SkyDaz Match Preview ..

Last updated : 04 January 2007 By Darren Porter

‘You put your Steve Bruce in, your Steve Bruce out, you do the okey cokey and you turn around …'

Wow has one manager ever toyed so dangerously with the right to be brilliant one week and utter pish the next? There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I'm not accusing Mr Bruce of having a foot in either camp however the fans have drifted into regarding him as quite firmly at either pole.

Mind you to put it into perspective this set of fans also include people who abused Bendtner at Ipswich. Now we all agree that at times Bendy (as he is known to his mates, of which I am unfortunately not one of them but if he wants to give me a call and go for a shandy …) is frustrating. From early on in his Blues career us casual observers noted the inability of Bendy and McSheffy (as he is known …. You get the picture) to select the correct option when playing together. At times they were competing to see which of them could hang onto the ball for the longest.

Surely before anyone criticises Bendy though they should recall the previous occupants of the goal getting task. Carl Richards, Trevor Aylott, John Gayle (except the two Wembley goals of course), Paul Furlong, Mike Newell, Emile Heskey, Walter Pandiani ……… oh the list is endless, add your own.

None of the above was ever going to get a hatful of goals and yet young Bendy looks like scoring every game, ‘Leave the kid alone'.

I can't even remember being eighteen! Hang on yes I can. It involved swigging Breaker lager, Sam Fox and an awful lot of Kleenex. I kept that company in business.

The Luton game was very entertaining as we swiftly reverted back to the Blues of old by passing constantly to the opposition, conceding strange goals and looking like a team about to be relegated. The weird thing is that we always look like scoring.

The other weird thing is that if you look back to early December it is incredible that we are where we are. I don't care what you say about the results we actually played pretty average against Plymouth, Preston, Sheffied Wednesday, QPR, Luton and Ipswich. I have missed Southend out as we clearly outclassed a team bottom of the division.

Ok ok we got points ok ok we are top of the league but the fear is that the boys up front have been taking their chances and we have been riding an awful lot of lady luck. The dirty minx.

I suppose Bruce wants us to judge him on what he achieves and that's a fair argument. If he takes us to the Premier League he will be the messiah but if he fails he'll just be a very naughty boy.

Some credit for our recent slip must go to the opposition. It didn't take Albert Einstein to realise that closing down Bendy and McSheffy early would stunt our chances of scoring goals and that defensively we have failings. And that is being kind. Luton looked quite a decent team and in Vine and Edwards they possessed a constant threat that we failed to cope with. McSheffy notched his usual goal from Bendy's audacious back heel before the defence had twenty chances to clear a corner but shinned it to each other and allowed Vine to prod home the equaliser. The Keystone Kop defending returned in the second half and it looked as if little Luton would do the double over us until Danns smashed home a close range effort in injury time. Teams that score equalisers in the last minute when playing garbage tend to do well. Maybe it's an omen.

It wasn't for the Ipswich encounter. In hindsight we should have taken the undeserved point that was on offer. There is a nice feeling though that even in the last minute away from home we can nick a game if we get a late chance. It's not going to work every week and there is no need to push the big red button that cuts the engines.

Over the last few months I have taken Bruce to task for his inane abuse aimed at the fans who criticised his performance. And now I must say that he has a point in asking fans not to abuse the players especially the young ones who could quite easily pack up their kit in their little Arsenal boot bags and stroll off to the big smoke like Pingu. Come on fellas have a heart.

It has often been stated that the fans who go away from home are betterer (sic) than those who only attend the home games and the atmosphere away from St Andrews has been claimed to be more positive. Let's make all games home and away positive and support the team whilst the game is going on. At the final whistle if you have not been satisfied by what you have seen then feel free to shout as much derision as you want. Then phone the radio and get cut off.

I have said in seasons gone by that I don't care a monkey's knacker sack for the FA Cup and nothing has changed. We are not going to win it, not this season, not next season nor for many to come after that. Maybe one day but not for a long time. In a hundred plus years we haven't won it so nothing is changing now, curse or no curse. I don't ever want us to lose a game but come five o'clock on Saturday I won't be too disappointed if the Toon Army are rejoicing.

I am going to make a prediction that hopefully will put the curse on the teams; one of the following will win the FA Cup, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United. Mind you Liverpool are playing Arsenal and I have no idea who Manchester United are playing but I hope the Reds win.

Keep right on. Hasta la vista, baby.