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2015 Thousands flocked to see Bristol City celebrate League One title triumph
The sun was beaming as Bristol, ‘The Best in the West’, celebrated promotion following a near-perfect campaign.
Whether standing on the roadside, rooftops, balconies or even inside multi-storey car parks, thousands gathered wherever they could to get the best view of this successful Robins team.
While supporters stood in anticipation, some on the two parade buses had to sit down, such were the celebrations the night before after the Robins capped the end of the season with an extraordinary 8-2 victory over Walsall.
The streets were packed after Bristol City stormed to win the League One title with 99 points – the highest tally in the club’s history – and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after beating Walsall at Wembley in March.
JAY Emmanuel-Thomas and David Richards are to leave Bristol City this summer.
Both players are out of contract and have been informed they will not be offered new deals.
Former Arsenal youngster Emmanuel-Thomas has been with City since July 2013 and has scored 33 goals in 103 games.
"We’re not going to extend his contract here," manager Steve Cotterill said.
Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill insists the memories will stay with him forever after his League One title-winning side trounced Walsall 8-2 to end a hugely successful season in style at Ashton Gate.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said this week that gathering memories was more important to him than collecting silverware and Cotterill, who has guided the Robins to a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and promotion double, agrees with the Premier League’s most successful manager.
"Even though I’m the manager and I don’t jump up and down and get carried away, it is great to see your players lift a trophy and realise how happy you have made people feel," said Cotterill after leading his players back out onto the pitch to pick up the League One championship trophy.
He added: "That was a very special time for me and it will stay with me for a long time. That is what the last 10 months has been all about.
"It’s about spending that 30 or 40 minutes on the pitch with the trophy afterwards. They have had that early in their careers and I hope they have many more moments like that to come.
"We have another special day on the open top bus with the trophies on Monday and that will create even more good memories.
"This is a transitional sport and people come and go at all football clubs. But there will always be a special bond between the people who have been here this season."
Bristol City can do whatever Bristol City wants to do really,’ he said. ‘The mentality of the players, I know how hungry they are and they’ll get more hungry playing in the Championship against better players as they’re only going to step up their game.’
The Robins’ Celebration Tour will live long in the memory of everyone associated with the club and will make Steve Cotterill and his Bristol players even more determined to bring success to the city.
BRISTOL City chairman Keith Dawe has confirmed manager Steve Cotterill will be given the funds to add to his squad this summer.
And he has revealed that a goalscoring striker will top the list of targets when the transfer window reopens for business.
Although the celebrations were yesterday continuing following City’s historic League One and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy double, those responsible for the running of the club are already planning for life back in the Championship.
Cotterill achieved promotion with a remarkably small pool of players, comprising 15 first-team squad regulars and three loan signings. Quite clearly, more players of first-team quality will be required if the Robins are to sustain Championship football in the future and Cotterill’s intention is to try to bring in several new faces during the close season.
I was shocked when Nottingham Forest sacked me!
Steve Cotterill is wrestling with his obsession for detail. His team Bristol City have just won their first league title for 60 years and the Johnstone Paints Trophy, surely he must be doing something right.
‘I may have a little bit of obsessive compulsive disorder,’ he admits. ‘I like my shirts a certain way in the wardrobe and my socks. I always want the training ground to be right, the pitches to be nice, the goals and for there to be a lick of paint around the offices. I’ve got high standards.
‘I think it stems from my grandfather instilling good old fashioned values in me as a boy, I didn’t have much then. You should always make the best of things, appreciate what you have. I like things to be right.’
It’s a quality that is rubbing off on those around him. ‘He has changed the mindset of everyone,’ says leading scorer Aaron Wilbraham. ‘Every week, no matter who we are playing, the attention to detail on the other team and the way he prepares us has been unbelievable.’
Cotterill lost his father at an early age and grew up with his mother in a council house in Cheltenham; his grandfather helped to raise him. ‘I grew up with nothing so when I get something I want to look after it all the more.’
Owner Steve Lansdown no doubt sensed that when he entrusted Cotterill with taking his club forward. The billionaire financier had already ploughed in more than £50million and is redeveloping their Ashton Gate stadium to create a 27,000 capacity. Thousands more turned out to greet their open top bus tour of the city on Monday, euphoric after Sunday’s emphatic 8-2 trouncing of Walsall.
Cotterill has been in the Championship and flirted with the Premier League before only to have the rug pulled from underneath him. His sacking at Nottingham Forest left him devastated.
His desire to prove he can trade blows with the big boys is only too evident.
‘Steve Landsdown has never said to me you’ve got to win things, I’m the one who has said I want to be in the Premier League,’ says Cotterill. ‘Steve wants us to be competitive because deep down he is too.’
In the taxi on the way to Bristol City’s training ground in Failand, a radio debate discusses the club’s progress. One caller says Cotterill ‘has turned a shipwreck into an ocean liner’. ‘The season’s been fantastic,’ he says. ‘Steve Cotterill walks on cider!’
The phrase brings a chuckle from Cotterill. He is in the canteen overlooking the pristine green pitches and makes short work of a barbecue spare rib before reflecting on how far his side have come. When he arrived in December 2013, they were bottom of League One and short of confidence.
He expanded their style of play, spread them out across the pitch, making them less compact and keeping possession more. They finished 12th and then came a summer of change. Cotterill brought in seven players including 35-year-old Wade Elliott from Birmingham and 34-year-old Wilbraham on a free from Crystal Palace. They went on a pre-season trip to South Africa and Botswana and it turned out to be the making of the group.
‘I’d set it up at the hotel so the lads thought they were going to be watching a presentation on 3-5-2 and how I wanted it to be done,’ says Cotterill. ‘You can imagine their faces but then the TV goes all fuzzy and what comes on is our version of the X Factor and the new signings all doing bits to camera about their singing.’
Madcap club physio Steve Allen donned a wig and false chest calling himself ‘Holly Wigabooby’ and they roped in hotel staff to judge as the players did a turn.
‘Korey Smith could have another career,’ says Cotterill, ‘but I think it’s best Luke Ayling carries on playing football.’
A youthful bunch with two old heads, the squad bond was set. For away trips they stayed extra nights, travelling on the Thursday and playing each other at video and board games such as Monopoly.
Cotterill has tapped into old friends such as Stuart Gray at Sheffield Wednesday to use their training facilities and practice set-pieces. ‘I think Stuart knows them better than us now!’ Cotterill jokes.
Collectively, it has transformed the team. They scored 96 goals and finished on 99 points following Sunday’s finale with Walsall.
‘We had five players in the PFA team of the year,’ says Cotterill proudly. ‘That’s voted for by your fellow professionals so it tells you something of how we are considered but importantly three of them were here last year and didn’t get a mention then. It’s a barometer of how we have moved on. We’ve got 19 players, including two goalkeepers and they’ve played nearly 60 games.’
Two trophies later they have a taste for more. Cotterill confesses he missed Bournemouth clinching promotion to the Premier League on TV last week as he was in a long meeting with Keith Dawe, the chairman, planning the next step.
‘There have been some wonderful stories for Blackpool, Burnley and Bournemouth in recent years and if we can carry on the progress then ours could be a good story too, yes.
‘What my Nottingham Forest experience taught me was that I could handle a big club, the demands, the pressure, 100 percent. I didn’t speak to anyone outside of family and friends for about two months after I was sacked by Forest because I was so shocked. I knew the job I was doing was a good one yet the public didn’ t because of how it was ended. I’ve got belief I can manage at the very top and I’d like to achieve that.
‘There is room for a Premier League club in Bristol. It’s a fantastic city, it’ s a great club, it’s got a great owner and there’ll be a great stadium. Now they’ve got a good team, all they need is a good manager!’
That’s a minor detail.
By brizzle born and bred on 2015-05-05 15:54:21
How to find last-minute Memorial Day travel deals
Summer is about to kick off with the Memorial Day weekend just days away. If it snuck up on you and you’re waiting until the 11th hour to make plans, here are four ways to book a last-minute trip without having to blow your budget. Go where the deals are …
News story posted on 2015-05-20T08:30:00