A View From The Gate (2)

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Bristol City’s Vital Editor Pete Tully gives his view on the Gas

As we approach the end of yet another season, it is perhaps time to
Take stock of the state of Bristol football. As I write, prior to the
Rovers home match against Carlisle United, they still have an outside chance of making the divisional play offs but recent form suggests that they face another season in the basement division.

As for City, the best that can be said is that they escaped relegation, it has been a poor league season and an abysmal cup season for my boys. In addition, we have had a stark warning from City?s chairman this week that unless promotion is achieved soon the gap in salaries offered by Championship clubs and those in the lower two divisions will become so wide that it will be virtually
Impossible to retain the services of any half decent player.

We have all been told, over the years, that for a city of it?s? Size,
Bristol ought to have a Premiership or, at the very least, Championship side and I do not think that supporters of either of our clubs would disagree with this. So, what is the problem, why do both clubs persistently under achieve and continue to languish in the lower divisions while teams from much smaller towns lord it in the higher echelons?

It was not always the case but, at the present time, it is a lack of
Financial investment that prevents progress. Now, don?t get me wrong most supporters are very grateful for the contributions, monetary and otherwise, made by Messrs. Dunford and Lansdown both of whom, along with their fellow directors, dig deep to keep our clubs in existence. However the sort of financial backing received by Blackburn, Wigan etc., let alone that received by Chelsea does
Not seem to be available in the South-West.

In addition both Club?s facilities, despite efforts to improve and
update, look past their sell by date, also I firmly believe that part of Rovers, problems at home stem from the pitch wear and tear caused by sharing with Bristol Rugby.

Not so long ago, I was firmly against City and Rovers sharing a
Stadium but now, having visited some of the new stadia around the country and seen pictures of others it is my belief that such a scheme could be the start of an improvement in the status of both our clubs. After all, it beggars belief that Walsall, Darlington, Oxford, Scunthorpe, Swansea etc. strut their stuff in modern facilities whilst our two clubs offer their devotees antiquated pre-war facilities situated in residential areas with consequent access
And parking problems.

I know that the City Council did try, a couple of years back, to come
Up with a site for a shared stadium but, as usual with Bristol, the
Majority of people think it is a great idea unless it is to be built within a mile of their home/shop/office and, if it is, create such opposition that the scheme is dropped. This is why other schemes such as the Light Rail/ Tram plan have failed to materialize and is the reason why Bristol, great City though it is, languishes behind so many in providing modern facilities and services.

Returning to football, surely it is now time for supporters of both
Clubs to campaign for the Council to provide a super stadium to be shared at reasonable rent by Rovers and City, enabling both clubs to sell their present facilities and provide the financial platform for an improvement in performances. Perhaps the Severnside option should again be considered, neutral territory for a new era of cooperation and progress without loss of rivalry. After all Yeovil have proved that local derbies can be played in an atmosphere of frenzied support without an underlying presence of violence. Come on Rovers and City supporters; let?s drag both clubs and the City Council into the twenty first century.

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