John Ward's managerial record at City for me, as a fan looking back, is defined by three things: a marvellous season that brought about promotion back to the [now] Championship after a 3 year absence, a questionable summer '98 transfer window and asking for help after a 9 game winless run at the start of the 98/99 season.

Wardy is a top man and to my mind should have been here longer than 84 games. He would have won the league as opposed to being runners up to Watford had top scorer Shaun Goater not been sold with 8 games remaining. As you'll hear in the interview, the summer transfer dealings were, in part, not down to him and no one would have argued with Ray Harford coming in to provide the help he perhaps naively admitted he needed. 

John made his name in football as a player with Lincoln City [91 goals, 240 appearances] which is where he met the late Graham Taylor whom he later served under and enjoyed considerable success with at both Watford and Villa. 

Prior to City he managed the Gas for a period and again 16 years later. In between he took Cheltenham from League 2 to League 1.

He turned 70 last month and his involvement in the game sees him act as a mentor to young coaches through the LMA.

One of football's nice guys, I can't think why anyone would disagree with that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 9, 2021

No more excuses

City closed the door to the 2020-21 season with the not unexpected defeat against high flying Brentford going down 3-1 with the visitors Ivan Toney grabbing one of the goals to achieve a Championship record.

Ian, DaveFevs, Mark & DaveP discuss the action from a match where for the opening half they matched their opponents in every department but in the second, particularly with goals 2 & 3 the Bees displayed a standard of forward play that City should be aiming for.

We debate that although only 17 Alex Scott has the ability to be a player for the present and perhaps too goalscorer Louis Britton and that means staying in Bristol rather than going out on loan next season.

Who will be shown the door in the coming days and who might be retained are other topics we discuss along with speculation that Dave Rennie might reunite with Nigel Pearson within days to sort the medical shambles at the club and cast his eye over the players before they go on holiday.

No wins in the last 10 and although 25 defeats fell short of the record [27] set in 2012-13 a paltry 51 points just isn't good enough.

It's down to you Nige going forward - we know you can do it and accept it may take a while!!

 

 

 

A fine first goal at senior level for rookie striker Tommy Conway was the only bright spot from another dreadful showing by City at the New Den.

Confirmed in his position as manager this week, Nigel Pearson made a number of changes including a start for Nathan Baker on the left of a back three with Mariappa in for the injured Zak Vyner on the right. This allowed captain Tomas Kalas to play in his preferred central position.

Millwall just seemed to want it more than City even though this was a dead rubber game. All four Millwall goals summed up City's defensive frailties this season: poor communication, weak on crosses, caught on the break from attacking positions, individual errors [Kalas].

If, say, Michael Appleton or any other of the names touted, had been appointed back in February and had the run of results that Nige has had there would be calls for their head already but he has the confidence of most of the fans and, importantly, the Lansdown family.

Ian, Mark, Lezz and Headhunter discuss the game, Pearson's appointment and further speculation on what next in off the field action but in all honesty the summer break cannot come soon enough.

 

 

City were full value for their 2-0 interval lead against mid-table Luton thanks to goals from Nahki Wells & Adam Nagy. The second half capitulation which saw 3 goals conceded in a 15 minute spell showed the team for what it has become: no leadership on the pitch and a soft touch for any side that just ups their own game one notch.

The bright spark was the performance of Tommy Conway and his greater commitment compared with some around him was shown late in the game when the ball went out for a corner and he was waving to the kicker to hurry up and get on with it.

Other than the game, Ian, Mark & myself discuss the off-pitch omni-shambles which must have a resolution in part, if not whole, before the end of the season on May 8th.

Ian came up with the most amusing quote saying that the training ground's acronym should be changed such that HPC stands for Hamstring Probability Centre!! 

Finally, why the title for this episode? Our spies at the ground tell me that the guys from 3 Peaps were in attendance, add this to Shantely of OTIB being on Robins TV some months ago I am wondering why, as members of one of the Top 4 BCFC podcasts, none of us have been invited on? Then again, perhaps it is a blessing we have not witnessed first hand any of the dross that has been served up at Ashton Gate this season

April 22, 2021

Massive

One word describes the task Steve Lansdown is facing in the coming weeks: MASSIVE !!

City's one moment of class in this game was Bakinson's 2nd goal in a week which provided an interval lead. In the second half City put in a performance of the kind we have become increasingly used to. An equaliser conceded through lack of physicality in the 6 yard area and then, as they stumbled to what would have been a point against the bottom of the table side, a needless [?] handball from Palmer in the box from a shot by goalkeeper Stockdale and up steps the Barrel that is Akinfenwa to strike home a penalty for his first goal in 38 games!!!

It's 9 from 33 points since Nigel Pearson has been in charge - hardly inspiring is it. Take away the opening 4 straight wins and its 39 points from 39 games. I'm still backing him with injuries being his get out of jail card but he's not stamped any identity on the rabble that is taking the field and for me, I don't want to see Fam pull on a City shirt again.

The task for SL is massive for these reasons: we need clarity on the manager position, a new CEO is required, there needs to be an independent review of the medical set up, the recruitment team needs a proper player acquisition professional, and then the task of building a competitive squad for next season has to be commenced. These things must be sorted by the middle of June or we can write off season 21/22.

I'm not renewing yet. I will but not until I see some direction off the field.

April 18, 2021

Draws are like buses!!!

No drawn games for half a season and then two come along in succession!

Ian, Lezz, Mark & David discuss the 1-1 draw at Hillsborough where City trailed from another set piece goal after 3 minutes and at one stage it looked like it was going to be the Barry Bannon show!

The Owls midfielder, coveted by City for a number of years, saw his questionably awarded penalty kick saved by Dan Bentley, and like his teammates he faded as the game wore on. Despite being down to 10 men for the majority of the game after Angela's sending off City's battling 2nd half performance was worthy of a point which was secured by Bakinson's classy strike.

Our talk turned to the usual speculation on what next regarding confirming Pearson and new investment, who should be retained from the OOC players. 

 

April 11, 2021

Baby Steps….

OK, we're starting from a low bar but there was enough in yesterday's 0-0 draw against Forest to suggest that City have arrested a decline in form at Ashton Gate that was becoming embarrassing.

It wasn't pretty to watch and the visiting keeper wasn't troubled but in the second half, inspired from midfield by the ever improving Massengo, City put in a performance that pleased most fans and Nigel Pearson.

Ian, Mark , & DaveFevs joined me to discuss the match action and also just WTFIGO with regard to confirming Pearson's appointment, a possible departure of Mark Ashton, the Chairman's continuing silence and the owner's pursuit of new investment 

Once again City fell to defeat where the performance rather than the result which was bad enough poses severe question marks against their commitment and buy in to interim Manager Nigel Pearson's methods.

We tear into the players performance  which culminated in a back pass by Tommy Rowe which was so bad and led to the killer 3rd goal that it took me back to something similar Ray Atteveld produced in his debut vs. Oxford in March 1992!!!!

Moving on from the action we debate whether Nige is the man and with just about broad agreement that he is we then question why the delay in getting him on a contract so the rebuild can begin in earnest.

We also discuss owner Steve Lansdown's statement that he is on the look out for new investors. Does he mean just in Bristol City or the wider Bristol Sport brand

At age 37 and in only his third season as a manager, Danny Wilson led unfashionable Barnsley to promotion to the Premier League.

Barnsley may have only lasted one season in the top flight but Danny went on to manage his former club Sheffield Wednesday, in the Premier League themselves and a club he had served well as a player. When City went looking for a manager in the summer of 2000 after the debacle of Lennartsson, Pulis, & Fawthrop, the friendly Northern Irishman Wilson seemed an inspired choice to lead City back to the Championship.

Danny had 4 seasons at Ashton Gate with a win rate of 46% and year on year improvement but after losing to Brighton in the 2004 final he was dumped, there's no other word for it, by then rookie Chairman Steve Lansdown.

Many will surely agree that under him City played a fine attacking style, indeed in 2003 when they won the LDV Trophy they massed over 100 goals in all competitions. Perhaps if he had been given the level of financial support in the transfer market enjoyed by Lee Johnson things might have turned out differently?

In this hour long interview Danny talks about not only his time at City but his wider football career and how he feels in selecting his former Sheffield Wednesday teammate, Nigel Pearson, City have got the best man possible to secure their Premier League ambition 

This week saw the launch of the much heralded new training centre at Failand, curiously named the Robins High Performance Centre. With 2 weeks to prepare for this game, albeit without players on international duty or the masses still injured, you would think that the team would put in a performance that might show some identity in terms of what we can expect long term from a Nigel Pearson coached side.

The performance was abject as City stumbled to an unwanted record of 7 home defeats in a row.

We go through the 90 minutes action and suggest that only Kalas, Bentley & Massengo from that starting line up are players we would welcome in a starting line up in August. That's quite bizarre when two of them form the core of one of the worst defenses in the Championship and the other a midfielder with no goals or assists in his almost 2 seasons at the club.

With murmurings on OTIB that Nige has perhaps lost his sparkle we banish such thoughts and say he should be offered the job within days so he can set about the task. Must be concerning that he himself said post match it will be "too late" to leave it to the summer - he seems to want it ..... do SL & MA want him?

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