Goldy’s Logic: calling Wolves’ bluff on Fletcher, laughing at Steve Bruce

Stephen Goldsmith considers a yawn at Bruce's latest outburst

A last word, from Stephen Goldsmith, on Tigers ungaggable new boss and a suggestion that calling Wolverhampton Wanderers’ bluff may not cost us the services of Steven Fletcher.

As always, and to the annoyance of my friends, I made a series of predictions, in some cases more like theoretical requests, during last season and again once we had entered this pre-season limbo. These thoughts prbab, a recipe for bringing out the best and worst of the imagination.

As tempting as it may be to start believing ridiculous stories that link us to players that we’d like to see wearing red and white next season, I kept my transfer suggestions to the realisitic, or maybe even boring, depending on your perception.

More on the Sunderland transfer suggestion later. But if I may, I will just bring up one quick correct prediction that I did indeed make during pre-season.

Now I don’t gloat at this and, in fact, deliberately retreat from bragging about its accuracy since it was probably one that was made by every man and his dog.

Rather than an incoming Black Cats transfer, It is was one involving that loveable ex-manager of ours, whose decision to sign his strikingly below-average son, following yet another release from a club, was as near to a certainty as you will ever see. When the dislikeable Alex Bruce inevitably starts to contribute to Hull’s conceding of easily avoidable goals, and with it draw “daddy’s boy” jibes from the crowd, we can all wait in anticipation for his Father to start blaming it on the fact the fans haven’t taken to him because of his Leeds connections, or something else as patronising or inaccurate.

While that development was a given, I can honestly say I never expected Bruce’s latest outburst, and with it all the nonsense that is his version of events, his now infamous theory as to what caused his departure.

I had honestly felt that his cringeworthy ramblings had reduced his image, already a mess, to an unidentifiable wreckage, so much so that he would attempt to salvage it once he found work. Dignity from Steve? Not a chance. I won’t give this topic any more attention as it no longer deserves it and Jeremy Robson has covered all angles brilliantly anyway. Suffice to say that if I could speak to him directly and offer him PR advice, it would simply be:

“Steve, ssssshhhhhhhhh.”

Luckily, another development surfaced the day after Mr Bruce’s yawn-inspiring utterances, one that I had been hoping for all throughout last season.

Unluckily, it seems it may drag on for some time yet. Anybody who has been subjected to any of my theories and predictions would confirm that Steven Fletcher has been a favourite of mine for some time. Not an obvious stand out performer, the ex Hibs man seems to be one of those well kept secrets that, once you are made aware of it, you wonder how you didn’t realise the truth all along. A bit like the fact that Santa isn’t real, or so they say.

For any of those still undecided on Steven, or simply ignorant of his abilities, I simply draw you to two stats. Now, as John McCormick pointed out recently, stats don’t always tell the full story, however these two I deem to be relevant. When a side play without the ball for large periods as we’ve tended to under Martin O’Neill, it’s certainly handy if you have somebody who will convert any chance you may get. Fletcher finished second in the entire Premier League last season for the Clear Cut Chance conversion rate, behind only Frank Lampard whose penalties were included in his percentage. The tables and a little summary can be found by clicking here

Add this to the fact that he scored the most headers in the division and this helps to make this case for him as the focal point Sessegnon and McClean have been missing so much. Once we add the delivery of Larsson (or his replacement) to the equation then they, too, should be licking their lips over just how many of their passes and crosses will turn into actual assists.

While Bendtner was good at bringing others in to the game by dropping deep and keeping possession, his refusal to burst a lung in his desire to get back into the box was frowned upon (and then some) by a Sunderland crowd that has always demanded 100 per cent effort in every game, from every player. So is there a forward realistically within our reach who can do both? Well you see where I’m going with this. Watch his second goal in Wolves’ 2-1 home win against us for proof of him starting and finishing a move.

So much to my delight the club made a £10m offer for Fletcher last week, only for the subsequent news to be that it was rejected. The latter piece of news surprised me if I’m honest. While some people may think O’Neill has waited until funds were made available through exiting players before making this bid, I don’t buy that as being the sole factor, and think he and Ellis Short have also shown an element of refusing to go in head first and too early, causing a cat and mouse saga potentially dragging out the entirety of the summer.

Stale Solbakken will not want to start the season with a player he is resigned to losing, especially when he could start rebuilding with the funds. An earlier bid would have been a statement of intent, sure, but it would have played more into the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers. For all Sir Niall Quinn’s brilliance and god-like work at the club, you feel he would have fallen into this particular transfer naievity.

And as much as I was surprised that this generous offer was rejected, I am quietly confident if we call their bluff that their decision could be reversed.

I also really hope Villa’s interest is dead in the water as some are reporting. Their apparent lack of funds can save us all from the now customary bigger, smaller or (realistically) equally sized clubs debate. Their interest would worry me on the grounds that he wouldn’t have to up sticks and move. That would be an ironic geographically based reason for rejection as normally I doubt moving to the North East would bother a Scotsman.

Scots tend to settle here quite well. A Scottish former colleague once told me Geordies and Mackems were just Scottish people with their heads kicked in. Maybe that could be our selling point? There’s no Iron Bru on draught in our pubs, so it’s as near a resemblance to Scotland I can muster.

But I really, really hope this gets sealed. It will be the happiest I’ve been with a signing since that bloke who took a sideward step for extra gold. Darren somebody or other?

* Follow Stephen Goldsmith on Twitter: @goldys_logic

17 thoughts on “Goldy’s Logic: calling Wolves’ bluff on Fletcher, laughing at Steve Bruce”

  1. Believe me, I had no intention of defending Alex Bruce, extremely or otherwise. And wit and humour certainly has has its place, as does the cruel banter we give out and experience in our everyday lives as SAFC supporters.

    I just think twitter has no credibility and responding to asinine comments found there serves no purpose.

    With that I’ll sshhhh too.


  2. Alex Bruce isn’t worthy of the defence of any Sunderland supporter any more than he’s worth a place in the defence of any Championship side. In an era where footballers are being silenced in the wake of their most inappropriate comments are being silenced by their employers Alex Bruce has been as voluble, yet even more foul and insulting than his father has. He hasn’t the outlet in the major papers and is limited to social media such as Twitter to fire insult upon insult at Sunderland fans, who were astonishingly patient with the incomptetence and witlessness of his father.

    Steve Bruce as well as his irritating son, are fair game to whatever Sunderland supporters want to throw back at the pair of them. They have invited it. In the deluded mind of the Walllsend lad, they may think that they are retaliating, but they are not. Bruce received incredble support from our fans, despite an embarrassing run of results, team selections, and transfer activities.

    Particularly I find Alex Bruce’s comments that our currrent manager did worse than his father, both cringeable and laughable, not least because it was his father;s woeful record over the first half of the season which contributed to us finishing lower than the previous season. Bruce senior was attempting to claim the resurgence under Martin O’Neill was due to him. Now his son says it isnt. There’s a pair of them with crab excrement in lieu of intelliegence, and they can’t even agree on insulting us. God help them in the dressing room when they have to discuss defending a set piece. They’ll be wishing they had Phil Brown back doing half time Beach Boy covers before Bonfire NIght. It’s a shame for Hull CIty fans because they deserve a whole lot better than this double act.

  3. Ok John, I understand your point and agree with the overview of it. Alex Bruce doesn’t simply respond to morons who abuse him though. It shouldn’t be beyond his capabilities to understand that you can’t go and provocatively seek for attention and reaction by posting comments and opinions that you know full well will draw a certain type of feedback.

    After confirmation of Sunderland’s final league position of 13th, he was fully aware of the type of response he would encourage when making postings goading about the fact his Dad done a better job than our current manager, and that we were all inferior in our opinions that suggested otherwise. Initiating this intimidating kind of stuff wasn’t an accident or an act of ignorance; it was a clear act of provocation and an act that he has a responsibility to rise above whether he likes it or not.

    I am always on the side of footballers when illogical and irrelevant comparisons to soldiers etc are made by some of the not-so-working class, especially when it comes to the amount of money they earn. However, the amount of money you earn is only justifiable if you endear to the responsibilities that come with it. Whether you like it or not, millionaire footballers should not feel it excuseable to engage in irresponsible and derogatory exchanges with members of the public, especially when sometimes it is not reactive but pro-active.

  4. I trust that you are not accusing me of abuse John, as my comments are a simple account of Alex Bruce’s career hitherto with admittedly some speculation as to where his boots might travel in future. The accusations of neportism will doubtless follow him to East Yorkshire from the West Midlands, and which accounted (in some part) to his departure from Birmingham City.

    Comparing Alex Bruce with Nigel Clough is an improbable one with on field achievements a universe apart.

    • With respect, Jeremy, the account of the career to date might be factual but the speculation about the future is a bit too wide of the mark to stand scrutiny. Do I think this is abusive – no. It’s humour.

      Nevertheless, I stand by my comments. Whatever AB said about the North east does no harm. It’s transparently rubbish. Whatever we say about him, on the other hand, may be taken down and given in evidence.

      • No doubt fans would react and the nature of this medium is such that it will attract intemperate posts from the inarticulate as well as considered responses from the thoughful. So the answer has to be yes.

        But to pursue this line is to miss my point. The Robson report of 31st July raised SB’s latest comments and the response – the subsequent posts – was excellent. Now your well-considered article about future signings which moved us on from there has been diverted and that, I think, is not for the best.

        Steve Bruce’s son is an irrelevance. Steve Bruce himself is unlikely to stop. Respond directly to either, by all means, but don’t pour fuel on their fire.

        To paraphrase your own words, it’s time to shhhh……

      • It’s not really pouring fuel on fire John, It”s merely a comments section on an article that only the writers of the site have thus far contributed to.. If I, or we, were abusing Alex directly I would agree wholeheartedly. What is football without the odd pantomime villain and occasional non-constructive criticism of them?

        Alex’s irresponsible behaviour doesn’t warrant your extreme defence of him. Had you initially stated we should maybe move on then fair enough. It came across differently to that though, and a little misguided in relation to the active role that Alex has actually willingly played in all of this.

        Consider me silenced on the matter.

  5. Spot on, John, but well-paid professional footballers, who are role models whether they like it or not, should accept the responsibility implied in Goldy’s comment and rise above the temptation to join in with childish abuse of their own.

    • I agree, but two wrongs don’t make a right, as the ultra-professional and media-savvy John Terry might have said to the totally innocent Anton Ferdinand

  6. Treating our ex-manager’s comments with the disdain they deserve is one thing. Heaping derision on his son is another. Such action gives credibility to the claim that fans have decided to let rip with gratuitous abuse .

    I don’t remember any comments about Nigel Clough, who didn’t exacty set the world afire as a player. Could it be because we like his dad?

    Alex Bruce hasn’t played for us and I don’t think he’s played against us. He has done us no harm.

    Leave him alone.

  7. Either Alex has been sent to bed early with no supper and ordered to delete his offensive tweets or my ability to find them is in question. I could find one jibe aimed at him but even that seemed to be from a Mag

  8. This is a player that has been released. or let go from four clubs at the very least, Man Utd, Blackburn, Birmingham and most recently Leeds (for whom he signed for an “undisclosed” fee), as well as having a loan to Tranmere Rovers terminated during the early part of his career.

    He hasn’t been able to establish himself anywhere for any length of time other than Ipswich where he managed to overcome his link to Norwich City (having been born there). The good news for Hull fans is that he left Brum after accusations of nepotism, and has lasted only a short period anywhere since then. They can be at least grateful that the pain is short lived. The next time he plays for his father its likely to at Aldershot or Havant and Waterlooville or similar.

  9. Fletcher scored with more headers than anyone else in the PL last season so he should be an effective striker for McClean to fire crosses at.

    As for Alex Bruce, this transfer to Hull must be his sixth pint in as many last chance saloons. If he wasn’t his father’s son he would be in the Conference (selling programmes at that).

    • While his Father manufactures reasons for his dismissal to be tribal it’s interesting to see some of the bile Alex spouts at Sunderland fans on Twitter. He is provoked, without a doubt, but whereas most footballers simply ignore this abuse, Alex lowers himself to calling Mackems inbred and the like. It is the Bruce family who are portraying the small minded mentality that folk of Wearside and Tyneside could never get on.

      Neither think through which bridges they are potentially burning, or which way they are affecting their likeablity status amongst the football community. Top players are supposed be media trained as well. Suppose that could be the reason for Alex not appearing to care about his social reputation being dragged down to the same levels as his footballing one; he has never been a top player.

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