Football: ‘The off-pitch soap opera often surrounds our club’

Dave Skinner, March 9, 2017

What a week it has been for fans of the red team in Bristol. The level of intrigue surrounding Bristol City shows no sign of waning any time soon, as these past few days have seen sackings (potentially real, but more likely fake), media posts from an ex-player’s dad, fans protesting (supposedly, although I’m pretty sure nothing materialised) and a personnel saga regarding the whereabouts of my own season ticket.

All of the above refers to the off-pitch soap opera that often surrounds our club but, for a minute at least, I’d like to address some on-the-field matters before dealing with the tomfoolery at the periphery of the actual team.

The last week has seen two home games securing us two points that could have so easily been six, or zero. The Burton game was pretty stressful for the avid fan. Both teams huffed and puffed, City had what seemed to be a perfectly good goal disallowed and Tomlin looked like he was seeing if he could hit the roof of the Atyeo with his penalty.

The Norwich game was more enjoyable. In the first half we played OK. Norwich were decent, and should have been more than one up by half-time. The atmosphere was strange: at times it almost felt like a pre-season friendly. Judging by the empty seats, I’d suggest quite a few season ticket holders had stayed away.

In the second half, however, our fortunes turned around and City produced a second half display worthy of a positive reaction at the final whistle. Johnson, who had inexplicably started with Wilbraham upfront on his own, again, made several changes. Once we had two upfront, in the shape of Djuric and Taylor, we posed a much bigger threat to the Norwich defence.

I am pretty sure I speak for all City fans on this one, when I say we’d like to see us start with two upfront against Wigan this weekend, please Lee – either the two that finished the game against Norwich or perhaps with Tammy in the mix, if he is fit.

So, to the off-pitch nonsense that has surrounded us this week. I feel for John Pemberton: he’s been with us through thick and thin over the last four years and I don’t for one minute believe his sacking will be the magic bullet to heal all our woes.

I’ve also got nothing against Jamie McAllister, who appears to have replaced him, for now at least, but it seems like the oldest political trick in the book to surround yourself with people who are loyal to you and won’t ask you too many difficult questions. McAllister is part of the Johnson family business, having played under his dad at both Yeovil and City, just like Lee himself.

The supposed letter from ex-player Wes Burns’ dad caused much social media uproar this week. The letter was incredibly disparaging about Johnson and one or two other things surrounding the club. I am pretty certain, though, that it was written by a disgruntled fan masquerading as a disgruntled parent. One could even call it ‘fake news’.

So, this weekend sees us head to Wigan for another must-win six-pointer, though I really don’t like those labels. Regardless of if we win, lose or draw, it would appear Johnson will be at the helm till the end of the season, for better or for worse, so let’s get behind the team.

 

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