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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Every now and then, in a pressbox crammed with bitter, cynical old journalists, there is a frisson of excitement. Something wonderful ripples up and down the rows of greying, over-weight hacks, a buzz to make them believe in magic again. Usually its source is a young starlet like Jack Wilshere, or a foreign import like Andrei Arshavin. On Saturday at Stamford Bridge, it was Titus Bramble.

I'd read reports suggesting that Bramble had improved dramatically, but I thought that just meant he'd stopped scoring own goals. I never stopped to consider that he might have become a good defender. It seemed inconceivable, but had it not been for John Terry's outstanding all-round performance, I would have made the Wigan defender my man of the match. His timing in the challenge was impeccable, he was dominant in the air, his positioning was exceptional and he was only denied a goal by an excellent block from Ashley Cole. Shaking with excitement at the end of the game, I asked some journalists from the north-west what they made of it and they confirmed my suspicions - he's having the season of his life.

Type Bramble's name into any search engine and you'll find dozens of videos. Most are compilations detailing his most infamous errors, but there are amateur films as well, capturing individual moments of defensive lunacy in school games, set against the mocking chant of 'Bramble! Bramble!' The poor man has become synonymous with incompetence, a byword for stupidity. Who can forget his flying toe-poke into the face of Shay Given? And what about his stunning near-post header...past his own goalkeeper?

But, if the improvement in Bramble's condition is permanent, if more and more people notice that he's no longer an uninsurable liability against success, will football lose something beautiful? Having a Bramble on the pitch gave you hope that, however boring the game was, you might be on the brink of seeing something hilarious. A trip, a slip, a one yard backpass, anything to break the monotony. Newcastle, always a club to put entertainment before achievement, used to pair him with Jean-Alain Boumsong and doubled the chances of catastrophe. Ah, those were the days!

But maybe we shouldn't see it like that. Maybe Bramble's story is one of redemption and rather than mourn the passing of his ineptitude, we should celebrate it as an inspiration to us all. Steve Bruce didn't sign the clown prince of football, that honour belongs to Chris Hutchings. But it was Bruce who who stuck with him through the bad times, who passed on his knowledge and experience from Old Trafford. Bramble owes his manager a huge debt of gratitude for that confidence. Would you have staked your managerial career on his ability?

We all make mistakes and we all have moments where we do something astonishingly stupid. Thankfully, very few of them end up on YouTube. But what really matters is not how we fall, but how we pick ourselves back up again. In any industry, in any walk of life, sometimes all we need to succeed is someone to believe in us.


Life President⭐
Oct 25, 2003
Cold Norton, Essex
Titus Bramble is playing really well at the moment and its nice to see him get some praise which is normally held for Terry and Ferdinand.


Thailand Shrimper
Oct 28, 2003
If he keeps this up he could be a shout for the England squad. If theres one man with the balls to give him a callup its Fabio.