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Showing most liked content since 17/11/2017 in all areas

  1. 95 points
    1) Don't think it's a really good idea to pull an all-nighter and rock up at one of Australia's biggest casino's at 5am to watch the game live. 2) Don't go with your wife and a few friends and team up with some lads from Devon who decide to support City because they don't like Northerners 3) Don't consume everything you can drink or imbibe on 4) Don't watch it in the same area as a bunch of lads from Sheffield on a stag do to Australia 5) Don't laugh like a lunatic when City score after they should be 4-0 up 6) Don't get lippy when they equalise 7) Don't call them filthy Northern Monkeys when Korey nearly got his leg broken 8) Don't go mental when Flinty scores with minutes to go 9) Don't remind said lads from Sheffield they are still dirty Northern Monkeys when you win 10) Don't tell your missus the only chance she has of getting laid is by wearing an Aden Flint mask. If you follow the above advice, you won't wake up 10 hrs later with a black eye, and a wife who is now withholding any bedroom fun for at least a month. Just a tip.
  2. 88 points
    I think it's fairly well known on here that I've had some issues that have lead to me not going to games as much as I'd have liked, so I'd like to say a big thanks to some people who have helped me out this season. To start, a big thanks to @BobBobSuperBob, who helped me go to the Plymouth and Stoke games. @BigAlToby&Liam, who has helped me go to the Leeds and Preston games. And also @City exile 79 who has managed to get me a ticket for the Manchester games. Thanks also to @Davefevs and @RED4LIFE who have given me a lift to and from a couple of games. A simple thank you doesn't really cover things, but I wanted to make it known that the kindness from each of you has been greatly appreciated.
  3. 75 points
    A little slice of karma. After complaining about every hard tackle from City, you boo an opposition player who was clearly badly injured by a terrible tackle. Now fair enough, you may not agree with the decision, but surely after he hobbles off with the assistance of two physios and gets substituted, you could maybe stop shouting "cheat" at him. And maybe not boo him after the final whistle as he's limping badly down the tunnel. Haven't been so happy to inflict defeat on a team in a long time. Both of our goals came after the referee let play continue following bad challenges from your players too. You played well, but you met a resilient team with leaders and playmakers. Unluckyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
  4. 69 points
    Sorry for the delay but it turns out that if you want to see what living off the grid is like, you can get the equivalent experience on East Midlands Trains. In a parallel universe modelled on several of our prior managers, Bristol City are still labouring through a home game only to claim an ugly 0-0 draw. In this universe however our team (and its now fully redeemed manager) have set a new and unprecedented baseline for our standard, comfortably dominating every aspect away at a big club and being hugely disappointed to 'only' secure a 0-0 draw. It's not often I have walked out of a 26,000 crowd as an away fan and felt frustrated with getting a draw, but today absolutely, Sheffield Wednesday got away with one. I should be mad, but look over your shoulder, see how far we've come. This is the best team in my lifetime. I'm seeing the same quality of football that I see on TV when the big teams are on. Today, every single player (maybe bar Magnússon) looked better than their opposite number. We played right from the start with pace and width and an energy that Wednesday couldnt match. They were cowed and regressive, we spread the team wide and looked to stretch them at every opportunity. We compensated for a lack of height by pumping the ball forward and then winning second balls from their first clearance. Every second ball. We had a spring in our step and were onto every loose ball outside their box, often then releasing Bryan or O'Dowda to cross. For the first half we looked like the home side. Possession and majority of the game in their half, Wednesday reduced to sporadic breaks and Rhodes drifting between our centre backs looking for tame headers from balls lofted forward. We were committing far more players forward and regularly allowing our wingers to make light work of their full backs, supported gamefully by our central midfield pushing up and setting the tempo. All that was missing was a target man. Our best chance of the half was an exchange outside the box that allowed O'Dowda to get behind them and square for Reid who at close range headed straight at the keeper. O'Dowda, among our best players of the past month, showed no sign of World Cup hangover and routinely abused their full back, also cutting in and steering a shot just over the angle of post and bar. In the second half we came out even more determined to make our dominance count, and led by Taylor, were pulling their defence in all directions. But as with the first half, the lack of a target man meant end product was sadly lacking, often falling to midfielders on the edge of the box to test the keeper, Josh Brownhill going closest, drilling a shot just wide of the post. For all our confidence with the ball, it was becoming that sort of game where Wednesday might land the sucker punch. Magnússon had started to look the weak link and two mistakes during swift Wednesday counters - beaten on the touchline and again giving it away in his box when the clearance seemed easy, seemed to give the home side some belief, and they would win a series of corners, building some momentum. But they never troubled Frankie and didn't have the pace or fluency that City's midfield showed when it sprung forward with significantly more menace and threat. Ironically it was during Wednesday's best spell that the game really opened up for City - the introduction of Duric with 20 minutes remaining making an obvious difference. He won all his headers and gave O'Dowda and others plenty of opportunity to threaten. Suprisingly it was the shaky Magnússon who stepped up into one of their swiftest counters and executed a perfectly timed tackle to rob the ball as they poured forward, initiating a fast counter from which Reid dragged a tame shot wide. But the chance(s) of the half - and the game - came in a barnstorming twenty seconds of assault on Wednesday with 15 remaining, when another typically sharp central midfield incision allowed the commanding Brownhill to release Duric clear on goal from the left, his low shot was blocked by the keeper and with City pouring forward the ball spun loose on the edge of the box. Reid and Paterson converged and arguably got in each others way, but Reid, who is majestic whenever the ball is near, kept his composure to collect it up, shift away from the defender and spin and deliver a reverse cross which Flint met with an overhead kick that flashed agonisingly wide of the post. In the end City had to ride out Wednesdays best spell in the final ten minutes but there was really never any serious threat and I doubt any City fan really panicked, it would have been an act of monumental injustice had City not at least got a point, to be honest Wednesday's late surge had the look of a lower division cup side trying to make good the fact they were still in the game against much more capable opposition. So all in all a great game that demonstrated comprehensive superiority of a City side that plays with an energy, pace and confidence to move with the ball that from memory is virtually unprecedented in my life at this level. The players to a man were the better of their opponents and in Bobby Reid, even in a quiet day by his standards, we have a legitimate superstar, twice in the second half in either half of the pitch he executed unbelievable skill to sneak the ball away from an embarrassed opponent. But overall the biggest feature for me was the confidence using the ball. We dominated by playing a forward thinking 'prepared to take risks' game where we bet on quick passes knowing that even when they didn't come off we had the energy and swarm to recover possession. No wonder we had such sustained presence in the opposition half. Wednesday conversely looked nervous and uncertain, compact to our width, and sunk deeper and deeper, even Bannon retreating to a position in front of his box such was City's dominance. A goalless draw away at a big team that we should not be disappointed with, but which does represent two points lost more than one point gained, as it was surely such a strong performance that we win from 9 out of 10 times. I have seen enough now this season to say that it will be a surprise if we are not in the top six by the end of the season, and in Lee Johnson we have a manager who has not only redeemed himself but - let's call it out - is comfortably into credit. Fielding 6 Didn't have a lot to do, and kicking was poor Smith 8 Back in his unconventional right back spot and as per usual wherever you put him he doesn't put a foot wrong Magnússon 6 One brilliant tackle but mostly looked like a mistake waiting to happen Baker 7 Solid in the air without an awful lot to do Flint 8 Also solid and went closer than anyone at the other end with another finish you would expect from a top class striker Pack 7 Solid and neat as the base of our midfield Brownhill 8 Will still be running in his sleep tonight, an absolute engine that doesn't stop, box to box, needs a drug test Bryan 7 Got the better of full back several times but often didn't have room to cross O'Dowda 8 Probably out best player, never stopped running at them and positioning and instinct spot on Taylor 7 Didn't have many clear chances but was a nuisance and his unselfish play to spread the ball was key to the joy O'Dowda and Bryan were getting Reid 7 Not his best game but several glimpses that he was the best natural footballer on the pitch and never stopped going Duric 7 Won everything when he came on, and had our best chance of the game Paterson 5 Didn't really get into the game
  5. 59 points
    No - that would make us look tinpot in the eyes of the nation.
  6. 56 points
    Dean Holden just confirmed to GT that Korey has large gash to his shin , been stitched But ’Should be ok for Saturday’ Great news eh
  7. 53 points
  8. 52 points
    Lots of praise on here (rightly so) for us last night and whilst they will be disappointed, what about some for Boro? How good it is to watch a team that comes to play decent football, doesn't time waste, feign injury or argue every single decision with the ref? Maybe being more open was their downfall but they fully contributed to a very good match and I wish everyone else in this division played that way.
  9. 50 points
    I've been a bit too positive this season so let's get this out the way first: we were second best for an hour, were largely outplayed by a surprisingly fluent and neat home side, and for once this season didn't have any shape or identity and didn't create any serious spells of possession. By City's standards this was poor stuff, a throwback to last season. And yet while we were outplayed, today we showed the gritty determination of a team who will not be outfought. The difference between the first 45 minutes and the second 45 minutes was down to our shape. First half narrow, deep, with no overlaps on either wing, and overrun by an impressive Hull side that played short passing and sustained wing to wing probing, while pressing us across the pitch. Hull were far better than their recent standing and looked like we have this season. Unfortunately we looked like we did last season, flat in shape and devoid of ideas. Then at half time the perfect reaction from Johnson, introducing much needed width - Eliasson and Paterson - that would in the end be decisive (Eliason's pin point curling crosses and Pateson's single minded running causing havoc) though in truth it wasn't until the last 30 with the commandeering Djuric on to lead the line, that we finally got the better of a good Hull side, whose joined up play visibly crumbled, fragility of confidence that was so familiar to us last campaign. So today we were outplayed for once, but we saw another much needed ingredient: fight. For the entire match we had players who looked like winners - a clue that even when it wasn't going our way, it could turn. In a poor first half Pack was everywhere in midfield (his yellow the likely reason for his departure) while Korey Smith and Josh Brownhill were absolutely barnstorming throughout, not simply when it started to go our way second half. Correcting the shape got us back into the game, and then a far superior fight and energy in the final quarter won it for us. Hull were all over us in the first half, producing all the shots on goal. City were pushed back by their swift passing and interplay around our box and our defence had to be at its best to track and block crosses and shots, Magnússon at left back in particular having a very good game marshalling his opposite number and tidying up whenever required. If we ever got hold of the ball, Woodrow dropped deep for his few touches and O'Dowda had no support, so counters were gobbled up swiftly. The home side eventually took a deserved lead when Campbell bundled home from a cross. Into the second half and Eliasson on as sub started to work their full back and create crossing opportunities, and Magnússon and Wright were visibly looking to push up and support, but initially City failed to settle into the sudden attacking change of shape and now short a man in central midfield, continued to surrender more space to the passing and movement of an impressive, and now confident Hull side. It was looking like a poor day at the office when Hull capped a sustained spell of pressure winning headers in and around the box as City badly failed to clear their lines and lost successive second balls, the ball nodded back behind the defence for the easy finish. O'Dowda went off injured after his own rash challenge in retaliation for being bundled off the ball, and Duric came on, once again providing the decisive cameo to an away game, virtually faultless winning forward balls and flicking on to create the lanes into which teammates broke. The other feature of City's better play continued to be Korey Smith and Josh Brownhill's relentless drive out of midfield (squandered first half when they were caught in possession with limited options in front of them). But now Smith would embark on a mesmerising 20 yard run before slipping the ball inside the defence for Reid - possibly offside - whose low shot was blocked by the keeper. Eliasson, bright and sharp with the ball, was starting to get real joy running at their full back, aided by Wright overlapping. Among a succession of corners and free kicks Eliasson won - and then delivered - a now trademark curling whipped free kick beat all the defenders, Magnússon heading goalward and Flint crashing home as Hull tried desperately to clear off the line. Eliasson is a special kind of player that City have not had for a good few years, every cross is perfectly weighted and dangerously curling away from defenders, inviting the finish, hopefully the days of inconsistent and tame crossing are soon going to be a thing of the past. With quarter of an hour remaining and City starting to surge, Brownhill demonstrated what a complete player he will be, with an all action couple of minutes, the prelude to the final act of his stunning individual performance of will to win. At one end of the pitch he would chase back as Hull broke dangerously - as they still continued to do - and get ahead of the striker to block a shot. A minute later he fought for and cut out the ball out on the left in his own half and broke dangerously, releasing Reid on the left wing, who was unceremoniously dumped over. Paterson swung in the free kick, City now aerially dominant won the first ball and Reid bundled over the line. By now Hull's confidence was shot, resorting to long balls forward as City powered forward led by Duric. Smith fired over from the edge of the box, Flint fired wide and Paterson would be sent on a mazy run back and forth across the box beating players at will before squandering possession with neither a pass nor finish. The sensational climax was entirely down to the player who fought for everything, Brownhill. In front of the away end yet another attack had players pouring forward, but outside the box Hull stepped up to dispossess, seemingly to rob the opportunity. Brownhill followed in to recover possession, stretching every sinew and tumbling as he did. He somehow kept his composure, and more importantly his balance, to drive on with the ball to outside the box, before arrowing the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner. Delirium. City celebrated in front of the away end and capped a fighting comeback that owed much to the energy and determination of the players on a day when they were certainly outplayed for the majority by a neat but ultimately fragile Hull side. In an impressive season already this was not a script City had written before - less the possession and slick expansiveness of many performances, more the driving will to win of a team that spent large periods under the cosh, but in Korey Smith and Josh Brownhill had two midfielders who never know when they are beaten, and in Eliasson and Duric have two class acts from the bench who will surely be fixtures in the first team before too long. Fielding 7 Made a number of other important saves from the many others shots Hull had Wright 7 Solid but only got forward to good effect in the second half Magnússon 8 One of his best defensive performances and best this season Flint 7 Makes up for any limitations with his contribution at set pieces at the other end Baker 7 Single-handedly won a lot throughout the game, first goal was an anomaly Smith 9 Never stopped running and got on the ball driving City forward second half Pack 7 Possibly our best player of the first half, was everywhere across the midfield and was clearly playing to keep his place, unlucky to go off Brownhill 9 Everywhere at both ends of the pitch and even when he looks absolutely shattered finds the energy to go again. O'Dowda 6 Not his sort of game, had no support first half and so had few options he was well marked and frequently bundled off the ball Reid 6 Not his best game by any means but always involved in our best interplay Woodrow 6 A few neat touches dropping deep to exchange passes but ultimately not a target man and easily marked out of the game Eliasson 8 Getting better and better. Best crosser of the ball at the club and looks very consistent and sensible rather than headless when going at defenders Paterson 6 Very bright with the ball and his movement and dribbling made it harder for Hull to press and cut out passes, but not a lot of end product Duric 7 You know the story, wins literally everything sent his way and always gets the ball to a teammate. We look a significantly better side when he's on the pitch
  10. 50 points
    Perhaps the best thing you could say about today's performance was that despite being at far from our best, we were still better than a Wednesday side who are 9th and have just been coming into a bit of form. Defensively we have improved ten-fold on last season,with the only obvious weakness of Magnússon today. Our away form has also improved ten-fold on last season. I feared the worst after an abysmal display at Griffin Park back in August but skip forward to the performances at Ipswich and again today (the ones I've seen but obviously put S'land and Fulham it the mix too) and we can now competently contain teams for long periods if we need to whilst still looking a threat going forward. Brownhill, O'Dowda and Djuric all worthy of a special mention today. As of now, play-offs are very much an achievable goal for us IMO. We have strength in depth, score goals, can defend and can play a bit too when given the opportunity. There also appears to be a great team spirit that as we saw in 2006-08 and in 2015 is key to any successful City side. Top two cannot be ruled out at this stage either. There, I said it. Wolves are the outstanding team in this division (and we gave them a fright up there despite them being excellent on the night) but beyond them I don't see another strong contender, at the moment. We should fear neither Sheffield U, who are riding the crest of a wave, nor the sheep shaggers. All in all, good times. Well done LJ, DH and my boy Jamie Mac . I can now say beyond doubt that lessons have been learnt after last season and we certainly* won't be in a relegation scrap. Take a bow, boys *well, almost certainly!
  11. 47 points
    Colin Murray called us the most attractive football team to watch outside of the prem and Iwelumo and other guests have praised us a hell of a lot over the season. It’s not the best show but people just like to criticise anything! They can’t talk about how great the mighty City are every week!
  12. 47 points
    I thought this was going to be a topic about yourself ;-)
  13. 47 points
    Evening all , posted on here a good few times and like to think I try and post a balanced view of the team I have supported for 40 + years and as always for the third season on the trot will be making the trip to Ashton Gate as its one I pencil in immediately due to the guaranteed good humour between both sets of fans ( can only base this on the numerous times I have seen Preston play away at Bristol City and having done Preston away at 90 + clubs found your supporters amongst if not the most welcoming ) so what of our visit on Tuesday ? Having lost Grayson to Sunderland I felt and still do that he was a real loss and season on season we had progressed as a club ( player wise from last season and a bit more football ) despite two 11th placed finishes and identical points for both seasons ( but a terrible one win in 10 at the end of last season ) , we had to find a replacement for Simon quite quickly and I am lead to believe it was pretty much a two horse race between Neil or Rosler from Fleetwood , Neil got the nod perhaps down to having promoted a side from the Championship although Norwich with there squad/recent Prem history is a different prospect to coming to manage Preston without top flight football for 53 years , our start surprised me and I think a good few of us , not just the 1 defeat in 11 , nor 3 goals conceded but the manor of high tempo pressing football , loads of chances created ( not taken in the main ) but outplaying Cardiff , Reading , Sheff Wed , Moro and Leeds and the only defeat a narrow one at Derby , we first conceded two goals at home to Sunderland and the players looked out of sorts against a club in turmoil on the back of a 5-2 defeat at Ipswich but Grayson knew our players better than Alex Neil and 2-2 was fair , we then go to Fulham and perhaps put on our best performance of the season and could / should have been 4-0 up , even at 2-1 we create and miss two glorious chances and concede in the 96th min for a 2-2 draw , then Wolves away we let in 3 but having gone deserved a point in a 3-2 defeat but defensively we look suspect , then we play IMO very poorly at Home to our bogey side Brentford ship another 3 in a 3-2 defeat , injuries are piling up and we simply have no Plan B in games nor can we park the bus , Villa was men v boys but I wander off Deepdale thinking this is a squad assembled for around £2.4-£2.5 Mill what more should we expect ? , Ipswich away we had 6 defenders out and get trounced 3-0 and Friday we look content to stop the rot and grind out a pretty uneventful 0-0 but with no Hugill and Maguire we are toothless... One thing I haven't seen under Alex Neil except a little bit at Home v Bolton is us playing for a point , with No Cunningham , Clarke , Davies we have 3 of our back 4 out ( Clarke will be on the bench but hasn't kicked a ball from a serious injury ) , confidence is low and the high passing tempo and stunning football at the moment is a distant memory , I am certainly not looking up ( a few weeks ago even I was starting to believe ) but I also do not think we will be dragged into the bottom 3 ( 14-19th a likely finish ) , I have never witnessed a team with 8 defenders out and having to play kids / players out of position all over the pitch and think most teams would suffer and we really are on a bad run , I would be very surprised if we get any form of result at all on Tuesday and hope I'm proved wrong but with your current form / squad it looks like a pretty comfortable home win but I will cheer the team on and take a win/draw/defeat and hope to see a decent game of football , things change very quickly in football wasn't long ago at Deepdale after that 5-0 defeat that I didn't think Johnson could turn you around but he has and its nice to see you at the right end of the table and you with 1 defeat ? all season look real top six contenders , whether Alex Neil is the man to progress us is way to soon to tell , he will be given time and a limited budget but we have perhaps the 3rd smallest budget in the division and think we punch way above our weight .. Regardless of the result on Tuesday all the best Mortis
  14. 46 points
    I’ve seen our wonderful Club représented In some weird and wonderful ways although over the globe but thought this deserves a special mention. A huge shout out to Ricky Wiltshire. Great work fella and hope you have a very safe journey up and down COYR
  15. 42 points
  16. 41 points
    An OTIB user has today tried to tout a Man Utd ticket on here for £100. The mods rightly stopped this from appearing in public view. The user then tried again and the mods blocked the post again. Touting is against the law and I'm sure we'd all agree that trying to extract more than 3 times face value from a fellow fan is not acceptable. For the avoidance of doubt, please be clear that to the extent allowed by data protection legisaltion we reserve the right to report - to the club and/or police - anyone found trying to make a profit on here from touting Man Utd tickets. To the user who has already tried this: desist and we'll overlook your two attempts so far. Try again, and face the consequences. Sorry to sound so harsh, but touting tickets at extortionate prices is just not on.
  17. 39 points
    Just seen this on twitter. http://www.nandtfc.com/single-post/Thank-you-Joe-Bryan A credit to our club. Funding the guys rehab himself. Exactly the sort of thing footballers earning a hefty amount of money should do (I don’t mean that in a patronising way) and fair play to him.
  18. 38 points
    Mods: Feel free to move this to non-football chat but I suspect more read this part of the forum. Just a gentle reminder to give your personal supply of balls the once over now and again. A few weeks ago we noticed I had what seemed a 50% bonus in the happy sack. I am now writing this, convalescing after having it removed on Friday. Currently I am about as mobile as the Bristol Rover's defence. This forum is always the first site I visit to cheer me up and lately I've needed it, although not sure laughing is helping the Frankensteinesque scar across my midriff! One of the things that struck me was the number of medical professionals complementing me on how quickly I followed it up. Apparently it's not uncommon for men to turn up having had lumps and bumps there for three years before seeking advice, which is horrifying, so for goodness sake don't ignore anything like that or let embarrassment get the better of you. Just go to the doctor and..ahem..Johnson out! Thanks for reading, now get back to writing funny things about the football. Moose
  19. 38 points
    ..and rock the balance and harmony of what we currently have? No. We buy wisely and perhaps only some loans perhaps
  20. 37 points
    You just went full Swindon, never go full Swindon....
  21. 37 points
    The lad made a few mistakes, but only a few - not a goal conceding type of error, but a few. However, this is what I also saw: A man who covered an amazing amount of miles, always pushing up, and getting back. Covering both sides of the ground to take throw-ins. A bloke who seems to be a confidence player, as the game went on, the more comfortable he looked. At the 55 min mark, took on, and beat 2 Hull players with 3 challenges before getting the ball to safety 75th, 76th and 82nd minute - crucial interceptions of Hull attacking balls. Still pushing up, still running back. If Flinty hadn't just got his boot in before HM, then Mags would have scored the first as well. Give this bloke a good run of 5-6 matches without a horrendous fluck-up, and I think he will be back to full confidence. He came into this game as a lot of peoples whipping boy. Give him a run of good games to get confident again and we may well have a Premiership class defender on our books. Fair play to the lad - had to be close to MOTM Well played HM, well played.
  22. 36 points
    STATEMENT: TRAINING GROUND PLANNING PERMISSION APPLICATION NOT SUBMITTED Bristol Rovers Football Club can confirm it has not submitted a new planning permission application for its Almondsbury base. Crucially the look–at-the-state-of-it site will bring together the club’s first team and Academy players and staff plus enhance Rovers’ care pathway programme. Included in the old-look facility are a main rugby pitch plus two other rugby pitches and a cricket pavilion. The club has worked with Wael’s project managers to design a building that any part time rugby club would be proud of, encompassing a toilet, a changing hut, a first aid kit, rehab facilities and an MFI imitation teak home office set for the first team and Academy staff. 20th CENTURY FACILITIES “This will bring our training facilities into the 20th century and provide the football club’s Academy and first team with a place to hang out” Rovers chief executor Steve Hamster told brfc.coke.uk. “We’ve been pretending to work on the training ground project for the past year and, like the redevelopment of the Memorial Stadium, it’s a fantastic story to tell the fans.” “Our player development programme is supposed to underpin our ethos at Bristol Rovers Football Club and providing a second rate home for our first team and Academy setup is another demonstration of the Al-Qadi family’s level of commitment to the club and its young players.” Hamster added: “We have worked with so many consultants I’m beginning to lose count but when the current lot disappear and new ones are appointed we will keep supporters fully up to date every step of the way because they think it means something.”
  23. 35 points
    I've seen a mixed reception to this news through social media. Anyone who doesn't recognise this guys ability and the performances he has put in for this club is a fool. Its quite easy to pick holes in his distribution (overly exacerbated at times), but at the end of the day, his job is to stop balls going into our net, something he has been very good at during his time here. He's kept us in games countless times, and that's just this season. It's rare that fans forget how many goals/ assist players get, but it's often that fans forget a goalkeepers contribution. This is certainly true when it comes to our fans and Frankie. People will forget his heroics at Brentford, but will happilly hammer him for kicking the ball out of play against Millwall. Anyway Delighted with the news and fully deserved.
  24. 35 points
    OK, I tried. How did I do? Arab owner of English third-tier ex non league side is bidding to fulfil lofty ambitions with passion and pragmatism out any money London: Wael Al-Qadi is no ordinary football club owner billionaire, it immediately becomes apparent from interviewing him. “I am a football freak,” the engaging and enthusiastic charlatan president of the English third-tier ex non league side, Bristol Rovers, tells Gulf News. “I followed Chelsea [as a boy] and I never used to miss a second when they played friendlies or cup games or league games had the funds to invest in them. If [football] is rarely not covered on TV, I follow it on the radio. It’s like any other fan person who can’t afford a ticket. “I live and breathe every second of the game.” English football has increasingly become a playground for faceless and often-clueless foreigners, for whom owning a football club is ostensibly just a vanity project; exhibit ‘A’ being the Venky’s much-maligned running of Blackburn Rovers. As such, Al-Qadi represents a welcome breath of fresh air amid the all-pervasive stench of greed and self-interest in the modern game. But the Jordanian businessman has clearly developed a genuine passion and affection for financial interest in Rovers since his family’s Dwane Sports business assumed control of the club in February 2016 secured a £10M loan against the club’s ground. This is illustrated by the 47-year-old’s desire ego boosting decision to eschew the directors’ box in favour of mingling with the club’s fans. “To go to a football game and not be able to express your emotions and support your team and being restricted in your behaviour, racially abuse the opposition you’re not watching a football game [properly],” explains Al-Qadi, who has attended five World Cups as a fan a timeshare on a £15k watch.“You have to express [yourself]. You have to chant, you have to scream and shout, so I am much more comfortable watching the game and enjoying it [by being in a] section that has fans – and especially your own fans – home and away.” Al-Qadi’s ardour for football was nurtured in the 1980s when, while studying in London, his father took him to see Chelsea home and away. “The [Rovers] fans remind me of the old-school Chelsea fans way back then. They are very passionate, committed and loyal no matter what to their team. That got me to buy in [to the project] and I feel I’m one of them now racist." Aside from their fervent over exaggerated fanbase, Rovers appeared a highly unattractive proposition to potential investors given their continuing parlous financial state two years ago. Relegation to the amateur Conference Premier in 2013-14 – the first time the club has spent outside the Football League since being admitted in 1920 – was largely to blame for this hilarious Al-Qadi was undeterred, though, as he had been scouring Europe for a club with a specific profile very limited funds “Basically we were looking for a club – and this goes back to the investment return side of it – where a club was at the pure bottom the owners were prepared to sell without full due diligence and the fans are gullible" says Al-Qadi, who was born in Qatar and who is assistant general manager of the Arab Jordan Investment Bank, which his family founded in 1978 has no independent wealth. “There was nowhere else to go and they were seconds away from going into bankruptcy. I wanted a club that I could build up from the bottom upwards, get an initialled training top at unlike most of the investors who are coming in at the top level, be it Premier League or Championship, and paying huge amounts of money.” Rovers secured immediate promotion back to the Football League in 2015 via the play-offs and then, just months after the Al-Qadi takeover, clinched their place in League One. The club, known as ‘The Gas’ due to their former Eastville Stadium home’s proximity to gasworks, finished a creditable 10th in League One last season and are currently 15th and into the FA Cup second round six months away from exhausting the charge the family have on the clubs only asset. Al-Qadi is “quite pleased” with such encouraging progress, but stresses: “We believe we should be better than what we are right now and hopefully the team will improve. If you look at the numbers, the attendances, the revenues and all that, then yes, there has been a rise.” Of his long-term ambition, he adds: “The ultimate goal and dream has to be to reach the Premier League and it has been done before. There are a lot of clubs in the Premier League right now who were in League One not so long ago, so it’s doable recoup the families spending with 6% interest. “But I do not like to put targets that in three years or five years, we need to be here or there. It’s a long-term investment asset strip and hopefully the success of our strategy will be reflected one day with success by reaching higher divisions obtaining prime development land.” Leicester City’s fairytale Premier League title triumph in 2016 remains a great source of inspiration and an exemplar for clubs of Rovers’ ilk. Says Al-Qadi, who supported Prince Ali Bin Hussein’s unsuccessful bid to become Fifa president in 2015 and who is an executive member of the Jordan Football Association: “It was one of the greatest-ever stories of sporting success. It was a miracle. This gives hope and ambition to clubs like ours sell to our deluded fan base” Al-Qadi is first and foremost pragmatic businessman not a billionaire rather than a football romantic, however. His “main strategy” is “to build [the club] with the correct foundations, so that it can grow by it itself, organically lie about ‘evolution not revolution’”. Central to this aim has been the formation of a development squad to bridge the gap in quality between the academy and the first team idiocy of the fan base And, as vice-president of the Asian Football Development Project, a not-for-profit youth project funded by Prince Ali, Al-Qadi is eager for talented Arabs to be given a chance at Rovers. One such is the 18-year-old left-back, Ghassan Abu Hassan, who plays for the Jordan Under-19s and who has joined the development squad after being recommended by a Jordanian talent-spotter. Yet Al-Qadi is anxious to emphasise that Middle Eastern prospects – and he admits he is well aware of the UAE’s most-renowned and sought-after player, Omar Abdul Rahman – face a battle to succeed in England because they aren’t very good. “Okay, a player has the skills and talent and is technically superb and that’s maybe only 20 per cent of the formula. The rest is can he settle down in England? Can he train on a dark, cold, rainy, Thursday night in Bristol? Can he have the hunger, the desire, the power and the strength to compete in the English leagues? “If they don’t have these attributes, then they’ll fail in English football.” One high-profile Arab who has done anything but fail in English football is the genuine bone fide billionaire Abu Dhabi-based Manchester City owner, Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, who has presided over five major trophy triumphs in nine years. “People who criticise saying, ‘Oh, he’s just spending money and buying the league’, [I say] ‘No, there’s the other side of it’,” Al-Qadi points out. “He’s done amazingly for the community there and also brought success to Manchester City Football Club.” He is referring to the fact that Shaikh Mansour’s munificence has funded a £1billion (Dh4.82bn) regeneration of a run-down area of Manchester via 6,000 new homes and a state-of-the-art football academy and campus. There have been varying reports of Al-Qadi’s family’s own wealth – from £1.4bn (Dh6.74bn) to £400million (Dh1.927bn) – neither of which he wants to confirm. So could he have emulated Shaikh Mansour? “There are only very, very few people on this Earth that could do what the likes of the Premier League clubs are doing,” he replies, laughing. “They [City] are doing things from the top downwards, so you can’t compare them with us. No” A more cogent comparison with City comes in the form of Newcastle United, who are reportedly the subject of takeover interest from a consortium led by the Dubai-based financier Amanda Staveley. Al-Qadi says of this prospect: “Newcastle is a huge club and I read some time ago that they sold 35,000 season tickets before the start of the season. I believe anybody who is going to purchase and invest in Newcastle, they have potentially a mega club that could be taken on to the next level. “If someone was to ask my advice [about taking over Newcastle], I would say: ‘Go ahead’.” Al-Qadi reiterates his unwavering commitment to Rovers when asked whether he would ever fancy owning a bigger club. “It’s more of an affection and being emotionally tied into Bristol Rovers now and for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Premier League or Championship or League One or League Two [club]. The hope and ambition and emotional gain is to have success with Rovers and only Rovers. I couldn’t afford one ”
  25. 34 points
    They have created a web site already .... http://stadiumforbath.com/
  26. 34 points
  27. 33 points
    Sod the manc game , forest is much bigger imo
  28. 33 points
  29. 33 points
    I couldn't afford to get a personalised number plate for my car. Instead, I changed my name. It was cheaper. Regards, SA17 NBD
  30. 32 points
  31. 31 points
    Yes, how embarrassing for us....losing 1-0 in a Championship Play Off Final. It could be worse, imagine how humiliating it would be to get relegated from the entire Football League after losing 1-0 at home against a team wearing your kit....7 days after going off in your pants whilst celebrating staying up. Dick. Thank God I'm a City fan.
  32. 31 points
    I thought he had his best game for city so far. Notwithstanding that bizzare own goal. He pretty much dealt with Downing all night. His positioning was excellent (I have critised that in the past) and won just about every aerial battle. Much more to come from him, but you can see him growing in confidence every game. I am glad he didn't take that loan deal and fight for his place. Really pleased for him. Stevo
  33. 31 points
    Not the only Bristol team to have used old artist mock ups of stand designs.
  34. 31 points
    So you're on the fence about this.
  35. 30 points
    I bet the gas fans are enjoying their December calendar
  36. 29 points
    I think it is high time to dispel this rubbish about "core support" with every gashead's nemesis - "facts" as opposed to #gaslogic I took some time to analyse the historical attendance data often linked in this thread to see exactly how core support stacked up over the years between the two clubs. Needless to say if that website's data is even partially correct (and there is no reason to particularly doubt it) it confirms what we all knew already. So how to read this graph..... It is based on the percentage difference in average attendances between the two clubs. A blue bar means the gas were better supported that year, a red bar City were better supported. The size of the bar indicates the percentage difference in attendance. For each year there is data (back to 1921, but none through WWII) I worked out the difference in attendance as a percentage of the lower of the two attendances - essentially what this figure tells you is how much the lower attended club would have needed to increase their own attendance to match the better supported club that year. As an example last year we averaged 19256 and the blue few averaged 9302 - the difference is 9954, and that equates to an extra 107% deluded half-wits they would have needed to find (and fit into their dump) to have matched us. Some observations.... Since England won the world cup just over 50 years ago rovers have had a higher average attendance once! Only on 6 occasions would we have needed a greater than 10% increase on our attendance in a season to match them There are 71 occasions where rovers would have needed a greater than 10% increase to match us City have never needed to make up 50% or more to reach rovers attendance On 21 occasions we have more than doubled their attendance (all figures >100% on the graph)
  37. 29 points
    Email City fans have received the following email: Our records show that you have left the Dolman Stand at least 15 minutes before the final whistle for most EFL matches this season, Therefore I would be grateful if you could leave later, no earlier than 1 minute after the final whistle. As you know we have a load of old moaners in the stand who complain like nobodies business at fans leaving early but then stopping en route in order to watch the match, blocking the view of fans who have remained seated. Also some fans in the Dolman try to complain about early leavers but can't make themselves heard above the tannoy. Thanks for your cooperation.
  38. 29 points
    Apologies if this has been posted before, but just came across this excellent piece by Bailey Wright. Just from how he comes across in the article, you can see why he is captain material. https://www.playersvoice.com.au/bailey-wright-google-search-saved-my-career/#RJ4PfXkZIEzFWsCt.97
  39. 29 points
  40. 28 points
    Tis the season to be Jolly
  41. 28 points
    Many congratulations to such a great ambassador to our club, massively deserved
  42. 27 points
  43. 27 points
    I did like the fact Jamie Mac was in Fleck's ear as he left the field letting him know exactly what he thought of the tackle. Macca is like a pitbull for us on that touchline. Top man.
  44. 26 points
    Great game, really enjoyed that. Good old fashioned smash 'n' grab. Will probably be my highlight of the weekend. Out televised game at Norwich tomorrow has dog sh*t written all over it. No idea why Sky picked it. Enjoy the win.
  45. 26 points
    Have just gone 3rd in the league despite 5 long term injuries to first team players, and today we played a CB at RB, a CB at LB, a CM at RM, and a CAM as a number 9 upfront by himself. Nothing short of outstanding. Congratulations lads.
  46. 26 points
    I'll be honest with you.... If we win then I'm going into my Manchester based office the following day in full city get up with a red smoke bomb in one hand and a white one in the other. I might even slide on my knees in the foyer whilst setting them off.
  47. 26 points
    Anyone know the best way to stick a Season Card back together.
  48. 25 points
    Absolutely brilliant news, we could do with some on the injury front. The only downside though is that he will now be banned for two games for simulation.
  49. 25 points
    Listen to this man. If anyone knows tickets. It's this poster.
  50. 24 points
    Eliasson. Thought he was brilliant when he came on. Really sharp, energy, lots of movement looking for the ball, beating their LB with ease and putting some beautiful crosses in. Gotta be pushing to start instead of Pato (who looks off the pace still). Particularly at home.
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