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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Furious Cunningham attacks Bruce
Kenny Cunningham
Cunningham endured a difficult season with the Blues
Out-going Birmingham captain Kenny Cunningham has hit out at the club and manager Steve Bruce following their relegation from the Premiership.

Cunningham said: "Unfortunately, and I take no pleasure in saying this, the only person who must take responsibility is the manager.

"While things remain the same, the fans and players will never experience the kind of success they deserve.

"Birmingham has no heartbeat and, more worryingly, no soul."

Cunningham added: "A huge number of people, including the manager, agreed that man for man we were as talented as any team in the Premiership, apart from the top five and I think there is a lot of truth to it.

"Man for man we could hold our own against the likes of Blackburn, Bolton, and West Ham. If you agree with that statement then you have to find a reason why we finished up to 30 points behind those clubs.

Our preparation was nowhere near good enough
Kenny Cunningham

"People might accuse the attitude and application of the players - that's a non-starter.

"I have been in that environment working alongside those players and I know the nucleus of that team is as professional and as conscientious as any I have ever played with during my career."

Cunningham slammed Bruce's match preparations and training sessions.

"The performance of the team on Saturday is directly influenced by what goes on and off the training pitch for the six days prior to that game. That is a fact.

"For me, our preparation was nowhere near good enough.

"We had crisis meetings throughout the season as every team does. The manager asked for honest opinions from players as to how we could improve and the message from the players every time was the same.

"'We need to prepare better for the games on a Saturday'. 'We are not as prepared and organised as we should be'. 'We need to use our time on the training pitch more productively'.

"There has been a suggestion this season that we had been relegated because we were the unluckiest team ever in Premiership history.

"If you buy into that mode of thinking you are burying your head into the sand and this club will never progress."

Extremely sensitive

The club have expressed their disappointment at Cunningham's comments.

A statement on their website said: "The club is currently experiencing an extremely sensitive period, yet Kenny, who remains an employee, has chosen to publicly express his views through the media - without seeking prior permission or consultation, and not directly to any member of the board, despite limitless opportunities to do so.

"As a player that has now been released, Kenny Cunningham has no knowledge of the club's financial position or the ambitions and plans in place to achieve success."


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