Now since my last communication on the debacle that was the feeble seasonal surrender of our League Cup interest to lesser opposition for yet another season a lot has happened in the “Soap Opera” that is known as BCFC?
Credit where credit was due, Del Boy came out and publicly stated the totally bleeding obvious that the teams performance against Gillingham was not acceptable? Got to give it to him he is not stupid.
The feeling that the “Silly Season” just “might” be upon us began at the weekend when I received very good information that the L E G E N D who is known both as one of Bristol City’s top supporters and also as Stoney Garnett (Pictured above) was seriously considering in running for the position of Lord Mayor of Bristol. Now anyone who has ever had the pleasure of spending some time in Stoney’s presence will realise that he is very talented indeed. He is extremely funny, he gives loads of both time and money to local charities AND he just happens to be BCFC through and through. He is obviously well known at Ashton for his trademark City related choice of dress but also further afield notably in any public house between the centre of Bristol and Chelwood Bridge which serves cider – The stronger the better!!!! So just “why” has Stoney decided to get into politics? Well it appears that he thinks “if” Boris Johnson can be the Mayor of London then why cant Stoney be the same for Bristol and if you knew Stoney like I know Stoney you could not doubt his total logic. I for one will give Stoney my TOTAL UNQUALIFIED SUPPORT.
Then we moved on to young Yannick Bolasie? First his “agent” (In my opinion all agents are leeches who just take money OUT of the game and put nothing in) comes out with a statement claiming that Yannick has handed in a written transfer request. A few hours later this is (Unusually) totally denied by the club IN PRINT – Now somebody HAS to be telling porkies???? Again Sky continue the story that Yannick does want away. Cue plenty of unpleasantness aimed at Yannick on various forums / Twitter / etc. Also his “Ali G” type brother then decides that he is going to put his two penny worth on Twitter also supporting his ‘Bro and claimimng that all City fans are “in breds” (And that was one of the more pleasant insinuations). With all this crap going on Del Boy is attempting to prepare the team for our first “Proper” game of the season away at Florest??? When the team is announced to represent us at the City Ground, Nottingham, Bolasie is not even warming his arse on the bench – Therefore smoke and fire springs to mind? Finally on Sunday, after we had lost by the odd goal to Nottingham a statement does come out from BS3 confirming that Yannick does want away stating “That he wants to be nearer his family in London” as the reason??? Now call me “old fashioned” but I for one commuted every day from Bristol to London for over a year and its not that far so im afraid his “alleged” reason don’t seem right with me? More likely a “busy” agent trying to earn some more ill earned money ‘BRO. Whichever, whatever cheerio Yannick, close the door as you leave and make sure you hand back in all your expensive Adidas gear before you go.
There then follows also on Sunday morning, yours truly listening to the arbitrary TALK SPORT when the sports news came on and one of the stories began “And Queens Park Rangers have agreed a fee for their striker DJ Campbell.” Now after listening to my old mate Holly in the week proclaiming in his own inimitable style that “They (Blackpool) are about as close to re-signing DJ Campbell as me wearing high heels and calling myself Sheila” in the split second before whichever club HAD agreed said fee for DJ the likes of Stoke, Sunderland, Wigan, etc. sprang to mind, so you can imagine that I almost drove off of the road when the name “Bristol City” was added!!! Now there is no doubting that the guy has certainly scored goals in the Championship in his previous life, unfortunately, he has now turned 30 and I still have sleepless nights dreaming about the LAST plus 30 year old, Ex Premiership, DJ we signed??? So at the time of writing nothing has been “officially confirmed by BCFC and with me the jury will certainly be out on this particular possible signing.
One signing that HAS gone through is Steven Davies joining us from Derby for an “undisclosed fee” – Now is it me or are we the ONLY team who always signs players for “undisclosed fee’s????” HHHHHHHhhhmmmmmmmm. Anyway he is not a player that readily came to my mind and to be absolutely honest I don’t know a lot about him? Evidently he is just over six foot with a good left foot BUT according to his previous clubs forum (Always a reasonable place to find out info. On new/potential signings) his “preferred” position is in the treatment room??? Clearly cant score to many well led on his back, so again your reporter will “reserve judgement” on just what sort of player we have got ourselves. I can remember getting excited when Millen signed Woolford and look JUST how silly that’s gone? Also I am extremely conscious of the last player Young Nigel off loaded in our direction – A certain Stephen Pearson. Just really hope Nig is not sat in his office absolutely pissing himself – AGAIN!!!!
Just to prove that it is actually the “Silly Season” at half five as I drove down to the ground through Whitchurch the heavens literally opened and I had serious doubts whether the game might even start? Within half an hour the rain had disappeared and it turned into a pleasant evening in more ways than one?
So on a late overcast Summers evening in Bristol we finally start our home Championship season off with a visit from our old mates Palarse. Again continuing the “silly season” theme we do have more than some recent history with them. Which one of us who were privileged to be present can ever forget that never to be forgotten evening when Super Lee Trundle (Wonder where he is now???) curled the ball home to put us just 90 minutes away from trips to Old Trafford, Anfield, The Etihad and the like? Also this particular fixture will always be “remembered” for the goal that that never was when on loan Palarse striker Freddie Sears smacked it in at the Atyeo end but the ball hit the back stanchion and one of my personal ever (HA) favourite referees Rob Shoebridge waived play on (Wonder where HE is now???). This prompted the then Palarse manager Colin and Tan Boy Jordan to literally have “melt downs” – Really could not happened to two nicer chaps. HA.
Not only had Bristol witnessed a myriad of weather types in a very short space of time, some joker also decided to leave a carrier bag full of nails unattended outside the NEXT store in Cabot Circus thus commencing a full scale alert which basically sealed off the whole of the centre of Bristol during evening rush hour. Now a combination of the weather and a bag of nails could well have played a part in a disappointing attendance (12,221) but someone who it clearly affected was our new left back Greg Cunningham? As I walked towards the turnstiles at about 7, young Mr.C came screeching into the players car park in his obligatory top of the range Audi Sport and had clearly not been “sparing the horses” as the brakes / clutch absolutely stunk like they were red hot?
So taking up my new vantage point in the Atyeo out came the keepers and Big Nige to warm up and straight away I witnessed what is hopefully the “difference” between this seasons team and last seasons 11 especially in the goalkeeping position and just as importantly in my eyes “connecting with the fans.” Now those of you who regularly take time out to keep updated with all things BCFC through this reporting system will certainly know that one of my MASSIVE pet hates last season was Calamity’s total refusal to even acknowledge the young fans let alone lower himself to actually go and sign an autograph thus meaning that he would actually have come into possible physical contact with those that paid his totally over inflated wages. Well how good is it to report that our new keeper Tom Heaton came over to the advertising boards to adjust his boots and a young supporter came down with his programme and pen, hopeful, that Tom would oblige. The youngster waited very patiently and despite Big Nige waiting to kick balls in at Heaton I am very pleased to report that before he went back on the bench Tom went over and signed the boys programme. What a refreshing change and just proves what a total, up himself, self loving, individual a certain other keeper was.
When the rest of the team came out to warm up, Kunle and Lurch (Come back Glen all is forgotten) put the team through their “paces”
But as I have had plenty to highlight in this report on the “Silly season” here is another thing that sorry I think is a total load of Schmollocks. The team hug. All of a sudden at a command from Kunle all of our players have to stop their sprints or whatever and go and “embrace” their nearest team mate. Now for “embrace” I mean “embrace.” Lots of “Man hugging” and “Hand pumping.” Now call me very OLD fashioned but what the hell this has to do with making them better players defeats me? Even on £10K a week if I noticed the hairband coming towards me wanting to hug and man bond me he’d get a swift kick in them!!!!
Sorry but it is as bad as it looks.
I was soon “reunited” in my new seat by my old mate “Big Tim” and his lovely lady and we all looked a little forlornly back at our now deserted old seats in the Williams. As for the Martyn Woolford lookalike who is my eldest his mate Tom and himself now have a seat also in the Atyeo but up in the Gods some 20 rows behind us. Reason that we no longer all sit together is his delaying purchasing his season ticket until the very last minute which may have been
When the teams were announced it was good to note that (unusually) Del Boy had plumped for two up front, instead of his normally preferred sole striker in John Stead. The surprise was his partner for JS that being Ryan Taylor? Not a surprise after Pitmans totally lazy showing a week ago against the Gills but a surprise as most City fans would compare Taylor very much to Stead in the way in which he plays. But Del is obviously a better judge than me and presumably thinks that he has noticed an aerial weakness in the Palarse back line. New signing Steven Davies had to make do with a start on the bench sat next to Pitman.
As is now “tradition” City attacked the Wedlock in the first half and from the start Palarse looked not very good, especially at the back with their full backs getting rid of the ball like it had “High Explosive” written on it. City started to dominate and apart from the highly rated Zaha up front (Who seems to have modelled himself on Drogba as he needs no second invitation to hit the deck) offered very little. After only 9 minutes with steady already having hit a post another cross was headed goalwards by JS and this time the rebound off of the bar was expertly dispatched by the very impressive Ryan Taylor. Three minutes later and the “silly season” continued in haste. One of the Palarse’s full backs made another total Horlicks with a high through ball and presented the ball straight to hairband who was through “one on one” with Speroni. With yours truly expecting the obvious worst hairband expertly “scoops” the ball over Speroni almost “Messiesque” (I did warn you it WAS the Silly Season) to put us two up. Whilst the rest of the Atyeo rose as one, yours truly stayed rooted to his seat shaking my head. With the advantage of a two goal cushion City were now cruising and could have easily got more before half time.
Half time brought a “contented” crowd well those with a red penchant, but, little were we to know? With my mate David Lloyd presiding over the obligatory presenting of a signed cap to a young supporter attending their first game, came the following announcement – “Well Bristol City has just made one young supporters evening by giving him a present, but, now we would like to give ALL Bristol City fans a present. We are delighted to announce that this afternoon terms were agreed with West Ham for the signing on a three year contract of Sam Baldock.” Enter stage left Sam Baldock wearing a City shirt.
Well I cannot ever in all my times following BCFC ever remember being quite so surprised? Two major surprises in twenty minutes, firstly hairband converting expertly then the announcement of the signing of a million pound plus striker when all the indications (Which was presumably a “smoke screen”) were that DJ Campbell would be our next “big thing” is certainly not good for the old blood pressure.
After all that excitement City began the second half attacking ourselves in the Atyeo. The pattern did not alter with wave after wave of red attacks bearing down on Speroni’s goal and even though Palarse had five in midfield against our four the likes of Skusy and Pearson bossed the middle. With City continuing to pile on the pressure and after 58 minutes Cunningham played in Steady on the edge of the area and he was unmercifully hauled down by a hapless (Or should that read hopeless) Palarse defender for the clearest of all penalties. Steady picked himself up and promptly blasted the ball high to Speroni’s left. Speroni guessed correctly but was always going to be beaten by the power.
Five minutes later City almost went four up with a looping header from Taylor after another short corner routine which just landed the wrong side of the cross bar with Speroni a spectator. Palace’s attacks were very sporadic but they did manage to at least spoil Heaton getting a clean sheet when some less than great defending allowed the South African international Dikgacoi to convert a goal in front of what was left of the remaining Palarse support. Most had already long gone after Stead put us three up.
The goal was nothing more than a mere minor hinderance as City again came back strongly and Louis Carey of all people narrowly headed over the stanchion of post and cross bar from yet another City corner. With City looking totally dominant and Palarse looking a totally defeated team City finally got their fourth with 8 minutes left when Albert fired home from just outside the area.
City then played out the remaining ten minutes with the luxury of being able to bring on ANOTHER (Oh how good does that sound) of our NEW strikers in Steven Davies who came on for my MOM Ryan Taylor. Morris replaced Pearson and Marv Elliott made a welcome return to league action coming on for John Stead. By now Palarse were a long beaten outfit and really looked like they wanted to get on the coach as soon as possible. I actually felt sorry for their travelling support as they had travelled a long way on a Tuesday night to see their team put in a type of performance close to (But not QUITE as bad) as ours last Tuesday against Gillingham.
Now its time for the normal “Glen Schmidt Man Of The Match Award” Marks out of 10, no conferring.
Heaton – 6.5. Despite City’s dominance Tom did make a couple of cracking saves in the second half. Just as importantly his distribution is much better than Calamity PLUS he recognises the young fans.
Foster – 6. Cannot criticize. If being “picky” then crossing could be a tad better but that WOULD be being very picky.
Cunningham – 6.5. Despite obviously driving his Audi like Wacky Races looks a very good signing.
Fontaine – 6.5. Didn’t do much wrong. Clearly enjoying captaining the team and likes the “physical.”
Carey – 6.5. Thus far a new “lease of life” for a player who I was suggesting was way past sell by date twelve months ago. Real chance on current form of breaking Atyeo’s all time City appearance record.
Skuse – 7. Constantly broke up any Palarse threat in midfield and certainly played his part.
Pearson – 5.5. Cant remember anything “stand out” he did but must have made a contribution in our four man midfield up against Palarse’s five.
Woolford – 7. Just to continue the “silly season” theme, “if” Taylor had not had such a good game, hairband could have been Man Of The Match. Far better than last home game.
Adomah – 7. Constant threat. Palarse full backs never looked happy when Albert got the ball and cannot believe that some Premiership side has not got him on their “wanted list.”
Stead – 7. Another game where he gave 101%. Always on the look out for the ball and gave the Palarse defence a nightmare evening.
Taylor – 7.5. “Just” pipped the likes of hairband, Adomah and Stead to my MOM award. For someone so young he put himself about and also scored a well taken goal. Would feel sorry “if” he is the one to make way on Saturday for Baldock.
Morris (For Pearson) – 6. Just does the simple things, simply. May well struggle to get 90 minutes in at this level now, but, very handy to bring off the bench when defending a lead.
Davies (For Taylor) – 5.5. Looked a little like a schoolboy on his first day at school, but, not much time on the pitch to make much impression. Sure better things to come?
Mav (For Stead) – 5.5. Again little time on the pitch but did little wrong.
The “James Linnington Referee Watch” (JLRM)
Michael Naylor – 6. Gave the penalty but then again “if” he had turned that one down he would have needed a Guide Dog!!!! The bookings that he did make appeared to be justified BUT one criticism was that he was particularly “whistle happy” as compared to some recent refs we have had? But we have had a lot, LOT worse – James Linnington, anyone…………………………….
So I started this report (Which I promised would be shorter than last seasons efforts???) with the view that over this side of the pond we were entering the “Silly season.” Stoney going for Lord Mayor, Bolasie throwing his toys, City winning at home 4 – 1, etc. etc, but, the ONE EVENT that totally confirmed that there must be a Full Moon and the cows are all lying down in the fields occurred on 80 minutes when the East End / Atyeo were heard to sing……………………………..
“One Martyn Woolford, there’s only one Martyn Woolford, one Martyn Wooooooooooooolford, there’s only one………………………………….”
Im off for a rub down with the Evening Post and to work on the new Lord Mayors “acceptance” speech