A home defeat for Birmingham. Craig Bellamy winning a controversial penalty for the Hammers. Steve Bruce is less than impressed. ‘Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree, but the small clubs don’t seem to get those decisions’.
It’s interesting language from the Birmingham manager. Bruce is drawing on the classic ‘us against them’ psychology. Little old us fighting against the odds. Against the authorities. Against the big boys. It’s designed to create an enemy. An easy focus for his team.
But can you imagine Roy Keane saying this about Sunderland? Calling Sunderland a small club? They may be compared to the top four, but in Keane’s mind he would never allow himself to think of them as small. It sends out the wrong signals.
The victim psychology may create an enemy, but sub-consciously, by making it clear he feels Birmingham is a small club, Bruce builds a mind-set in the club. A mind-set that perhaps, sees fighting relegation as the norm. That expects to struggle.
What if Steve Bruce came out and said, ‘We’re a big club, and we are strong enough to handle this. We’ll get our fair share of dubious decisions throughout the season’. It sends out a completely different message. It spreads an air of confidence about the place. A sense of self-assurance and a belief that leads to success.
Changing the way you think, changes the outcomes that you attract. It could be a long hard season for The Blues.