Bristol City

Bristol City supporter Mo Davies assesses the standard of League Two and how the rivalry with relegated Rovers is sorely missed

What have been your best and worst moments?
The best moments are few and far between. I have seen us in the top flight but was a bit young to appreciate it fully. I could revel in Freight Rover/LDV successes, but the promotion seasons have been ultimately more satisfying. The best of which was 1989-90, with Bob Taylor and Robbie Turner terrorising defences up and down the country, including dumping Chelsea out of the FA Cup. The worst was definitely 1982: the club almost went of business and were relegated to Division Four.

How would you assess the standard of Division Two?
It’s said every year that the standard is the worst yet. However, this year there are reasonable grounds for that assertion. The better footballing sides have all gained promotion lately and most games are now battles of attrition. If you are after free-flowing football you have no place at a Division Two fixture.

Do City have rivalries with teams other than Rovers?
If Rovers are in the same division then there is no contest. However, since their relegation we miss that rivalry. Swindon and Plymouth might tell you there is some edge, but in truth we only notice them when we have to play them. We were slightly more bothered about Cardiff, but they didn’t stay in our division. There was also a bit of a thing with Stoke as both sets of fans viewed their underachieving clubs in the same way, but meeting in the 2000 LDV final and Stoke gaining promotion put that one to bed as well.

Could City do more to attract fans in the region?
Attendances have averaged around 10-12,000 for the past few years, yet we took almost 40,000 to the LDV final last season. The gates rise when we have a good run, but keeping hold of them is the problem. The club recognise this and have tried to win over the next generation by having cheap child season tickets when bought with an adult one. The latest move has been to react favourably to a campaign by fans on the club website to reclaim the East End (which became our away end when the ground went all seats). The initiative has only been running for a few games, but that stand seems busier every time we play as word spreads. The potential is there, but sustained growth will only be attained by playing at a higher level.

Milestones & Millstones

1894 Founded as Bristol South-End.
1897 Changed name to Bristol City and turned professional.
1901 Elected to Division Two.
1905 Match the League record of 14 straight wins, still held jointly with Preston, Man Utd and Arsenal, on the way to promotion.
1909 Our only FA Cup final ends in a 1-0 defeat against Man Utd.
1911 Relegated from Division One.
1934 Win Welsh Cup for only time.
1976-77 After 65 years in Divisions Two or Three, back in the top flight. Start with a 1-0 win at Highbury; avoid the drop on the last day with a 2-2 draw that also saves opponents Coventry, having heard the other results following a late kick-off.
1978 Cup glory: beat St Mirren over two legs in the Anglo-Scottish final.
1980 “Dicks out!” demand the fans as Alan Dicks is sacked after 13 years in our relegation season.
1982 Eight players rip up their contracts to save the club from bankruptcy. Nothing can save us from our third successive relegation.
1986-87 Successive trips to Wembley in the Freight Rover Trophy, beating Bolton, losing to Mansfield
1994 FA Cup tie with Liverpool is abandoned after the lights go out. But we win a replay at Anfield 1-0, wearing a purple and green kit.
1996 A year after relegation from Division One, ex-Bros session musician Scott Davidson becomes club chairman. We go up in 1998 and down again the following season.
2000-03 Flirt with promotion from Division Two but can’t quite make it.
2004 Brian Tinnion plays his 500th League game for the club.

Fondly remembered
John Atyeo – Scorer of an unsurpassable 350 league and cup goals from 1951 to 1966, he also holds the record for club appearances. One of only four England internationals in the history of the club, he won six caps, scoring five times including a hat-trick against Spain in 1956. Fans now sit in the Atyeo Stand.

Best forgotten
Tony Pulis – Wasted over a million pounds on injury-prone journeymen on high wages in the autumn of 1999. Sold or alienated the more talented players in the squad. Changed our passing game into long-ball anathema, leading to six 0-0 home draws between August and January.

From WSC 206 April 2004. What was happening this month