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Branston determined to set Bradford buzzing

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Paul Fletcher | 07:12 UK time, Wednesday, 3 August 2011

There was very little wrong with Guy Branston's life in Torquay.

He enjoyed the relaxed seaside lifestyle and the relatively temperate weather on the English Riviera, he met Kelly and fell in love, and his football team were on the rise, reaching last season's League Two play-off final.

But Branston, a strong and uncompromising central defender, has given it all up to join the fourth tier's perennial under-achievers Bradford City.

Bye bye palm trees, hello two-bed in Pudsey.

Guy Branston in action for former club Torquay United.

Branston is a natural leader who has been made Bradford skipper. Photo: Getty Images

Branston is no stranger to taking a chance, gambling on his next move. According to Soccerbase, he has made nine permanent moves and 13 loans spells since he started out as a trainee at Leicester in 1997. It strikes me as a life of endlessly depressing hotel rooms and handshakes with new team-mates. But the bubbly Branston sees it differently.

"Martin O'Neill was my manager at Leicester and he told me to go out to the lower leagues, to take it all in, embrace it and become a better person and player. He was right," said the intelligent and in-yer-face Branston.

"Some hotels have been awful. One was choc-a-block with first-team players and youth-teamers. It was filthy and the food was terrible. I dropped a stone in weight.

"But moving to different clubs is something that has helped me. If the manager at your club does not want you, then you don't play anymore. Simple. A loan move has always been a great option, playing games, meeting people. I try to take every positive I can."

Branston claims he has just finished the hardest pre-season of his career and has relished the opportunity to impress upon his team-mates his unwavering desire to make a success of his move north. In training the other day, one of Bradford's younger players came out of a challenge with him sporting a black eye. When the player in question asked Branston if he should not have taken it a little easier, the defender laughed.

"I train how I play, I cannot turn it on and off," added Branston. "If there is a ball to be won, I win it, play it simple, pick the other player up afterwards and shake his hand. Young players must realise they have to have a winning mentality."

It is perhaps not surprising that manager Peter Jackson, now 50 but once upon a time a no-nonsense centre half with the Bantams, has made Branston his skipper.

The west Yorkshire club have finished 10th, ninth, 14th and 18th since their relegation to the bottom tier in 2007. Both Stuart McCall - another club legend - and Peter Taylor failed to build a winning team at Valley Parade, but Jackson is determined to arrest that sustained trend of mediocrity and wants Branston to make sure that a youngish squad understands the importance of grinding out results during a long season.

The skipper points to the likes of striker James Hanson, midfielders Dave Syers, Lee Bullock, Michael Flynn and fellow defender Luke Oliver as the experienced core of a squad that he hopes can challenge for promotion.

"We have an outside chance," he said. "It will be a big transitional season. We're a young vibrant squad with exciting players like Dominic Rowe, Chris Mitchell and former Falkirk forward Mark Stewart.

"Team spirit is massive in this division and we need to stick together. If we don't it could be a long season."

Branston reckons that Shrewsbury will be one of the teams to watch, with wily and experienced manager Graham Turner capable of improving on last season's fourth-placed finish.

He is backing his former club Torquay to recover from the loss of manager Paul Buckle to Bristol Rovers. "They have got players with a bright future," said the defender. "The club has got a solid fanbase of 2,000 and I hope the team can kick on again because they deserve success."

But he reckons that all four teams relegated from League One last season - Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Plymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge - may find it surprisingly difficult to adjust.

Rovers' new manager Buckle has brought in 15 new players and it will be interesting to see how successfully they gel.

"Buckle knows what he is doing but I would not have signed that many," said Branston. "He is putting himself under massive pressure.

"Swindon are a good club and they will be a side for others to worry about. I think that new boss Paulo Di Canio will want players with proven ability, although a lot of his signings have not played in this division before."

Di Canio was a flamboyant and outspoken player but the 43-year-old is completely unproven in management. He has signed players from Italy, Ghana, Namibia, the Netherlands and Algeria. Without doubt, a bold and brave venture has been undertaken at the County Ground and I don't think it will take long before we find out if it has been a foolish one.

Crawley, promoted from the Blue Square Bet Premier last season, are the bookies' favourites and several clubs will feel that, with a following wind, they could trouble the top end of the table.

Chesterfield, Wycombe, Bury and Stevenage won promotion last season - and who would have picked those four before the season began?

I am certain that unfancied teams will again emerge out of the pack this season, and I would not be surprised if the unflinching Branston has made sure that the Bantams are one of them.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    By far the best columnist on the BBC website Mr Fletcher. Anything will be an improvement on last season. Anything. And from what I've seen of this beast, if the lads around dont perform they'll know about it. Top 10 should be the aim, anything higher would be a much welcomed bonus! Another welcome bonus would be battering Leeds next Tuesday (we can but dream!!!).

  • Comment number 2.

    As a Swindon fan I know the pressure is definitely on us to not only be promoted but promoted well. Just over a year ago we were playing in the play-off final for a place in the Championship and look where we are now. Danny Wilson should never have gone but I am excited if not somewhat apprehensive about the appointment of Di Canio. As the article mentions he has signed pretty much a whole new squad which I don't think is what we needed but I know he will bring discipline to the team and hopefully this will reflect in our performances. It will be a tough division this year but looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Of Di Canio's signings only Devera (from Barnet) has recent experience of League Two, but all are proven quality players, able to play at a higher level, itching to perform for Paolo.

    From what we've seen pre-season he's already constructed a team and a unit working for each other, so League Two had better watch out...

    Promotion is our target and what we'll be celebrating come May.

    http://thewashbag.com

  • Comment number 4.

    "I train how I play, I cannot turn it on and off," added Branston. "If there is a ball to be won, I win it, play it simple, pick the other player up afterwards and shake his hand. Young players must realise they have to have a winning mentality."

    I shudder to think that youth players may follow in his example. I wonder if Barcelona judge a good training session based on the amount of players leaving the field with a black eye.

    Maybe he should look at this example and think, maybe if i'd have concentrated in improving my close control, passing, etc then I would have lasted more than 5 minutes at a club.

    A poor player, a big stopper who sadly, but most probably was picked up by Leicester during a trial for elbowing and out muscling the slighter, smaller yet far more skillful forward he was up against.

  • Comment number 5.

    Branston, always a player you hate as an away supporter but love when he plays for you. and given his track record, he probably will at some point. I think he is a brute, can defend at times, but too much uses his size and aggression. Football has changed. it is no longer about giving players black eyes in training.

    As always in League 2, there it is mostly complete guesswork as to who will do well. Personally, i fancy Oxford, Northampton and Gillingham to be the surprises. All built decent teams, and haven't uprooted a huge amount from last season.

    Going down, the usuals: Macclesfield, Barnet should probably be joined by Cheltenham, Morecambe and possibly (but hopefully not ) AFC Wimbledon.

    As for Shrewsbury - we wait in fear. Always pessimistic, but i think we should have built a good team. A good 7/8 players from last season should be starting on Saturday, so we only need a slight push to get us up. But how much has the league improved? We shall see

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Paul

    Good blog about a journeyman pro, i was surprised to see (via the 13 loans & 9 clubs link) that when he arrived at my team (Oldham) that we were his 13th club, i say this because when he arrived some of his touches / decisions were shocking, but when he left at the end of the following season with us he was our most improved player.
    Think the story about the black eyed youngster says it all about Guy, at times i enjoyed the no-nonsense approach he gave at BP, every fan likes to see whole hearted comittment and every team needs a bit of steel at the back.

  • Comment number 7.

    exciting players like Dominic Rowe not Rose.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ tomefccam - why are you comparing Barca to the lower leagues? There have to be different types of footballer to make a good team. Hence Puyol - He is famous for his "no-nonsence" approach!

    Anyway - I'm glad we have brought Branston in he is exactly the player we needed, we need some heart in the team, we need some grit which has been lacking in the last few years.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ah yes this is the Guy Branston who when getting himself sent off in a game last season, Jeff Stelling announced on Sky Sports that he had got himself into a pickle. Thought I recognised the name.

  • Comment number 10.

    Branston has orated one of the biggest problems with the English mentality to football. Getting 'stuck in' does not show a winning mentality!

    Technique, Intelligence, Mental and tactical discipline are the key components to been a successful footballer. Charging in and giving a striker a black eye is just the sign of a thug. Sadly this mentality is still prevalent at all levels of English football, and until it changes English players will always be second best.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hope your right paul, we were dire last season, probably the worst season of football i have ever witnessed!! I think it will be Crawley,Oxford,Bristol Rovers and us through the playoffs (got to be optimistic!!)

  • Comment number 12.

    Now then,

    Hope you all had a good summer. Seems like an age since last season ended.

    Thanks for your thoughts so far. I have had a few conversations with Branston and have always found him to be intelligent and punchy in person. He is a no-nonsense bloke and that is definitely the ways he plays football, but it would be a mistake to think that means he is not all that bright.

    Diet, nutrition, preparation - all these things matter to Branston. That is why someone ended up with a black eye - not because he is some kind of thug but because he trains at a very high intensity.

    Somebody mentioned Barcelona. Interesting point that because when you read about a lot of the very top teams one of the things that often stands out is that they train at a very high intensity.

    He has done numerous courses in pyschology, coaching and other areas that might boost his chances of staying in the game once he retires. He is a very different character in person to what might come across from watching him in action on a Saturday afternoon.

  • Comment number 13.

    I remember Branston from his Rotherham days (me being a Rotherham fan). Always liked him, no nonesense centre half. My dad always said, who's their tricky winger, get Branston on him. Great professional, may of got wound up from time to time, but it does show his passion for the game. Wish him luck this season, although my mate is a Bradford fan and recent years i've enjoyed his misery just as him mine when we've failed. Great column though.
    Best memory of Guy - him putting a huge hole in the ref's door at millmoor.

  • Comment number 14.

    @8 @12

    Yes Puyol is a little more no-nonsense in his approach. But with the 100+ international caps, World Cup Winners medal, European Championship medal and various Champions League medals, i'd assume there was a lot more to his game than brute force and bully boy tactics. Which is essentially all you get from Branston.

    Yes Barcelona train at high intensity, and I don't doubt players should give their all in every session. But when your all is at a standard that is reduced to hacking, bullying and elbowing your team mates - this can only be detrimental to the team.

    My point being - i'd sooner have Xavi saying to kids, yes despite your size and inferior stature, give 100% every session, keep moving, keep passing and be prepared to take the physical challenge.

    Rather than Branston telling kids that you shoudl shave your head, put on an extra stone and elbow, outmuscle and intimidate those that are better players in order to succeed.

  • Comment number 15.

    @14, really? There have been plenty of players over the years with a cupboard full of medals at all levels who were little more than 'thugs'. Spain has produced more than a few of them........ with the entire 1982 WC squad being made up up players who tried to crudely kick NI off the park. As for Puyol, I can't stand the man for that reason. Yes he's a good positional player, but he IS a dirty one.

    The current Spanish squad aren't exactly 'tame'. We hear all about their passing game, but they aren't shy when it comes to sticking the boot in either.

    As for sneering at Branston, frankly, give me just one of his kind of aggressive, 'win at all costs' types of player at Arsenal and I'd be a happy man. Football isn't just about 'fancy football' and never has been. Every good passing side throughout the history of the game has had at least one, usually two, 'hard men' to break up opponents play and keep possession.

    Anyone who thinks English footballs is too much reliance on 'aggression' needs a serious wake up call. No, the problems run far deeper than that.

    Good article from Paul (again). As people are rightly saying, he's the best blogger on here.

  • Comment number 16.

    "I train how I play, I cannot turn it on and off," added Branston. "If there is a ball to be won, I win it, play it simple, pick the other player up afterwards and shake his hand. Young players must realise they have to have a winning mentality."

    By "play it simple" I think he means "hoof it as far clear as I possibly can".

    One of the worst defenders I have ever seen playing at Boundary Park, and I was delighted when he left.

  • Comment number 17.

    tomefccam

    Be quiet.

    Yes you will need coaches like Xavi and messi etc small technically gifted players to inspire kids who aren't the biggest and strongest but you will also need coaches like Branston. You seem to have dubbed him with this steriotipical thug attitude. What you are missing here is that yes he is a big no nonsence centre half but this doesn't mean he's a thug because of he says "I train how I play, I cannot turn it on and off,". I seem to remember a few years back John Terry saying pretty much the same thing and are you going to tell me that John Terry is a thug.

  • Comment number 18.

    I get the feeling that this could be one of the closest League Two promotion races for many a year.

    Swindon will undoubtedly be a force. Di Canio simply wont let his team fail. At this level, with the players he's brought in and the determination of the whole squad to impress the new boss, it's difficult to see how the can fail to get promotion straight back up to League One.

    Crawley have had huge amounts of money pumped into them over the last couple of seasons and with work underway on redeveloping at least one side of their stadium already, you have to feel that the money bag owners are in it for the long haul and not just for a 3 month, Sven Goran Eriksson & Sol Campbell signing exposé like Notts County.

    My own hopes for Gillingham's promotion back to a slightly more glamarous league took a turn for the worse last week when Adam Birchall (our new 45 goal a season man) injured his cruciate knee ligaments on just his second substitute appearance and will be out for 6 months.. That said, we've made some excellent signings in Whelpdale & Lee from Peterborough and striker Danny Kedwell from AFC Wimbledon. If we're around the play off places by February/March when we hope to have Birchall back I think we could even make automatic promotion.

    Speaking of AFC Wimbledon, many are tipping them to have a long hard season with relelgation a very realistic conclusion. I hope this isn't the case come May. I, along with many others, have followed closely the trials and tribulations of the new Wimbledon's rise back into the public eye and I was delighted to see them overcome a very determined Luton Town at the home of Manchster City in the Conference play off final last year. I think they'll finish mid table.

    Bradford have massively under achieved over the past 4 seasons and it's a real shame to see a team of their stature with such an impressive stadium languishing around the lower echelons of the Football League. I dont see them challenging for automatic promotion this year but I fancy them to sneak into the play offs along with Shrewsbury and Torquay. The Shrews being the most dangerous of the three.

    Southend have signed a large number of players over the summer and with a very talented (although personality lacking) manager, Paul Sturrock, at the helm I think a head of steam could see them storm up the table and clinch either a play off berth or, depending on the consistancy of the other front runners, maybe even a top 3 finish.

    But who knows? I read every article, watch every live game and go to as many as I can but I can't predict a winner. No one can. And that's why we all love this game.

  • Comment number 19.

    @17

    Ok, we need more Guy Branstons teaching our kids how to play football. Let's see where that gets us?

    The fact is, Guy Branston does not train harder than Messi, Xavi, Luka Modric these guys give 100%. But they try 100% at playing football to a high standard. Something Branston has never done. He is a thug, "in your face" a quote attributed to him. The game is much worse off for players like this.


    @14 I don't dispute that physical toughness is required, and yes there is a place for players who can mix ability with controlled aggression. But to say that Branston could slip into the Arsenal, Barcelona or Spain team is ludicrous.

    Petit, Vieira, Adams, Keown were physical, but they were damned good players too. I'm sure the likes of Stephen Hughes, Ian Selley, Steve Morrow and Stephen Marshall trained as hard as Adams and co. But they weren't as good at playing football!

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh petemacd, what a gift:

    "....are you going to tell me that John Terry is a thug."

    Classic!!

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Nine permanent and thirteen loan moves in fourteen years? Does that not just mean he is a little bit rubbish rather than anything else?

  • Comment number 27.

    Buggrit Hall - my initial thoughts exactly, and maybe there is some truth in it. His theory is that if he is not playing at a club and the manager does not want him, go somewhere where somebody does. Along the way you meet more people, make more contacts and become a more well-rounded person.

    However, it is undoubtedly a lot of clubs.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    @27

    The only well rounded feature of Branston is his head, which he uses more than his feet on a football pitch

  • Comment number 30.

    I think the mythical and legendary Brian Latchley was the inspiration for his career. All that is missing is his belief in the the M's. Motivation, Motivation, Motivation.........

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm my eyes this is a great signing for Bradford and Jackson should be commended for his insight.

    The squad are a shell of their former Premier League days.

    Bradford could well be back on the up this season but for me, Hanson needs to show his worth this season and become the attacker that he thinks he can be.

  • Comment number 32.

    I remember clearly Branston's one and only game for Notts County.
    He went at it like a bull in a china shop, hacking at players left right and center. He was booked and very very lucky not to be sent off. He was then substituted at half time never to feature on a Notts team sheet again, much to every County supporters relief.
    I have seen him play a few times since for opposing teams and his attitude does not appear to have changed. In my opinion he should not be held up as an example to younger players. There is a reason he has had so many clubs and it isn't his silky skills, why have so many managers turned against him?

  • Comment number 33.

    Wow, now this is a debate . Lots of great comments from top fans from different clubs . I amazes me you go out of your day to comment on my career . But you have so got to comment on a few .

    Sorry to all that think I just go around smashing people .... I don't. I go out in training and games to work hard for the team I play in, the Manager who risks his job picking me and like with all players he picks . And then for the Fans I play for .

    This is massive you understand this . This is my job . I get told to keep clean sheets and win football matches because people lose jobs if I don't . Us footballers are painted in a bad light as it is . We work really hard in the lower leagues .And not every footballer is the same as you read in HELLO or THE SUN .We are real people.The Premier is a miles away from us . The Gulf is huge more than you lot who watch it on TV, saying on Sunday after 10 pints "I COULD DO THAT FOR £45000" "KICKING IT OUT OF PLAY ." (Don t worry I have said it. Am a football fan at heart . )

    I know football purists wont like it but keeping the ball doesn't just win games of football. Scoring goals does !!!! . I am all for the passing football style and teach kids it when coaching .Which I really enjoy . Its great to be able to cope with the ball under pressure and get out of small spaces like top players can do and than move forward quickly and at pace.

    THAT'S WHY I PLAY LEAGUE TWO ....NOT IN THE PREMIER-LEAGUE I CANT DO THAT.

    And one last thing .... AM really happy with my Career . I wouldn't change a thing its made me a Man, and a nice Man at that .

    Honest truth . If you ever see me at a game and want to chat about the Game of football one on one please say hello . I am a friendly man who loves the job.And I have a love mixing with new people and football fans

    Enjoy the season , Support your local sides and remember its a Game .And what a Game .

    Thanks Fletch Best Blog on the BBC .

  • Comment number 34.

    Good response Brano - looking forward to your first clean sheet of the season this Saturday!

  • Comment number 35.

    Guy you legend, get us promotion fella!! Give 100% every week and the fans at Bradford will back you all the way

  • Comment number 36.

    In case you had not noticed, Guy Branston mounts a very robust and heart-felt defence of some of the stick he has taken. Post 33.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am a Torquay fan and I was really saddened to see Guy leave. He is what he is and that is an uncompromising League 2 central defender. Comparing him to Barcelona players is a nonsense - he would not be playing in League 2 if he did not have to rely on brute force and ariel ability as a central defender. You rarely get ball-playing centre-halves at this level. I think Branston probably played the best footy of his career at Plainmoor and if he continues to do the same for Bradford I can imagine the Yorkshire fans will love Branno. He gives everything but is not the unintelligent thug people try to pain him as. We will miss him and he deservedly was voted player of the year for us next season. I guess he has mellowed a little as he is not the hot-head he perhaps once was. I think in a way he would like to have stayed at Torquay but Bradford was too big a club for him to turn down when you consider he was at Kettering in non-league a couple of years ago. However, I am certain he will get a really good reception at Plainmoor when Bradford play us and I wish Branston well.

  • Comment number 38.

    What is with all this bad blood towards Branston? I wonder how many people commenting have ever even met him?

    9 transfers and 13 loans - sounds to me like a player who absolutely loves his football and is absolutely determined to keep himself in the game.

    Unless you've played at a higher standard how about keeping the abuse to yourself.

  • Comment number 39.

    Evening all .....what a great debate i thouhtt id have to come on here and make a comment .....great piece by fletch and how refreshing that we have branston on here talking from the heart .....like most others im amazed that were comparing barcelona with a centre half from bradford..i think some of these football fans need to get in the real world iv played football to a high standard myself not proffesional but amateur and this is the problem from park football everyone talks a good game wed all like to ping a ball around with fancy touches and we can all say hes crap i could do better but at the end of the day we all play at the standard we do cos thats our level.....im a sheffield wednesday fan so i have come across branston quite a few times and u could not meet a nicer footballer he played for us for one season and for me should have stayed longer i used to watch them train and like he says he only nos one way to train and it sets such an example to the rest of the squad iv also met him at training and he remembered my name and voluntered his services to a few charity dos attended by quite a few people who all came to the same conclusion what a lovely lad he is who went out of his way to talk to everyone in his own time and trust me iv come across many footballers who wont even talk to u...i just think a few comments on here are very personal and sent by people who have prob never played the game but they watch it and think they can for example the oldham fan who keeps going on ....mate your watching oldham not madrid and the comment of hes the worst player arent u forgeting will haining,ruben hazzel,gareth owen the list goes on branston buts in a solid shift wk in wk out so id keep ur comments about barcelona to yourself or tell your mrs if u have one.....im a big football fan who follows weds home and away and at our level its what fballs all about iv followed branstons career since he left us and yes hes had clubs but hes just honest enough to move clubs if hes not playing not sit out for money.....one thing nobody has mentioned on this blog is he was in team of the year for league two last year so thats giving him the ultimate compliment because its voted for by all the league two players and i think they no a little more about football than us supporters!!!....Branston was immense for torquay last year putting his body on the line defending for his life wouldnt it be nice for us to see some so called premier league ballers as they call themselves doing this but half are to busy sittting in the stands picking up the massive wages and buying obscene watches cars and earrings....and this is one of the reasons i dont watch england anymore too much money who are just so distant from us fans.....iv spoke to a few pals who support sides branston has played for and they all say great defender and those who have met him great lad a top top proffesional ...i think its a great signing by bradford and to have him captain will change everything about the club leading from the pitch and hopefully up the leagues cos there a massive club ....good luck to all u bantams fans and to you guy branston i hope u all have a great season dont listen to some of these daft barcleona and arsenal comments this is real football!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Unfortunately for Branston he will always be a lower league kicker to a majority of football fans. I was fortunate to watch him a few times last season on my travels and there was a bit of maturity about him, and the Torquay players looked up to him as he was their leader. 40 odd appearances, no red cards and he was in the PFA Team of the Year. He still had that mean streak for sure, maybe he's grown up a bit or life changed off the pitch. Bradford have been underachievers for years and you can see why Jackson has gone for him.

  • Comment number 41.

    I did have to laugh when I seen him being compared to players that play at the top level. This is why he plays in league two! If he had all the ball skills of messi, or the passing skills of xavi would he be playing for Bradford? I think not... He works with what ability he has got. I know that he has had a lot of clubs, but if he was that bad he would have dropped down to the bottom end of non-league football. If your not good enough to play at the level, a manager wont go out and offer you a contract surely?

    I don't claim to think Branston is a great player, but he does what he needs to do for the the team. Yes he can come in a bit strong, but he isn't going onto the field to hurt anyone, and if he does, like all players I'm sure he genuinely is sorry.

    Also, if you can get messi and xavi down the park, or down to a lower league youth team to coach the players, please try. I can assure you it wont happen!!

  • Comment number 42.

    @ Spalds007

    "mate your watching oldham not madrid and the comment of hes the worst player arent u forgeting will haining,ruben hazzel,gareth owen the list goes on branston buts in a solid shift wk in wk out so id keep ur comments about barcelona to yourself or tell your mrs if u have one"

    1. I never mentioned Barcelona. It's a ridiculous comparison to make, so I didn't make it.

    2. Will Haining, Gareth Owen and Rueben Hazell have all been far better defenders for us. In fact, they were for the most part pretty good.

    3. Fair play to the guy (no pun intended) for coming on here and defending himself. However, I still stick by my original comment that he is one of the worst defenders I have ever seen play for us.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Paul, Stockport County fan here. I remember our home match v Torquay last season. He was a rock for them, and many County fans would have loved to see him sign for us when it was revealed he was leaving the Gulls. During this particular game, he was chasing a 50/50 ball into our 6 yard box with one of our defenders and ended up colliding with one of our stewards. Instead of getting up and jogging off, he was genuinely concerned and helped the dazed steward up and made sure he was ok. He even came over to him after the game to see if he was still ok. He is not the animal some people on here would have you believe, he's a top pro in my book and I'd love a player like him at County.

  • Comment number 44.

    As a torquay fan can I just thank Guy for his efforts last year. Outstanding defender at league 2 level and his leadership, maturity and dedication helped take our young team to the play off finals last year. Deservedly in the league 2 team of the year.

    While he is certainly uncompromising, he certainly showed non of the disciplinary issues that have been a part of his earlier playing days. By all accounts a really nice, down to earth guy off the field as well.

    Gutted to see him go but he has no doubt helped two of our young centre backs develop and the bradfordno doubt on paper are a bigger club. Deserves the opportunity, not just for the form he showed for us but also for the determination he has shown after dropping out of the league altogether just 2 years ago - not too many players fight their way back once this happens after 30.

    Best of luck Guy

  • Comment number 45.

    I've seen Branston play a few times over my years of supporting Barnsley and he has stuck in my mind for being 'robust' to say the least.

    Although I haven't seen him play for a while, it would be my guess that he has matured over his career and is now able to mix in composure with his aggression, and when he does employ this aggression it is at more accurate times.

    Branston seems like the classic lower league player, an honest worker who will give 100% and for this should be commended. We hold far worse characters in higher esteem in this country

  • Comment number 46.

    @brano, well done for coming on and commenting, without rancour, about some of the comments here.

    As people have said (and the man himself) you cannot compare a journeyman defender from the lower leagues to top flight defenders, although I have seen a fair few donkeys myself.......... step up Messrs Blockley, Pates and Caton. You play to your strengths, and to the level of your ability. I've played to a good standard myself, and, as Brano says, I've been guilty of the 'I could do better than that' comment, although of course, I couldn't!

    I read a great article once about the sad fate of Gus Caesar, a player who won notoriety for his torrid performance in the L/C S/F against Spurs when Waddle tormented the poor guy beyond endurance. As a result of that game he never made it. Yet he was deemed good enough to make the first team by his manager., and by his youth coaches. Sometimes the breaks just don't go your way, sometimes you just aren't up to it. Brano obviously knew which one it was, something Gus probably didn't......

    The morals of the story are: don't knock someone who accepts their level of ability and plays to their strengths, and, just because someone doesn't perform for you (or does) doesn't mean they are a bad/good player. Caton, Blockley, and Paton all came to Highbury with good reps, but left with them in tatters..........

    The defence rests........ :)

  • Comment number 47.

    seriously people comparing puyol to guy branston

    guy is a journeyman lower league centre half who kicks elbows and spits for 90 mins has the turning circle of the qe2

  • Comment number 48.

    "Also, if you can get messi and xavi down the park, or down to a lower league youth team to coach the players, please try. I can assure you it wont happen!!
    "

    simpo i suggest you do a bit more research mate before just making stuff up

    xavi and messi work regularly with the barca youth squads at least a few times a week

  • Comment number 49.

    As a Telford UTD fan I have watched Guy Branston playing against us a few times and have up say every time I have seen him I have been enormously impressed with what he does. He seems to be a great leader on the pitch, keeps his teammates motivated and gives his all when he is on the pitch. Every team needs a player like that whatever level they are at ok he may not be the most skillful player but he does what is required for his team to win, shame not all footballers have the team mentality and put personal glory first. Good luck to him

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    firstly well do to guy branston for coming on here and giving his opinion on the blog and the earlier comments. he gave a very constructive post to say the least without having a go at anybody.
    i have to wonder if some of the early posters have been to lower league football? iam a leicester fan first of all but i now live in lincolnshire and have been going to watch boston for around the last 8 years. i cant remember if he played at york street when i have been to a game (sorry guy!) but i can remember the standard. the skill levels are no where near premier league standard. defenders are simply there to stop the other team playing football through whatever means. if that involves a few hard tackles and some physical stuff then so be it. same as they dont run with the ball or do amazing passes because they can't. Guy really is the sort of defender you need at that level to strike some fear into the other team and make them think 'i wont get by him very easily'.
    i hope he does well this season and help turn bradford around as to me they are the biggest underachievers in the division.

  • Comment number 52.

    I wonder how many of those criticising Guy Branston have actually seen him play....How often do they watch lower league football......

    I saw him play several times last season for Torquay and he was outstanding (by league 2 standards of course). Yes he was "robust" but never dirty or violent. I'm sorry he's left Torquay.

    A few comparsions with Puyol have been made. Yes of course he's not at the same standard - that's why he's playing in League 2 and not the Premiership. But he's not as "dirty" as Puyol, but because he's a Spanish World Cup, European Championship winner, etc. etc. etc., some people think he's above criticism. But Puyol is far dirtier and dishonest than Branston. Mure subtle perhaps, but dirtier. And one thing that's beyond dispute (even by the anti-English Brigade on here), Branston can take a challenge as well as give them. That's one thing you can't say of Puyol, who will throw himself to the floor and roll around and the merest hint of being tackled. Until he gets his opponent booked or sent of of course.....

    There's lots of ways of playing football. Thankfully. And hopefully, for every Puyol, they'll be a Branston.

  • Comment number 53.

    At 22:17 3rd Aug 2011, barnsie wrote:
    "Also, if you can get messi and xavi down the park, or down to a lower league youth team to coach the players, please try. I can assure you it wont happen!!
    "
    ------------------
    simpo i suggest you do a bit more research mate before just making stuff up

    xavi and messi work regularly with the barca youth squads at least a few times a week


    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    barnsie, simpo didn't say "barca youth squad", but "down the park, or down to a lower league youth team".
    So before you "suggest you do a bit more research mate before just making stuff up", I suggest you read comments a bit more carefully and stop misrepresenting people..............

  • Comment number 54.

    Lifelong Bradford City fan. Seen Guy play for Torquay against us over the last few years and he's always been rock solid, I've been saying for at least 2 years that he's exactly the kind of centre back we need to sure up the defence and help bring on Steve Williams who has a lot of potential.

    Guy massive respect to you for coming on here and chipping in to the debate, this backs up exactly what you were saying about the Premier League being miles away. League 2 players are normal blokes who are just that bit better at football then the rest of us who play 5 a side or pub leagues or whatever.

    For me Guy is the best signing we've made this summer and as other's have mentioned above City fans will love you as long as you carry on giving it everything, and i can't see that being a problem for you!

  • Comment number 55.

    can't believe you said Branston relishes chance....

    Went to gigg lane this morning to buy new Bury shirt - unbelievable! I know that there are a limited number of permutations of blue and white especially over a 120 season history AND i know that historicaly footbal fans are a bit rotund but a long sleeved knee length white maternity smock with Bury council printed on the front for 40 quid? Pound for Pound the biggest shirt i have ever seen, not so much flying off the shelf as paragliding. One stiff draught through the shop front door and the whole buiding woud have been soaring. If these shirts are absorbent we'll definitey be disadvantaged paying in the rain - on the other hand great if playing with folowing wind (sorry about speling, having trouble with letter l - think there's a back pudding crumb stuck under button). Bicyce capes out of fashion but this could be the big return.
    Have known many disappointments in life, word cups, magical mystery tour film, father christmas etc but this...... can now only go to away games due to embarassment and poverty (have bought away shirt, another 40 quid)


  • Comment number 56.

    great pro , we loved him whilst he was at london road. I'm sure every club he's been at the fans have all really taken to brano. really nice guy who always gives his all. can't fault him.

  • Comment number 57.

    Previous Bradford teams over the last 10 years have lacked their steel in defence and we've suffered for that reason, bullied by big forwards etc. I doubt we'll be so bullied by any team with out current defence, including Guy in there (Oliver and Williams not exactly lightweights either).

    Don't lose the fire Guy - we need you in there! Sounds like a good game at Oxford latest too, well done!

 

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