Why Bristol City will Be a Premier League Club in the Future
Why Bristol City Are A Future Premier League Club
Bristol City’s highest ever finish was way back in 1906-07 season, when they finished title runners up and they have not appeared in the English top flight since the 1979-80 season. They have never won the FA Cup (they were runners up in the 1908-09 season), or League Cup. Their last cup success was back in 2014-15 when they won the Football League Trophy. Despite gaining promotions as either league winners or runners-up in the lower tiers of the football pyramid, they have never managed to regain their place among the English elite. Although history doesn’t make a convincing argument for why Bristol City are a future Premier League club, when we look at their recent off-field activity it is a different story.
Bristol City’s owner is businessman Stephen Lansdown CBE, who has a net worth of around£2.5 billion. Lansdown also owns the Bristol rugby team, Bristol Bears, as well as the Bristol Flyers basketball team, under his Bristol Sport umbrella. He grew up and attended school in the area and after making his money in finance he took over as Bristol City as chairman in 2006 and has been the owner since 2007. He has invested millions into the Bristol Sport teams and recently wrote off another £14 million of debt to help the team continue towards its ultimate goal of Premier League football. The Robins’ average home attendance is over 19,000 this season and in a city of almost 700,000 they have the potential supporter base to rival that of many mid-table Premier League teams.
Lansdown has overseen a £45 million redevelopment of Bristol City’s stadium, Ashton Gate, which not only increased its capacity to 27,000, but also upgraded the facilities that compare to any found in the Premier League. There has also been a multi-million pound investment in Bristol City’s new training facilities, which has been named the Robins High Performance Centre. There are also plans for a new £100 million “Sporting Quarter” to be built next to Ashton Gate, which were submitted in June.
A Talent-Production Line
In recent seasons Bristol City have cashed in by selling their best players to Premier League teams. In the 2019/20 season they sold Adam Webster to Brighton (€22.22 million), Lloyd Kelly to Bournemouth (€14.8 million) and Josh Brownhill (€10 million). The previous season saw a similar trend, with Bobby Decordova-Reid (€11.35 million to Cardiff City), Aden Flint (€8 million to Middlesbrough) and Joe Bryan (€6.7 million to Fulham) all exiting to club.
With this amount of money coming into the club from player transfers it is only right to assume that these funds will be put towards new player acquisitions. However City’s transfer record for a player is the €9 million they paid Chelsea to acquire the Czech Republic international defender, Tomas Kalas. The club had yet another quiet transfer window with ex-Leicester City players Andy King and Matty James both joining on free transfers. City only paid for George Tanner (£300,000 from Carlisle United) and Rob Atkinson (£1.6 million from Oxford United).
Getting It Right On The Pitch
Bristol City have been competing in the Championship since 2015-16 season and have finished in between 8th (2018/19) and 19th position (2020/21). Making the decision to sack long-term manager, Lee Johnson in July 2020 was seen as a move of intent as the Robins strived to take that final step and gain promotion. The search for his successor did not go smoothly, as a number of high profile managers ruled themselves out of contention, with Johnson’s assistant Dean Holden ultimately being appointed to take the team forward.
Holden made a tremendous start last season, with the team being in the top six for a number of weeks. This form however did not last and Holden’s lack of managerial experience was exposed and he was sacked after just 7 months. Nigel Pearson was announced as Holden’s replacement just 5 days later and he was given the task of avoiding relegation and the building a team that can challenge for promotion the following season. After a short improvement in form, City’s performances again disappointed, with them ending up a lowly 19th position and with much work needing to be done.
👏 "He can build confidence in players. He's got lots of experience."
👍 "We have every confidence that he's going to galvanise the squad."
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) February 23, 2021
This season has seen a definite improvement in the style of play by the team and Bristol City currently occupying 11th position in the Championship. Pearson is putting a lot of faith in some of Bristol City’s talented youngsters, with players like Han Noah-Massengo, Alex Scott and Cameron Pring all being given considerable game time. There are also players in the current U23 set-up that are further cause for optimism such as; Ryley Towler, Sam Bell, Louis Britton, Sam Pearson and James Morton. Nigel Pearson has a reputation as a good man-manager and going into the international break there was definitely a sense of positivity around Ashton Gate.
— Gregor MacGregor (@GeeMacGee) August 29, 2021
Realistic Promotion Candidates?
While it is still too early in the season to gauge whether City will be playoff contenders, looking at their team they could possibly be the dark horses that sneak into sixth place. Andreas Weimann has been in fantastic form and if he stays injury-free then he could easily get 15 goals this season. Chris Martin has also looked good in front of goal this season and although he has never really been a prolific goal-scorer, he can occupy defenders and create space for teammates to capitalise. Nahki Wells also remains a player who could contribute a number of goals, but his start to the season has been disappointing and he needs to work on the mental side of his game to rediscover his goal scoring touch.
The introduction of ex-Foxes Andy King and Matty James has had a positive impact on the team and gives them experience and quality to control situations that they lacked last year. At the back Dan Bentley can be one of the best keepers in the league. If Rob Atkinson lives up to hype that surrounded him while he was at Oxford United, then he could be a real lynchpin in defence alongside Tomas Kalas.
@BristolCity is next on the list 🔴⚪️
An average start to the season sees them mid-table, but they definitely have the quality to push up and fight for a playoff spot.
— EFL Championship Stats (@EFLChampStat) September 4, 2021
It may not be this season, or even next season, but Bristol City and Stephen Lansdown are building some very exciting down in the west country. If the players can find consistent form, steer clear of injuries and Nigel Pearson work his managerial-magic, who knows, the Robins might just find themselves in the Premier League sooner rather than later!
We hope you enjoyed this article ‘Why Bristol City are a Future Premier League Club’. Do you think Bristol City will be a Premier League club in the future? Let us know!
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