This last week has seen us visit two of the biggest clubs in the division, and although neither performance was that bad, it would it’s fair to say neither was that good either.
The first-half away at Newcastle no doubt warrants plaudits, but to throw away another strong lead, albeit at the Champions-in-waiting, was very disappointing.
Johnson’s team selection over the two games undoubtedly raised some eyebrows. He said post-Newcastle that he had chosen the starting eleven “for the occasion”, including 37-year-old Aaron Wilbraham’s selection in the lone strike role.
I don’t take issue with this at all: he picked players that have done well for home before, and, bar Giefer, Wright and Cotterill, this same eleven could have started the season.
I do take issue, however, with Johnson then picking the same eleven to face Villa three days later. The team contained both Smith and O’Neil, who were coming back from injury, as well that striker nearing the end of his illustrious career.
We also have two new and hungry strikers in the shape of Matty Taylor and Milan Djuric, who were sadly given little opportunity to shine in the absence of Tammy Abraham over the past few days.
So, there we are. Twelve games to go, and although it would be overstating it to suggest we are staring relegation in the face, the possibility of just that happening is beginning to infringe upon my otherwise joyous day-to-day grind.
We have two home fixtures coming up in quick succession, and, if we are not careful, we could very well end up in the bottom three come next Wednesday – first to Burton and then Norwich. If we lose to Burton, we will drop into that dreaded relegation zone as the two teams below us face one another.
I think it is prudent here to question City fans’ approach to thes two games. I have read on forums and so on that these games should be seen as a vehicle to further the campaign so to see Johnson lose his job.
As I said last week, I really don’t see how singing negative songs about anyone representing Bristol City during the match can help things in a positive fashion, but fans will be fans and we’ll have to see if the crowd can remain positive on Saturday, especially if things start to go against us.
Given how well City started this season, the current relegation battle we have found ourselves in will have come as a surprise to some City fans; to others, less so.
This got me thinking about where City fans see their team’s natural position in the footballing pyramid to be. I would like to see City’s natural position as a mid-table Championship side that can, on occasion, compete for the playoffs, but might also find themselves in a relegation battle from time to time too.
The truth is, sadly, that the majority of the football I have seen in my 25 years-or-so of watching my team has been contested in the third tier of English football. This is, obviously, someway off where I and most City fans feel our team should be competing.
So I ask the following:
Please put any differences that you might have with the current boss, the formation or position you may get asked to play to one side, and give it your all from now until May to avoid more third tier football down the Gate next season.