Steve Bruce today broke his silence over the whole Marcos Angeleri/Racism allegations, and boy did he come out fighting.
(Our earlier story here - Marcos Angeleri's Stunning Attack On Steve Bruce)
Speaking at today's press conference Steve first of all dealt with the comments Angeleri made to ESPN Radio last week, acknowledging the Argentine's frustrations, but not letting him off the hook "I try to treat him with respect but I’m not picking him, so I understand his frustration. I will deal with Marcos when he returns and it will be kept in-house, but obviously he will be severely reprimanded."
Bruce bang on the money there in all points - in that it should be kept in-house, that Angeleri should be punished, and obviously for a player only recently purchased he understands why he'd be angry. As do we, but Marcos went about this all wrong.
Bruce then turned his attention to The Sun newspaper who were the first of the English media to run the story and implied Steve Bruce was a racist, which clearly isn't true due to the sheer volume of foreign players in our squad, from all corners of the world and several different races.
"In today’s world, there is nothing more damaging than someone suggesting you are racist." said the Gaffer, adding "But the thing I find really disturbing is a national newspaper going down that route. I have always tried to look further afield for players – at Wigan I brought in a lot of South Americans, here I have brought in South Americans and Africans. It’s ridiculous to accuse me of being racist."
The boss vowed to defend himself strongly against these outrageous allegations and in addition to banning reporters from The Sun attending press conferences and the Stadium Of Light, Bruce may take legal action against the paper "Sometimes you have to make a stand. There comes a time where you have to defend your reputation, and I am considering whether to go down the legal route in this case."
The Sun ran the headline "Bruce In New Race Row" which would be damaging to anyone, not to mention completely inaccurate. The story suggested that in addition to this Bruce was racist against Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier, following claims from Houllier that Bruce picked on him because he was "an easy target" and a "foreign manager."
The Angeleri story was certainly newsworthy and bang out of order from Marcos, but did not need to be reported in the way it was, but it would seem sensationalist headlines got in the way of a "player doesn't like manager"story.
I'd like to add at this juncture that we reported it too, but if you read back in the link at the top of the article you'll see no mentions of racism (because it's clear he isn't) and we're very much on Bruce's side on this one, as is every level-headed fan.
I hope Steve Bruce takes them for every penny they have.