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I can't help but feel sorry for Danny Wilson. I know he was under no illusions when he first came to Bristol City about our financial situation, but he is now starting his third season with us and the board are still not allowing him to bring in his own players to build up his own team.
I understand the point of view that we don't want to end up in the financial situation of some other clubs and I couldn't think of anything worse than having your team's future in doubt. I just think that from the very start of Danny's reign in charge he had misguided promises that if he could reduce the size of the squad, get rid of some of the dead wood and reduce the wage bill he would be given the go-ahead to bring in some players of his choice. As far as I can see, this is exactly what he has done. He has managed to offload a number of highly paid players and ones not good enough for City or Division Two any more. To name a few (and its up to you which category you put them in) Tony Thorpe, Steve Jones, Carl Hutchings, Greg Goodridge, Gerard Lavin, Damien Spencer, Matt Hewlett, Ivan Tistimetanu, Tony Malessa, Ben Wright, Alex Meechan, Paul Holland, Andy Jordan, Jamie Attwell etc...
I know he has been allowed to buy three or four players since he arrived, but surely entering into his third season in charge that is not enough for a team who are so-called "moving forward". If we really want promotion this season we have to bring in new blood, especially (and more importantly now that Louis Carey is out for the beginning of the season) an experienced defender and, ideally, a nippy little striker in the mould of Thorpe. As far as I can see, this isn't going to happen and neither will promotion! At crucial times over the last couple of seasons when we have needed a fresh player brought into the squad, this hasn't happened. I know we haven't got the money like a lot of other high profile Division One clubs, but if we want to get in that division and stay there we will have to spend something. How many other teams will go into the new season without any new signings?
Don't get me wrong, I haven't got anything against the young players coming through the Academy. I think the majority have great futures ahead of them. I just don't think (and I'm going to sound like Alan Hansen here!) that we can have a team full of youngsters without a lot of first team experience. Although I did hear a good argument that at least the majority of the youngsters are Bristol born and bred and are City fans, which effectively makes them more dedicated to the team and more determined than most for promotion. They won't just be using us as a "stepping stone" to further their careers, as other players have done before. Even though I agree with this, I still feel we need some additions to the squad to give us some depth and cover in all positions.
So there you have it. I’m behind Danny 100 per cent and can fully understand his frustrations at not being allowed to bring in his own players to create his own team. Even though he hasn't said as much, I think it is obvious that he cannot be 100 per cent happy at the moment. When Danny first took over, my dad said to me: "He'll be gone by Christmas." To be honest a lot of us didn't think such a high profile manager would stick around too long. But he is still here and I really admire him for that. He's not gonna give up on us easily. Come on The Board - stick by Danny as much as he's stuck by us. Give him some dosh!!
Kaz Rossiter (Kustard)
All the best with The Incider. Just a few lines to start. I've been supporting the City for over 45 years and I cannot remember looking forward to season so little as this one coming. I know the financial situation doesn't help but there seems very little to enthuse about.
What manager goes on holiday when the hard work of pre season starts??? Every time there is some news from the Gate it seems to be about another injury. My prediction for the season is that we will be more likely involved in a relegation battle than a promotion challenge.
With time ticking away and only a fortnight until the big kick off, what can we, as City supporters, really expect from the coming nine months? Will it be the same old City or will the boys in the scarlet red jerseys actually suprise us? I doubt it very much. Keeping a close eye on all the Division Two transfer activity, it pains me to see that Danny Wilson hasn't dipped into the club’s shallow pockets and purchased the commanding centre back we all crave.
Is it time City fans everywhere stopped thinking Bristol City are a "big club" and entertain the fact we'll never be one - or do we all look on optimistically and strive to be one of England’s premier clubs? It pains me, but I'd opt for the former. With TV money at a premium and none of our players valued at any significant sum of money how are City going to take that next forward step?
It's not the '70's anymore and clubs of our size can't just waltz in to the top flight and expect people to sit up and take notice, à la 1976. We need a sizeable cash injection and we need it now.
People out there harp on about the Academy, but is the average City fan really that stupid? The half dozen or so Academy players are worth nothing to the club until we sell them on and I don't see a queue of clubs knocking our door down for Matty Hill, Danny Coles, Marvin Brown etc. There must be a reason for this. Could it be that the "people in the know" have injected large sums of money into a project that produces poor to average players?
In order for the whole idea to work our young players need to be playing Division One football, not the kick and rush, hustle and bustle football we've been witnessing over the last three or four seasons.
I only (and I don't think I'm on my own here) want the board of Directors to satisfy us, the fans, before the memory of our last season in Division One pails into a distant, fond memory. Just like our last stint with the top dogs twenty years ago!! We're still waiting!
Ramsay Pontin (Robbie Robin)
Congratulations on the launch of your new website. It's always refreshing to have different viewpoints and the more gags that can be expressed at the expense of the Gas the better! Speaking as someone who has seen the light and moved to Australia, the Web is about the only way to stay in touch with what's happening down the Gate - so the more the merrier.
One question people always ask an ex-pat is "Well what do you miss about England?" It's pretty simple really - the pubs, English comedy (well have you ever seen an Aussie sitcom?), and football. Of course, we have football here (oops...soccer) but unless you've ever stood on a terrace (albeit with a beer in your hand) and watched the equivalent of Canvey Island Second XI taking on an invitational team from Guatemalan primary schools then you'll have no idea as to how sad the state of the game over here is. However, it was a sterling effort from the boys here to scrape by 36-0 against American Samoa - apparently 35 of the goals were lucky so the scoreline is quite deceptive.
So what a joy it was for me to come back in February and March and sit in a freezing cold Atyeo Stand watching our lads take on the likes of Peterborough and Cambridge. Just like watching Brazil! And how pleasant to feel your fingers and toes going numb, knowing that in 105 minutes at the latest you'll be sat in front of a roaring log fire, tending to your chilblains with an industrial-sized belt sander and that thing in a Swiss Army knife used for getting stones out of horses hooves. It's what English football is all about - and I bloody love it.
I've read a lot about City during the close season and it seems that there's been a mixed response to what's happening as far as activity in the transfer market is concerned, and as a result there is a mixed response as to optimism/pessimism. Well I for one would be optimistic. You're not going to be sat in the 40 degree heat, looking so sunburned that you appear like you've just dipped your face in to Harry Ramsden's batter, clutching on to a rapidly warming Fosters, knowing that any second the sausage sanger you had at half time is going to come up faster than a speeding bullet and is quite likely to strike the central defender on the back of the head (well the last part might not be alien to those who purchased the steak and kidney at the back of the Dolman before the Brentford game!)
So for Christ's sake cheer up. Win, lose or draw - at least you're watching English footie, in an English ground, with English weather. You only know you've lost something when it's gone! C'mon Aussie for the 2006 World Cup - you know you can beat Guam to get there!
A first match of a season is always memorable as we all go into a season with so much hope and anticipation. But the 1970/71 season was extra special for me as it was the first of my 32 continuous season tickets and the first in the great new “Dolman” stand. I had to dig deep to find the requisite sum of £8/10s/0p for an adult pass, for in those days you were merely given a card to show at the turnstile each match. I’ve copied them below so you can see how they’ve changed!
The weather was remarkably hot and sunny and we were playing Sunderland in front of a crowd of 17,500.
The match was so exciting with literally end to end open play. Our star Alan Skirton was on the wing. He was never a good footballer but my goodness could he run. Never one to dribble or beat players, he always belted it past the fullback near the halfway line and then ran like hell after it, usually beating the opposition purely on pace. He also had an awesome shot.
The match see-sawed on goals – my memory lets me down on the exact sequence – but I do recall Gerry Sharpe getting a couple, Wimshurst another and Skirton getting one to give a final score of 4-3 in our favour. We all went home looking forward to a promotion season. Unfortunately, supporting Bristol City rarely follows such a script and we in fact clung on grimly to stagger home in 19th position!
So win lose or draw against Blackpool, it’s a season that counts, not one result and it’s for all of us to support the team through all the ups and downs that are certain to come our way. But it is good to start off well, innit!
Tony Parker (Teepee)
I for one am undecided on how City will do next season. I wake up one morning and think: "Yes, we're gonna do it this year.". And then I wake up the next morning and think: “We haven't got a chance.” I think a lot will depend on what team Danny Wilson chooses to start off with.
I believe if he starts with Marvin Brown and Liam Rosenior we've got a great chance of promotion. I know they're only young BUT, along with Tommy Doherty, Rosenior looked like one of our best players against Ipswich and I was impressed with him against Stoke. Plus he can't be that bad for West Ham and Chelsea to offer him trials, can he?
As for Marvin Brown, if Danny Wilson gave him a chance up-front
instead of right
Along with Matt Hill, I believe those players are showing the true
worth of our Academy.
Great idea and while I am disappointed not to be a regular contributor, I look forward to sending in my contributions.
Seeing Edson and RedTop together is no surprise! I hope it is as
controversial as OTIB - but I fear it will be a 'fans' voice from
Rich Bailey (RichieB)
Hi lads. Just a short note to wish you all the best with your E-Zine. I will certainly try and contribute when events require it.
Paul (Working Late Again)