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Bristol City - Awakening the Cider Army!

  1. Bristol City - Awakening the Cider Army!

    BBC Sport
    Phil McNulty, Chief Football Writer
    20th Jun 2017

    The phrase ‘sleeping giant’ is frequently overused in football, but when it comes to Championship side Bristol City – they might just have a point.

    There aren’t too many titles for The Robins to boast about in their 120 year history, but one that they certainly won’t want to keep for any longer than necessary is the title of arguably being the biggest side to have never played Premier League football.

    A quick scan of England’s top two tiers all but confirms the suspicion. Whilst the likes of Swansea, Hull and Bournemouth have all tasted Premier League football in recent years, Bristol City have never kicked on to fulfil their undoubted potential.

    Add Premier League new boys Huddersfield into the mix, and then consider the fact that the likes of Bradford, Swindon, Portsmouth and Oldham – all rattling around in the lower echelons of English football – have all partaken in the Premier League, and it’s easy to see why the natives are getting restless in BS3.

    Of course it’s easy to think – especially thanks in some part to Sky Sports - that there was no football before the Premier League came into being. On the contrary, The Robins enjoyed a four-season spell of top flight football in the 1970’s, however the club then suffered an incredible three successive relegations amidst escalating financial troubles, sliding from the top flight to Divison Four in the blink of an eye.

    Billionaire owner Steve Lansdown is a passionate football man and is desperate to see his ambition of bringing Premier League football to the Westcountry come to fruition. The financial services guru has been at the club for more than 20 years and has invested tens of million pounds from his own pocket in the club.

    Unfortunately for him – and for Bristol City – the money has not always been wisely spent.

    Following the club’s agonising Championship playoff defeat at the hands of Hull City in 2007/08 – Lansdown spent big over the next few seasons chasing his dream, but only succeeded in assembling a squad of journeyman mercenaries and increasing losses to write off.

    Only in the last couple of years has the club began to turn around its image crisis – the portrayal of a club where a big wage can be had in exchange for little return.

    Lansdown has set down his vision for the club as being a self-sustainable entity which invests in youth and looks to develop bright young talent.
    That’s not to say that Lansdown isn’t prepared to open his chequebook.

    The attempted – albeit unsuccessful – signings of Andre Gray and Dwight Gayle (who have both since gone on to experience Premier League promotion) have proved that the billionaire is prepared to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to realising the dream of top flight football.

    The club’s £50m stadium renovation was completed at the beginning of the 2016/17 season, turning the increasingly old and creaky Ashton Gate into a modern 27,000 home to be proud of. Coupled with investment in off the pitch facilities, the foundations have been laid for an attempt at putting Bristol firmly on the footballing map with a challenge for top flight football once more.

    JLBfifa likes this.

  2. The squad:

    I’ve downloaded an update to reflect the movements at the end of the 16/17 season (i.e. the end of loan contracts etc) so the squad as it stands is pretty much identical to how it stands in real life going into the 17/18 season.

    The squad is on the small side, and unbalanced. There’s not a natural right back at the club and no depth at all on the wings. The greatest depth is in central midfield.

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    I plan on using a wing back system instead of wingers, probably with a lone striker. Despite yet being convinced of his ability in real life, Bosnian striker Milan Djuric seems to have some decent in game stats.

    There are a handful of younger players in the first team squad who I’m hopeful will prove to be good first team players over the next couple of years, such as Austrian goalkeeper Ivan Lucic, signed from Bayern Munich, Taylor Moore – a promising centre back who has been involved with the England Youth setup, attacking midfielder Josh Brownhill and striker Gustav Engvall, who represents Sweden at U21 level.

    In terms of the U23s and U18s - it’s not great reading, with little of note to be excited about. Improving the quality of the youth teams will be important.

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    The coaching and scouting is of average quality, though an honourable mention goes to the goalkeeping coach David Coles, with our goalkeeping coaching ranking 2nd in the Championship.

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    Expectations of the board are fair and realistic – with the minimum league expectation being to achieve a mid-table finish.

  3. Immediate Plans:

    I always like to bring in my own Assistant Manager so I will be on the lookout for a suitable candidate after the termination of Dean Holden’s contract.

    With a transfer budget of £5.5m – one of the highest in the Championship – there is scope to bring the squad up to a decent standard.

    My priorities for the first transfer window will be two right wing backs (starter and cover) and a combative midfielder - as although there are plenty of numbers in central midfield, the quality isn't the best. That's the plan anyway, though I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for any potential deals who can improve the depth and quality of the first team squad. I definitely wouldn't rule out a new goalkeeper or centre back.

    If Chelsea can be convinced to let Tammy Abraham out for another loan season then I’d love to bring him back to BS3 but I imagine he’ll have plenty of suitors.

    In terms of likely outgoings, I don’t see much of a first team future at the club for Frank Fielding, Bobby Reid, Aaron Wilbraham or Matty Taylor – though all will provide useful cover in a small squad, so if replacements aren’t brought in then there will be no first team outgoings anticipated.

    I plan to discuss some requests with the board shortly. I would like to establish links with a Premier League club in order to take loanees as well as with a League One or League Two club where I can send promising youngsters to get some first team football. We already have a link with Guernsey FC but I’d like to seek an affiliation with a club of a higher standard.

  4. Reasonably successful first transfer window.

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    Brayford will be the first choice RWB with loanee Randall providing back up.

    Meanwhile Jason Steele comes in from relegated Blackburn as first choice number one, with Ivan Lucic set to learn from him with a view to ultimately challenging him for the jersey. Frank Fielding has been made available for transfer.

    Pasalic will provide competition for a midfield starting berth and Henry will offer centre back cover.

    The jury is out on whether any of my strikers are up to the challenge of pushing for a top six finish but for now, Djuric and Engvall will be given until January to prove they have what it takes.

    In other news, the board accepted my request to find a senior affiliate and so Bristol City are delighted to announce a partnership with Liverpool, which will see promising youngsters loaned to the Westcountry. Going the other way, a new affiliation with newly promoted Forest Green Rovers will see Bristol City's bright young prospects making the short trip to Gloucestershire to get some league football under their belts.

  5. As a ST holder at City, excited to see how this goes! See if you can get the best out of Tomlin, as I never can.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by JLBfifa View Post
    As a ST holder at City, excited to see how this goes! See if you can get the best out of Tomlin, as I never can.
    ST holder here too. Paterson is putting Tomlin to shame so far!

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