Ahead of our trip to Bristol City on Saturday, Bristol City editor Pete answers ten questions about the Robins.
1) City, like Forest who we played last week, were promotion favourites at the start of the season. Where did it all go wrong?
It all went wrong at the 2003 play off final – Danny Wilson, who had advocated attacking, passing football during his entertaining four-year reign was mindful
of missing out in the two previous play offs and decided on a cautious approach against a poor Brighton side.
On the day City were awful, did not have a shot in 90 minutes and lost to a late penalty. The fans were so disappointed, with the performance more than the result
and Danny was dismissed. If this was the right decision we shall never know as the real mistake was to appoint the managerially inexperienced Brian Tinnion from within to replace Wilson.
2) Most League One defenders were probably having nightmares when you signed Marcus Stewart and Michael Bridges, but it’s not worked out for either of them… Stewart’s not often scored, and Bridges is long gone… So how come it didn’t work with them?
2.Both strikers were signed with much publicity and with great expectations from the supporters.
Bridges badly needed first team football but was soon being used as a sub, had Tinnion persevered with him we might have seen the form that he has since produced at Carlisle.
Marcus Stewart plays best alongside a target man, the type of striker that City have lacked for most of the season. When he has gained a spot in the team, he has not grasped the opportunity and languishes well behind Steve Brooker in the pecking order. My guess is that he will move on at season’s end.
3) You’ve changed your manager this season. Did you think it was time for Tinnion to go when he went?
I’ve already mentioned that Brian Tinnion’s appointment was a mistake. I think for any player to rise to managerial status overnight is very difficult and I feel that only half the camp were fully behind him. Yes, his departure was the correct decision.
4) Gary Johnson seems to have turned things around. How has he done that?
Gary Johnson has had many problems since arriving at the Gate. However, I think that he has now turned things around sufficiently for us to avoid the drop.
Now comes the big job in building a promotion side. His accomplishments so far, raising fitness levels, sorting out the ‘Chelsea of the First Division’ attitude, removing the drink culture, improving team spirit and dead ball tactics. I believe he might have it in him to take us up to the Championship in due course.
5) What’s been the lowlight of your season so far?
The 7-1 drubbing at Swansea where we defended like a pub’s Sunday team. We were lucky to get away with that scoreline.
6) And what about the highlight?
It was only 1-0 but revenge was sweet when we took three points from the Swans at Ashton Gate.
7) Who are the Bristol City dangermen?
Steve Brooker is definitely our star attacker and we might well have to fight to hang on to him. Scott Murray has improved no end since Gary Johnson arrived and is playing with something like the form that he showed in his 26 goal season before leaving for Reading.
8) What do you think of our chances of avoiding the drop?
I think you will stay up, I know it is very tight and we may get dragged back in, but I think the present bottom four will go down.
9) We’ve got a decent record against Bristol City in recent years – all I can remember is us winning against you – until Boxing Day anyway!… Do you think we’re a bogey team of yours?
Yes the Gills have had something of an Indian sign over us in recent years, but if City supporters have any sort of grudge it’s because Pulis came our way from you. His spell as manager was a disaster, definitely the most boring football I have witnessed in over 50 years of watching Bristol City.
10) What will the score be on Saturday?
I was thinking last week that we would win by a single goal margin, but having seen Nottingham Forest recently, I was impressed by your 1-1 draw there on saturday last. I think a similar score is likely this week.
So, thanks to Pete for his help and insight… As usual, I’ve done the same service for his site, so give him a visit at www.bristolcity.vitalfootball.co.uk and see if my prediction for us to lose will pay dividends again!