THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

24 September ~ There are many similarities in the public perceptions of Bristol City and Hull City. Both clubs are viewed as perennial underachievers, seemingly based upon the population size of each city and their respective catchment areas rather than the actual strengths of their playing squads. Three seasons ago Hull beat Bristol City in the play-off final to reach the top flight for the first time in their history. The score that day was 1-0, a scoreline repeated in six of Hull's seven League fixtures this season. Meanwhile, Bristol City have failed to score in all four home games this season – so a narrow away victory heaping more early-season misery upon Keith Millen's side seems likely.

That day at Wembley was about as good as it has got for Bristol City in the last 30 years, although in truth they never looked like scoring that afternoon. This is a habit they have persisted with this season, despite having a much sought-after finisher in Nicky Maynard. 

Millen's new-found preference for starting games with one striker on the pitch while having two sat next to him in the dug out is baffling many supporters, especially during home fixtures. It's not as though the five-man midfield appears very adept at either protecting the back four, or supporting the lone striker. The players look happier in a traditional 4-4-2 and the suspicion remains that, like most English sides, anything else confuses the issue unnecessarily.

Millen was installed on a three-year contract, a bit of a gamble for someone with no previous managerial experience at a time when the club appeared to favour rolling 12-month contracts, so it seems unlikely that the board will sack him even if the poor start to the season continues. With the club making huge annual losses and uncertainty remaining over the proposed new stadium, financially and otherwise, the club has to stick with they already have.

What many supporters would like to still have is Hull's goalkeeper Adriano Basso, forced out of Ashton Gate after a personality clash with then manager Gary Johnson. Basso is showing his ability at this level with three clean sheets so far this season. He is the "good" in the good, bad and ugly trio of ex-Bristol City players in the Hull squad. Liam Rosenior didn't handle his exit strategy very well and will be an unpopular returnee, while Dele Adebola could still be a handful if he comes off of the bench. As the game will probably settled by a single goal, it would be a good time to break our duck while there are still some leaves on the trees. Mo Davies

Comments (2)
Comment by andy1907 2011-09-27 13:23:50

As I remember it, Basso left after turning down a new contract, which it was reported at the time, would have made him the highest paid player at the club.

Comment by brian potter 2011-09-27 19:56:23

It wasn't quite as straightforward as that. There was a well publicised spat between Basso and Lee Johnson at the time for a start, and like other players who wanted to stay (Trundle, Noble and Adebola to name but three) once Gary Johnson had fallen out with the player he was never back in the side, see also Bradley Orr before he backed down. In the autumn of 2009 Basso came back in for 4 games and was outstanding, at a time when Gerken was chucking them in, but lost his place as soon as Gerken became available again.

The contract offer was reported wrongly. Trundle was on £3,000 more a week than was offered to Basso. The club have a history with reporting to the local press over contract offers. For example, Gary Owers was offered reduced terms when he was club captain, not the way that it was reported by the local press at the time.

Johnson got through a lot of players in his time as manager and got rid of a lot of wasters, Stewart, Brooker, Phillips and Partridge spring to mind immediately. But he also alienated a lot of decent players, which ultimately led to his downfall as you can't bully a side into being successful.

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