Steve Bruce has warned that England’s national game is in danger of losing its ‘common touch’ and ignoring its true fans.
The Sunderland boss insisted English footballers, especially those who flopped at the World Cup, owe a massive debt to those who pay good money to follow their heroes.
‘If we’re not careful, we’re going to alienate ourselves from the public,’ said Bruce. ‘It’s not just because people are fed up of reading about footballers on incredible wages. They will put up with that if they are getting value for the money they pay to watch a match.
‘The one thing football has always had — and we’re going to lose it — is our common touch. The majority of players are lads from working-class backgrounds blessed with a God-given talent. But they’re in danger of becoming detached.
‘We all have a responsibility, with what has been happening in the football world, to try to win the people back and make sure we don’t lose them through money and greed because that’s who the game belongs to, the man in the street.’
Root of the problem: Steve Bruce says football is losing the common touch
Bruce is in Vila Sol with several other celebrities from football and showbusiness who are taking part in the Sir Bobby Robson Golf Classic, a tournament inaugurated by the late former manager to raised money for children’s charities in Portugal.
But Bruce admitted he was apprehensive about supporters’ reaction to the new football season with England’s dismal showing in South Africa fresh in their minds.
‘A lot of people saved up a lot of money to travel to watch England in the World Cup,’ he said.
‘Take supporters of my own club, Sunderland. Money is very tight where they live and they deserve a return for their outlay. Some saved for years to go to South Africa and it looked from afar that they got nowhere near value for money. I am not just talking about one game, I’m talking about four. We sneaked past Slovenia, let’s be fair, and
they’re a nation of two million people. It was hard to take.
‘I would never criticise Fabio Capello. He’s a top manager with a tremendous record. What the whole nation cannot understand is what happened. We saw other countries like Ghana, Paraguay and Uruguay show real determination. Unfortunately, we can’t say that about the English.’
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