Bristol City FC 17/18 – December

Ciy started the month at home to Middlesbrough in front of the Sky sports cameras, knowing a win would push them up to third and help push for the automatic places. Both teams had chances early on but it was a dominant performance from city which in turn allowed them to strike first just after half time, an in swinging right hand cross from Bailey Wright was met by Joe Bryan and put into the near post, then a few minutes later Aden Flint of all people made a surging run forward playing a one-two with Reid and crossing the ball into the box to find the onrushing Paterson who poked home from close range. Middlesbrough did get a goal back 15 minutes from time when Magnusson headed a clearance into his own goal. This was a not enough to stop city with all aspects of the team performing on the night to secure the three points.

Away from home City faced Sheffield United again in front of the Sky sports cameras, it looked to be an entertaining game with Sheffield’s United impressive return to the Championship. Both teams occupied the play off positions and for city it would be a game to steer clear of them. Shefield United dominated the first half and should of gone ahead hitting the woodwork on numerous occasions, but it was city who struck first after a surging run from Paterson he struck the ball to beat the keeper, 1-0 city. Sheffield United did get back into the game thanks to their man in form Leon Clarke, it was duly deserved to reignite the game. Both teams pushed for a winner but city come out top, Aden Flint in  injury time after a run forward Reid chipped the ball into the box to find Flint who made a neat finish past the keeper and send the fans wild, another three points on the road.

Back at Ashton Gate Nottingham Forest were the visitors, city would be looking to emulate their previous away performance and secure a home victory. Both sides started well with forest going closest, but it was city who would come strike first. Marlon Pack with his low driven shot from 25 yards out nestling into the bottom corner to break the deadlock. From then on city added another with Joe Bryan adding to the score sheet and continuing his impressive form this season. Forest did get a goal just after half time with a speculative 35 yard effort catching Frank Fielding and the whole of the stadium out. City, like they have done so often this season saw the game out to ensure the three points would be staying in BS3.

Back in League Cup action city hosted previous winners and English giants Manchester United. Ashton gate was a sellout and this match had been talked about for weeks, there was such a good feeling around the ground for this. United fielded a starting XI featuring the likes of Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Martial. City put out there strongest team in hope of shocking them. United started well, Martial playing a teasing cross to the back post finding Ibrahimovic who’s shot was deflected onto the crossbar, a sign of things to come. Rashford also came close, his shot hitting the post to the delight of the home crowd.  City too came close to going ahead, Korey Smith denied a shooting chance after a last ditch tackle from Daley Blind.

0-0 at halftime I think many City fans would of been happy with that; this was Manchester United after all. City started well in the second half making numerous chances but it would be Joe Bryan to open the scoring for city. 50 minutes on the clock Pack played a lovely through ball behind the defence to release Bryan, his shot from outside the area nestling into the top corner, scenes of sheer pandemonium and ecstasy; Bristol City 1 – Manchester United 0. United did find a equaliser after Zlatan Ibrahimoivc scored with a low shot from his set piece. All square. This did not scare city but only give them confidence, backed by an electric atmosphere one in which I can say is the best I’ve ever experienced they pushed for a winner… and that they did. When writing this I must say I have seen some highs and lows of watching city but what happened next goes down in Bristol City folklore it felt like time froze still, and to say I was there, I saw it, is something I will never ever forgot.

90+3 it is virtually the last kick off the game, I struggle to find words to sum it up and the only way I can is thanks to the commentary from the game “Still life in this for Bristol City, in by Taylor… IT’S SMITH!!!… THE ROOF HAS JUST COME OFF HERE AT ASHTON GATE, STOPPAGE TIME…BRISTOL CITY 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 1, THE HOLDERS ARE CRASHING OUT”. These words are forever etched into our history as we beat Manchester United to progress to the Semi-finals of the league cup and make it a very memorable night.

After the highs of the League Cup city returned to League action, away at Loftus Road facing Ian Holloway’s QPR. City were backed with a sold out away end, one in which contained myself. QPR started much better of the two and were rewarded with this after ex city man Luke Freeman’s free kick found the back of the net thanks to an Aden Flint own goal. It did not look like city at all and seemed their cup heroics had come back to bite them, but this was not the case and city played the second half much better, chance after chance came their way but they just couldn’t finish. On the 80th minute city were awarded a penalty, and the man in form, Bobby Reid calmly finished right in front of the travelling supporters to send them wild. From then on city dominated and should of won the game, Cauley Woodrow’s shot inches away from the goal, but it was not to be and the game ended 1-1, a good result on the road to help maintain city’s unbeaten month.

Boxing day football and city hosted Reading who have seemed to struggle after their play off final defeat last season. City came into the game unbeaten throughout the whole month and looked to keep their promotion push on track. City started well pressing in the early stages and whenever possible. They should of gone ahead but Josh Brownhill’s effort sailed over the crossbar, Reading reacted to this and gave their all causing the game to be closely knit affair. Second half city played much better and were rewarded thanks to Jamie Paterson’s curling effort finding the top corner of the net and leaving Mannone with no chance for heroics. In the latter stages city doubled their advantage through young substitute Lloyd Kelly, his quick rebound to Brownhills effort putting the game to bed and securing another important win.

Championship leaders Wolves were the visitors to Ashton Gate and the match was also being broadcast on sky. I did not manage to attend the game as I was in holiday in Scotland, we did however manage to find a pub broadcasting the game and were definitely the only city fans in there! City played well in the first half controlling the game from the off, they were unlucky not to go ahead on numerous occasions if it wasn’t for the heroics of Wolves keeper Ruddy. City were handed an even better chance to go ahead after Wolves were reduced to ten men, defender Batth sent off for his late challenge on Magnusson.

After the restart city finally went in front thanks to the star man Bobby Reid his low shot beating John Ruddy. Wolves fought back and they have a reason to be at the top of the league, Doherty was played through and keeper Fielding raced off his line bringing him down, Fielding was sent off and both teams were to play with ten men, game set and match. To make matters worse Wolves scored straight from the set piece and give the visitors vital confidence. It looked like it would finish all square but Wolves had other ideas, awarded a set piece near the edge of the area it was met by Bennett at the back post to beat the keeper and secure the three points for Wolves. A hard defeat to swallow but city were still in the play off places.


Bristol City FC 17/18 November


City started the month at home to promotion play off rivals Cardiff City in the “Severnside derby”, over the years this has been a tough game for city especially at home, their last win coming back in August 2012. The game itself was lively with both teams attacking from the off, but it was City who struck first, Callum O’Dowda scoring his first league goal on 20 minutes. Cardiff were not to be ruled out and just before half time equalised through Omar Bogle’s close range finish. City played well in the second half and found the game to be made wide open for them after Omar Bogle was sent off for his late foul after 55 minutes. City’s constant threat was rewarded after Magnusson’s cliche long range throw in was met by Aden Flint’s towering header, prompting a infamous Scotty Murray style celebration from the centre half. Three points secured and finally a home win against Cardiff.

Away from home City travelled to Sheffield Wednesday and would be hoping to improve on what was a sour defeat here last season. The game itself was nothing short of exciting, both teams had chances but neither could convert, city defended well against a Wednesday side that should really be up the other end of the table. The game finished 0-0 and for city was a strong point bearing in mind their recent record here.

Tuesday night action Preston North End were the visitors to BS3, Preston had been on a poor run and were hoping to bring that to an end, for city it was a chance to push on for the auto places. Preston started better of the two teams and should of gone ahead early on, city did have their chances but like Preston were not clinical. Preston’s constant attack and high pressing game paid off after they broke the deadlock just before half time. The second half for city was much better, they played their slik football that has been synonymous with them this season and it should of paid off, but it dint. Preston’s attacking line was too much for city and they doubled their lead after 78 minutes. Preston did all things well they did not give possession away cheaply, and as much as I hate it they did the dirty work such as time wasting when necessary, although city did get a late late goal it was merely consolation for what had been a poor and frustrating defeat from the team.

City travelled to Hull hoping to bounce back from that poor performance, and in all honesty it looked they were due for another loss, 2-0 down after 61 minutes things weren’t looking good, but this city team were in the play offs for a reason and the last 30 minutes were nothing short of amazing with city 2-0 down they continued to push for a goal. 68 minutes… GOAL!!! ADEN FLINT, a scrappy finish but who cared. 79 minutes… GOAL!!! BOBBY REID, the kid can’t stop scoring. With city now brimming with confidence they were not settling for a draw, they had already been 2-0 down and seemed out of it, no, they wanted all three points. 89 minutes gone, Josh Brownhill drives forward, he is tackled but gets up well and regains possession, picking the ball up he shoots from goal 20 yards out to find the back of the net and complete the comeback, three points secured and a fantastic November for city.

City sat 5th in the table, now it was just an action packed December to face featuring a small encounter with Manchester United… no biggy then.



Bristol City 17/18 – October


With City sat in the play off places Octobers set of fixtures looked like they could well and truly push on further up the table.

First to play City was Burton Albion, struggling this time out the brewers and city played out quite a rather dull game and although both sides did have their chances it was city who struck first, however it was controversially ruled out due to a foul in the build up of play. Much like last season the game finished 0-0 and it was a feeling of 2 points dropped rather than a point gained.

Back at the gate 24,000 attended to welcome high flying Leeds United, rejuvenated under manager Tomas Christiansen they too were up in the play off places and this looked to be a promotion chasing clash. Leeds started the better and took an early lead after just 4 minutes through their in form man Samuel Saiz, just 10 minutes later he struck again doubling the away sides advantage. City played well in the second half and played much much better showing the attacking intent Johnson had fulfilled into his players, this however was no use to city as Leeds struck again 3-0 to them and the game was finished. The match was not without tension when Matty Taylor clashed with Gaetano Beradi after his late tackle on him, both men were sent off to add to a miserable day at the office.

Back in league cup action City faced a 3rd Premier League club this time Roy Hodgsons new Crystal Palace. Palace started well with Bakary Sakho coming close, was it a sign of things to come? Palace struck after 20 minutes and we knew this looked like a one way slope, but city continuing their impressive league campaign equalised through Matty Taylor, after his weekends red card had been rescinded and minutes later City found themselves in front, Milan Djuric getting the goal after replacing the injured Diedhiou. Second half action city dominated all round and this was rewarded with a goal of sheer excellence, a thunderous strike from Joe Bryan from the edge of the box beat Wayne Hennesey clipping in under the side of the bar. Callum O’Dowda added a fourth with a fantastic volley to send city in to dream land and past the fourth round since 1989. Another Premier League scalp.

Focusing back on promotion city travelled to league strugglers Sunderland, it was a match many were looking forward to after not playing at the Stadium Of Light for many years. Both sides played well and both had fair chances but it was City who struck first through Bobby Reid to add to his impressive goal scoring season, with virtually the last kick of the half Sunderland equalised after a scramble in the box it fell to Lewis Grabban who poached into the back of the net. Second half city gave it their all and Milan Djuric was brought on to provide some added pressure to the Sunderland defence, this substitution worked a treat, Callum O’Dowda providing a lovely cross to meet the head of Djuric who calmly headed into the net in front of the travelling fans. Three points secured, it was party time as the fans said “Were on the P$%S in Newcastle!”.

Away from home again City were away at Fulham. In recent years this has been a huge away day for fans, from the 4-0 away win last season to the dramatic 2-1; 6 pointer win, this was a happy hunting ground for city and the fans loved it. City started the match in a new 4-5-1 formation, with Bobby Reid leading from the front and hoping to carry on his goal scoring form. Callum O’Dowda was denied early on and so too were Fulham after hitting the cross bar. City took the lead after a well worked goal resulting from a tap in from Bobby Reid, that was his 10th of the season, for a player who isn’t even a striker he isn’t doing bad! City added a second 5 minutes before half time through Korey Smith to give them a strong start for the second half. Fulham started well eager to banish their firs half woes, but it was city who could of added a third after Paterson fired just over the target, things would only get worse for Fulham, Kamara sent off for violent conduct meant they finished the game with ten men and city took three points back to BS3.

City finished the month in 3rd place and kept the promotion dream alive.

Bristol City FC 17/18 – September


City started the month with an away visit to Reading, this has always been a tough place for city and for the fans a nice favourite as its fairly easy to get to. Aden Flint of all people scored in the 84th minute to secure the three points, his goal-scoring ability ever present and certainly showing his commitment after the supposed transfer speculation.

Another away fixture this time to high flying Wolves, Molineux is always somewhere my dad and I have said we’d go to but per usual we didn’t… City entertained a 3-3 draw which was fantastic, a point on a road at a tough place to go was well deserved.

Back at the gate Derby County were the visitors and took the lead in the 27th minute through a Matej Vydra penalty. Second half city were excellent showing their persistence that had seen them grind results out of nothing and it paid off after loan signing Cauley Woodrow levelled the scoring, and when city were awarded a penalty of their own there was no stopping in form Reid to put them in front. City rioted the second half with goals from Jamie Paterson and a late goal from Famara Diedhou to ensure city secured 3 points.

Third round of Carabao cup and City hosted premier league opposition Stoke City, could they do the unthinkable and knock two consecutive teams out.. of course they could. Stoke played well in the first half and were unlucky to not score hitting the bar just before half time, but that luck only did city favours after Famara Diedhou opened the scoring, Matty Taylor added the cherry on top for city fans with a lovely finish past the Stoke keeper to keep city’s leauge cup dream alive.

Away from home city went to Carrow Road in hope of taking their cup antics with them, city ended the game with a dull but fair 0-0 draw, again a point on the road wasn’t bad doing at all. Tuesday night action and city hosted recently promoted Bolton, it was a game city were expected to win and that they did 2-0 victors, it was one of those games that performance wise they were not at the best but all that mattered was another 3 valuable points were secured.

In their final game of the month city played away to Ipswich Town, I for one thought this is where there recent unbeaten run would come to an end, with recent performances here not being the best. City proved me wrong and started straight off the blocks, Josh Brownhill opening the scoring with just 2 minutes gone, further on the first half Famara Diedhou made it 2-0 to city and keep up his impressive goal scoring form. New signing Martyn Waghorn pulled one back for Ipswich before half time to make the second half certainly entertaining. The second half was lively and city played well, thus being rewarded with an 82 goal for Bobby Reid and add to his best ever goal scoring season and take citys run to 11 unbeaten games.

This was the first time city had won at Portman Road since 1978 and complete an impressive month in which city had taken 14/18 points. City finished the month in the play off place and finally got the fans believing, promotion anyone?






Bristol City FC 17/18 – August

With the new year rolling out and the second half of the season taking shape, I thought I would look back at our season so far month by month and share some of my own experiences.

Before the season I had predicted a mid table finish for city, with it being their 3rd season in the Championship and some key signings made, I thought this would be the year where they finally establish themselves as a Championship outfit.


City started the season well with another opening day win, 3-1 against Barnsley, I for one can not comment on this game as I was too busy enjoying the sizzling Spanish sun , however it did not deter me from wearing my city shirt and constantly checking the score, much to the annoyance of my girlfriend. Bobby Reid ran the show and even chipped in with a few goals to open his account for the season, much more was to come from him!

My first game back at the gate was against Plymouth Argyle in the league cup, city cruised the match 5-0 much to the delight of myself and the ground. Back in league action city went away to a much changed Birmingham City team, all inspired by Harry Redknapp on their last day heroics at Ashton Gate we knew it would be a tough game, city took the lead early on through that man Bobby Reid, in the end it was a tale of two halves and Birmingham came out 2-1 winners.

Brentford midweek, this is a team in recent years have become a bit of a “bogey team” for city, away at their place was to be even harder, much like the Birmingham game city took the lead early on but old habits prevailed as they through away the lead to make it 2-1 Brentford, with the game looking done and dusted city kept pushing, deep into injury time that man Bobby Reid produced equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game to send the travelling support into absolute ecstasy.

Back at the gate city hosted newly promoted Millwall, for me this was much more than the game as it was a time to celebrate the loss of a friend who until recently I had grown close to and was due to spend the whole season together. After our remebrance the game kicked off it was one I thought city could and should of won, at times city were poor and Millwall looked like taking the lead, in the end it finished all square 0-0, I think ‘Wall would of taken that.

Back in cup action city faced Premier League Watford away, this is one I was looking forward to and with some mates made the trip up for the first time, Vicarage road is a lovely ground with old school characteristic. City went into the break at 0-0, which was certainly fair considering Watford were by far the better side,  early on in the second half Watford took the lead, for some reason this only spurred city on and after the goal they outplayed them, their play was finally rewarded with a goal after a long rage effort from Freddie Hinds, as you can imagine we knew we had a game on, city roared on from the travelling sport kept pushing until eventually it fell to that man Bobby Reid to put city in front, he just cant stop scoring! New boy Eliasson added a third and although Watford scored late on the damage was done and city finished 3-2 victors to go through to the next round.

City finished the month at home in front of the Sky sports cameras against Aston Villa, again this was a game I can not comment on as I was enjoying Reading Festival, it did still not stop me and a few mates from checking the score throughout. The game finished 1-1 and from what I was told City were unfortunate not to win.

City finished the month in 13th and looked like my prediction was in place…

The Ghost Stands

This is my first featured article I have written, I was tasked with writing one to complete my first unit for my college course. In this article I have decided to speak about something that I feel is a growing issue. Please enjoy!

The Ghost Stands

by Oliver Sidwell

Saturday 3pm, Bristol City are lead out of the tunnel by captain defensive centre half “Bailey Wright Wright Wright!”

The teams are read out, the handshakes are done and the whistle is blown; the game is off, an almighty roar ripples around the ground “Come on you Reds!” The sheer sound  is surreal, 22,000 plus fans all in unison, all cheering, all there for one thing… to help the team earn those crucial three points.

This is a common sight for most teams around England. However in recent years this pulsating atmosphere is slowly getting quieter as TV broadcasting rights reach a record breaking high. Increasing matchday prices and other factors has resulted in the traditional atmosphere slowly dying.

Some fans have not sat back and let the atmosphere die. Fans of clubs such as Oxford United, Watford, Leicester, Bristol City and Huddersfield have set up fan groups reminiscent of the European “Ultras” scene. The fan groups are there to help maintain the atmosphere that has always been associated with english fans whilst also having a political stance and addressing other issues in the beautiful game.

Leicester City’s UFS put it best when they say they “believe that atmospheres are best served and improved through the fans acting independently, rather than being directed by their club. We believe that fans are the most important part of every football club.”

Jamie Hawkins, a 19-year old Bristol City fan has been a season ticket holder for the past four seasons and has seen the club go through various changes both on and off the pitch. When speaking to him I discussed the English ultras along with various other issues such as lack of standing areas, safe standing campaigns, modern stadia as well as European clubs and the relationship they have with their fans.

When speaking to him about safe standing and if it should be brought in he had some clear points to make “I think it’s a good idea. It should be brought in because most fans prefer to stand up, you get the odd fan that wants to sit down, but it gives the option to do both. I think it’s still a few years away but if they did a vote on it with the crowd now, potentially it could be brought in but whether that’s going to happen I don’t know.”

On the issue of modern stadiums Jamie had this to say “The pitch is further away from the fans, such as West Ham’s new ground (Olympic Stadium), miles away from pitch makes it harder to see the match, it is not much better with new football stadiums, the way they’re built being further away from the pitch, the atmosphere is not as good.” West Ham’s ground is a strange one as they did fill in the running track to help improve the atmosphere, but as Jamie said the pitch placement does not help with the fans view of the game. This results in fans not wanting to attend matches.

Countries such as Germany are the poster boy for club structure. For the current 2017/2018 season Borussia Dortmund charge €104.50 (£93) for their cheapest season  ticket whilst English clubs such as Arsenal charge £891 for theirs. This is one reason why the relationship with their fans is better than their English counterparts, they are treated as fans and not customers.

When talking about season ticket prices Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness had the following to say “We could charge more than £104. Let’s say we charged £300. We’d get £2m more in income but what’s £2m to us? In a transfer discussion you argue about that sum for five minutes. But the difference between £104 and £300 is huge for the fan. We do not think the fans are like cows, who you milk. Football has got to be for everybody, that’s the biggest difference between us and England.” The owners of these clubs target the game for the working man and this philosophy helps bring in more numbers which helps to make a louder atmosphere.

When speaking to Jamie about the Bundesliga and it’s clubs structures he had some key points to make. “Clubs are much better, such as Bayern Munich. Season tickets are cheap for where they are in the league and the players they have. Their crowd attendance sell out nearly every game. The relationship between the club and the fans is so much more closer. They actually care about the fans. It’s better value.”

I also spoke about the same issues to Lewis Cole, an 18-year-old Bristol Rovers fan who has had a season ticket for the last three seasons and been there from the recent decline to non-league and the triumph to League One.

“I know some teams have introduced safe standing such as Celtic being an example. I think it definitely helps improve the atmosphere. It helps to reduce crowd trouble and make the overall atmosphere better.” Celtic introduced the safe standing section during the 2016 close season and it has proved to be a hit with fans.“It gives a feel of what football used to be about, on the terraces for the working man.”

Other clubs have tried to emulate Celtic and only one so far has succeeded, Shrewsbury Town. In July 2017 after meeting a crowd funding target, permission was granted to have them installed. The club is hoping to install them before the end of the current 2017/18 season. It is a massive achievement for safe standing and it is something that can hopefully help to improve matchday atmosphere.

For the football fan, it is not like it once was, events such as the Hillsborough disaster paved the way for the terrace destroying “Taylor Report”. Grounds at the time were death traps and the report was brought in for the safety of the supporters deeming stadiums to be all-seater.

The report resulted in football clubs leaving their original homes, Middlesbrough leaving Ayresome Park and Sunderland leaving Roker Park. These moves resulted in clubs building all-seater stadiums. These stadiums have began to gain the nickname of “Soulless Bowls” due to the lack of acoustics in the ground.

Matchday atmosphere is something pivotal in a football match, it can turn a game on it’s head. When moves to new stadiums combined with a lack of support due to owners “ruining the club” can have disastrous consequences for the team, such as the case for Coventry City. City averaged 9,111 attendance in a 32,000 capacity stadium, this lack of support combined with off-pitch issues resulted in the club being relegated to League Two.

Recent campaigns from the Football Supporters Federation (F.S.F.) are challenging the game along with the law, they feel safe standing should be brought back to the grounds. They along with many of us want the feel good factor that the terraces brought, the freedom, the continuous support, 90 minutes of singing and chanting your head off. Try do that in current modern stadia and you’ll be greeted with the following “Sit down I can’t see the game”. This is a common issue that can hopefully be tackled to bring back the terraces in the form of safe standing and make the matchday atmosphere what it once was.