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Comment: Blundering Baggies deserved Northern Ireland star Brunt's reality check

 

By Graham Luney

Those people who know Chris Brunt will be surprised he let rip after his West Brom side were beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield last Saturday.

He tends to go about his business in a quiet manner but everyone has a breaking a point.

The 33-year-old blasted team-mates for lacking effort and questioned his manager Alan Pardew's tactics.

The Belfast man isn't a trouble maker or someone who seeks confrontation but his extreme reaction has now brought more negative publicity to the club at a time when all focus should be on on field matters.

When a player speaks out in that manner, and so publicly criticises a manager it can threaten to create a more toxic and destructive atmosphere in the dressing room.

Coming so soon after the taxi scandal in Barcelona - when Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Boaz Myhill and Jake Livermore were alleged to have stolen a taxi in the early hours, after going to a fast-food restaurant, and parked the vehicle outside their city-centre hotel - Pardew wil now have to field more awkward questions surrounding one of his senior and experienced players.

Those defending Brunt, however, will argue that desperate times require desperate measures and perhaps his outburst can be the spark that gets the Baggies machine working again before it's too late.

Brunt certainly felt that something needed to be said. West Brom just couldn't keep drifting and accept their fate. What do supporters want from their players when their club is fighting relegation from the Premier League?

Is it not refreshing to know that a player cares as much about the cause as the fans?

The Northern Ireland international has made more than 350 appearances for West Brom and been at the club for just over 10 years.

Why should any of us expect him to sit back and keep a lid on his frustration while the club slides towards relegation?

At the age of 33 Brunt knows he's in the autumn of his career and he's not invested all that blood, sweat and tears into the Albion cause to let it end in heartbreak.

If the players aren't looking in the mirror and identifying their own failings then perhaps they need to be told.

And Brunt is not some 17-year-old kid with a huge ego. He's an experienced international who has given outstanding service to West Brom and he's fully entitled to share his views.

There's a school of thought he has undermined his manager and any criticism should have been discussed in private.

There's also an argument that what happens in the dressing room should stay there.

I can understand that viewpoint and I also accept that managers should be shown respect but there must also be a time when a senior player and former captain of the club is allowed to express his frustration and his concerns.

Brunt was once struck on the face by a coin thrown by a West Brom supporter.

He also missed the Euro 2016 finals after suffering an horrific knee injury. He knows how this game can kick you where it hurts and he's not prepared to sit there and just accept West Brom's relegation.

Belfast Telegraph

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