Soapbox: return from the far north, now wandering to Bolton

Pete Sixsmith is back from Orkney. He is pleased he went, but would lose little sleep if he never went back. Will we all be losing sleep tomorrow night? BE POSITIVE ….

I have returned. I am back at Sixsmith Towers, the several layers of clothing peeled off and the bindings to protect the outer extremities unwound – no madam, not that one!!

It would not be true to say that Orkney is the most exciting of places to visit. There are no trees. There is a lot of wind. The capital, Kirkwall, is as lively as Heighington on a Wednesday night. It’s not a place where the jet set hang out – so The Brucester may well consider it as a place to retire when the curtain falls on his managerial career at The Stadium of Light – May at the latest.

The good news for him is that there is a potential job there. The Orcadians have a football game that takes place at Christmas and New Year called The ‘Ba. The competing teams, Uppies and Doonies, chase around aimlessly after a ball, pushing and shoving and the object is to stop the other team from scoring and try to grab one yourself.

Any of us who have watched games this season can see a remarkable similarity between Bruce’s tactics, Lee Cattermole’s performances and the general poor quality of the football we have been treated to.

However, there is no opportunity for the manager of the Uppies and Doonies to play players completely out of position, sign them and never give them a start or create such a defensive mindset that a goal and a win is improbable, so maybe it’s not the career change that would suit his unique talents.

I had several conversations about the game and SAFC while there. The excellent barman in The Shore (a fine pint of Highland Scapa Special) thought that Bruce was a decent manager and would sort it out. He was an Aberdeen/Manchester United fan, so was clearly biased what with us having Eric Black, a folk hero in these parts, as well.

He kindly allowed me to watch the City v Villarreal game in preference to United’s canter in Romania and proved to be a perceptive analyst with his highly amusing comments on Gareth Barry, a player he regarded as not good enough for Highland League Wick Academy – so SB probably has him lined up for January.

The taxi driver who took me from Inverness to Thurso, courtesy of East Coast Trains ( the Edinburgh train broke down in the tunnels going into Waverley and the subsequent delays meant I missed my connection in Inverness; cost to EC and taxpayer an eye watering £250) also thought that Bruce was ok and that we would soon improve. He was such a lovely guy that I hadn’t the heart to tell him that he was probably talking b*******.

So, he does have some supporters, albeit a long way from the North East. Lose tomorrow and even the barman and the taxi driver will be losing faith in him.

* See also: https://safc.blog/2011/10/bruce-search-for-a-safe-haven-leads-to-orkney/

Share this post

3 thoughts on “Soapbox: return from the far north, now wandering to Bolton”

  1. I think that you would have to live some distance away from the NE to consider Mr Bruce to be doing a decent job.

    It’s always difficult when nice people start talking crap about subjects dear to the heart.

  2. I fear I have been a little harsh on Orkney. I enjoyed the trip and found the Neolithic sites fascinating. The Stone Age village ofSkara Brae reminded me of 1960’s municipal housing, with it’s walkways and tight corners.
    No sign of any Sunderland supporters though. I did see a pile of Newcastle money boxes in a shop in Thurso and mentally registered never to go there again.

Comments are closed.

Next Post