“Titus’s occasional flashes of brilliance are heavily outweighed by the total inability to think before attempting what inevitably turns into a hashed clearance, a mistimed tackle, an own goal or a penalty for the opposition.” These were the words written after Newcastle United defender Titus Bramble topped a poll of Worst Players of 2004. Bramble, often the butt of many jokes, built up a reputation as a terrible defender, always expected to make mistakes and let down a team. However I suggest this; Titus Bramble is now a class act.
Bramble, who experienced a torrid time at St. James Park, left the Magpies in the summer of 2007 on a free transfer, agreeing a 3 year deal with fellow Premier League club Wigan Athletic. Bramble began to make slow progress with the north-west club, and with a series of solid performances started to gain the approval and respect of the Latics’ fans. Manager Steve Bruce was a firm believer in the defenders ability, so much so that he gave him the honour of captaining the side against his former club Ipswich Town.
Bramble’s performances are unfortunately often overlooked by many. It is often the case that his name will only fall into the spotlight if he has made a high profile error; it is almost as though silence is Bramble’s best compliment. It is shame because the defender has really matured and improved his game since joining Wigan Athletic, it may be a relatively unknown fact outside of Wigan fans that in the 2008-09 season, Bramble scooped an outstanding 4 awards including Player of the Year and Players Player of the year, a great feat for any player, let alone one who has had to deal with his fair share of criticism.
I believe the ex-Newcastle man to be one of the first names on the Wigan team sheet. His partnership with Emmerson Boyce has been key in establishing Wigan as a household Premier League name. Bramble has once again started this season in fine form, as Wigan have notched up a few impressive victories so far in the campaign. The defender scored a header against title challengers Chelsea in a 3-1 victory in September, showing that he is also a threat at the other end of the pitch and in the process gave Wigan their first victory against a top 4 club in 35 attempts.
So where does did it all change for Bramble? In my opinion it’s not a case of the defender suddenly gaining his ability. Bramble always had potential and he has got his head down and worked hard with Wigan Athletic and the guidance of Steve Bruce, a world class defender in his time, would have definitely helped his cause. I believe Bramble to have also greatly benefited from the atmosphere of the DW Stadium. St. James’ Park can never have been an easy place to make a mistake with 50,000 supporters in front of you and I am led to believe that Bramble is quite a popular member with Wigan fans and this has surely played some part in Brambles game improving.
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