Titus Bramble: From top clubs clamouring to calamity

Titus Bramble: From top clubs clamouring to calamity

When a teenage Titus Bramble broke into the Ipswich Town first team he was quickly tipped for the very top. Despite a decent career, his name was always in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Is that Titus Bramble or…

Bramble had already made his senior bow for his hometown team, Ipswich Town, with a handful of appearances as a 17-year-old before a loan spell at nearby Colchester United gave him more experience of the men’s game. By the time he returned to Portman Road, George Burley’s men were in the promised land of the Premier League after winning an enthralling play-off final against Barnsley.

Tony Mowbray, one of Ipswich’s best performers from the promotion campaign, had retired leaving John McGreal, John Scales and Mark Venus as the recognised centre backs in the squad. Burley, however, had a 19-year-old wildcard up his sleeve in Titus Bramble. He started the campaign in the first choice pairing. His performances did not disappoint. He scored his only goal of the season in the Tractor Boys first win of the campaign – a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

It wasn’t the goal that got Ipswich fans excited though. Bramble was quick and strong, which helped on the defensive side but it was marauding runs out of the back four that had him being likened to their best ever player, Kevin Beattie.  

Lapses in concentration

There was no denying how impressive Bramble’s first taste of the top level was. Ipswich were flying. The Champions League places were a genuine possibility too albeit they eventually finished fifth for a UEFA Cup spot instead. His style of play combined with the occasional drop in concentration did, however, see Bramble make the odd mistake. He was only a teenager though. It was something you expected him to eradicate from his game.

Sir Bobby Robson, an Ipswich legend, thought the same. His Newcastle United side added Bramble to their ranks for £6m when Ipswich were relegated in 2001/02. His first season on Tyneside went to plan with him starting most of the games where he was available. The team finished third. It was happy days all around. Then things nosedived.

Newcastle finished fifth in 2003/04. Robson’s job was hanging by a thread and Bramble was a big part of the reason for it. He showed moments of his unquestionable talent but there were far too many blunders and he was voted as the Premier League’s worst player. An award nobody wants.

Bouncing back and a new start

Bramble showed great mental strength to hold down his starting spot the next season. The manager who bought him was sacked early on. Things were changing. Bramble though, was not only a regular in defence but three goals in the UEFA Cup saw the Toon Army make the semi-final.

The next couple of seasons passed as everyone had been accustomed. Bramble was brilliant. Then he was bonkers. When his contract expired in 2007 he moved to Wigan. Everything pointed to Bramble edging towards the best form of his career. His first year with the Lactics was fairly solid; the second was probably the best he had. He won four individual awards in the teams end of season awards and talk of an England call up gathered pace.

The cap never came and in 2010 Bramble risked the wrath of Newcastle fans as he joined bitter rivals Sunderland. He was now an experienced head but those teenage mistakes were still tearing their ugly head and off the pitch headlines were making for bad reading. In 2013 he was released. His career was over.

Where is he now?

Bramble is currently splitting his duties across two things. He’s coaching the youth teams at Ipswich and is heavily involved in the Future Stars charity.

There you have it, the career of Titus Bramble. He came with huge potential, spent 13 years in the Premier League but yet he is still best known for his blunders.

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