though and blood a few to good measure with the progress the likes of Bowen are making.

      The balance is vital this year as many fans will still demand a promotion run but truth is it’s consolidation if it goes as badly as we expect on a sales front. So key experience plus ‘our’ youth is the only way. And it has to be ‘our’ youth because if things don’t change we need to know who flops, who shines and who shines so well they could pay the bills in January!

  • What I do recognise is the need for some stability, which left me with mixed feelings over Bruce’s continued tenure. It is with is in mind, I would not be against him remaining – for now.

    Although it cannot really be substantiated, I just think the game is moving on quicker than Brucie. He is a steady hand and has a formula that has worked historically. However, he seems to me to manage by trial and error, rather than having a clear method. He is also reliant, more often than not, on additional resouces.

    If you look solely at his incoming players (excluding loans), I would suggest his success rate is been no better than 40% at best and he has discarded most of his Villa permanent signings from his eventual XIs fielded at the back end of the season.

    I also think Bruce has a tendency to panic and will act irrationally at times, stocking his forward line at the expense of any midfield for instance when chasing a game.

    Clearly, it is a difficult job managing a side, particularly when expectation is very high. Self-preservation in an unforgiving world is understandable. Despite all this though, I wonder if the manager’s methods are losing their mojo.

  • Perhaps a couple of last thoughts.

    Firstly, we cannot ignore the finances. To oust Bruce would appear to be costly. Although he is on a hefty deal, his reported severence terms would prove damaging.

    How does a rolling deal work? When can you opt out with a managet without financial penalty?

    Secondly, who is available as an alternative? I quite like the look of Dean Smith’s work with Brentford, but fan aside, would he leave a stable job for a maelstrom called Aston Villa? Would he settle quickly and adapt to the associated expectation/pressure?

    Questions, questions, but do you have the answers?

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