Football: ‘The first day of the season is a special day’

Dave Skinner, August 3, 2017

Much of the chat this week surrounding Bristol City has been regarding the supposed interest in both Joe Bryan and Aden Flint. Johnson confirmed that the club had turned down a bid for the pair, from Birmingham City, which was labelled as ‘derisory’. Johnson did go on to confirm that Flint’s head had been turned though. Which is understandable.

As I suggested last week, I would actually prefer to keep Bryan if I had to choose between the two. Flint is, of course, a colossal presence at the heart of the City defence, and no doubt would be missed, but given Hegeler has been deployed in the centre-back role so far this pre-season, I make it six players contending that position.

Many put two-and-two together with the arrival of Nathan Baker and assumed that we may be saying goodbye to the 6-foot-plus centre half that joined from Swindon four years ago. I, like most City fans, would be sad to see him leave for a Championship rival.

Having said that, could anyone really begrudge Flint, who has done so well for us in recent seasons, the opportunity to double his wages? It could easily happen, even if he does stay in our league. His whereabouts come September 1 remain to be seen, but my guess is he’ll be plying his trade away from BS3.

Bailey Wright has been given the captain’s armband. Johnson seems very fond of the no-nonsense Aussie and one would assume, unless Flint leaves before Saturday, he’ll join Wright to make up the central defensive pair.

Beyond that, we have the aforementioned Baker and Hegeler plus Hordur Magnusson and Taylor Moore. One would assume something has to give. I’d be content if Flint left for a Premier League team for something in the region of £6-7m, and for Moore to go out on loan until Christmas to further his development, but we’ll see.

Wilbraham has gone to Bolton. A slightly surprising move, given he has recently signed a new contract that involved him taking up some off-field duties, but reports suggest that he wants to move back up north for family reasons, which is understandable.

He’s had a fantastic three years at the club and will be remembered for the part he played in our remarkable double season of 2014/15. I’m sure I speak for all City fans in wishing him the best of luck and thank him for all his hard work for our club.

Johnson seemed to be in a buoyant mood this week. He’s certainly talking a good game. I liked his comments regarding Harry Redknapp and how unwelcome certain remarks he’d made about City players had been.

I am also happy that he agrees with me that the squad could do with some width, presumably in the shape of a right-sided midfielder. As mentioned last week, I’d also like to see us bring in a keeper. The news that the lesser-spotted Gustav Engvall will be given a chance should also be greeted with cheer.

This Saturday sees me and my friends take up position in our third stand in four seasons at Ashton Gate. From the old Williams, to the Ateyo where we have been for the last two seasons, to the South Stand for the Barnsley game.

I have to say I will not miss the Ateyo. Holloway was right to label it the worst stand in our otherwise magnificent stadium.

Things I am looking forward to in the South Stand include;

  • Being near the rest of the City fans. For too long the noisy part of the ground has been isolated, meaning the stadium in general has lacked atmosphere.
  • Speed of service for getting my hands on half-time refreshments.
  • Vastly superior toilet facilities.
  • More comfortable seats.
  • A better view.
  • Having a full Ateyo of noisy away fans.

If you are heading down to the Gate this weekend, I hope you have a great afternoon. The first day of the season is a special day where hopes are yet to be dashed, dreams are yet to be unrealised and optimism, until kick-off at least, is in abundance.

Please, Lee and team, nothing other than three points!

 

Read more: City season preview

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