No disrespect is intended to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, but when a foreign boss can hear and understand the Hull City fans who sang foul-mouthed songs at City’s Wayne Bridge, then you know we have a major issue on our hands.
The Premiership fixture between Hull and Manchester City on Saturday, at the KC stadium, was Bridge’s first game since the news broke about Chelsea captain John Terry’s affair with Bridge’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel- which resulted in Terry being sacked as England captain. The fact that Mancini became so incensed by it tells you about how tough it will be for Bridge to overcome this- Saturday’s game will have given him a taste of how vile and nasty some football fans across the country can be.
Of the chanting, Mancini said: “The people showed him no respect. It was not good but he handled it well and he was OK after the game. I think the fans should have showed him more respect in the first half. It has been a very difficult 13 days for him.” For everything that Bridge must be going through he deserves massive credit for the way he has handled himself. This goes back not only to the breaking of this news, but for his first appearance in ‘public’ during Saturday’s game. He avoided eye contact with the fans, got about his business quietly and seemed like he blanked everything out.
Whatever happens in players personal lives is one thing, and should be sorted out behind closed doors. Amongst all the drama and controversial news over the last week, it seems we have forgotten the problems that lie on the pitch regarding Wayne Bridge- more so than John Terry. Bridge is the innocent party here, but there is so much importance on Terry being fit for England at the World Cup that if Bridge can prove he is worthy of being taken on the plane to South Africa then the manager Fabio Capello must unite the two, and quickly.
The rumours of Bridge quitting international football seem false, so Capello has to decide whether or not to call-up Bridge for the World Cup squad, or see how the next few months evolve. There is every chance that Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock may contest Bridge for the second left-back spot, so Capello’s decision could be made easier depending on the form and fitness of the two players. The cruel world of football has bitten Bridge hard here. He is the person who has done nothing in creating the shameful headlines but his place is most under threat when it comes to international football.
Of the two players, Terry and Bridge, it seems that the mental strength is firmly with Terry. Under the circumstances, he played like nothing has happened to him in Chelsea’s victory over Arsenal. Terry’s mental strengths were never in question but Bridge’s will be. Bridge seems to be a fairly private type of individual and for this situation to happen to a person of his personality is doubly hard for them to take. He must try to make sure he is not an easy target for opposition fans. When summing up the two players character, it seems that if Terry was in Bridge’s position then he would treat this like a bridge over troubled water.