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Why Steve Lansdown doesn’t quite ‘ get it ‘


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Mark Ashton was clear that fans shouldn't get sentimentality attached to players as the moment the right offer comes in they'll be sold.

And in the past, SL was accused be some of chopping and changing managers too quickly.

All told, owning a football club seems to be a thankless task that costs a fortune and there is no formula for success, some just get lucky and stumble across it.

You can look down the divisions and see countless* clubs who have had a season or two in the top flight and are now floundering, would you trade places?

*It's a perfectly countable number, I just can't be bothered counting them.

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34 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

Loyalty is a quality in life . A foundation  that one can build a future on and SL has it in spades . However when that loyalty is blind to the facts then it just becomes a sort of folly.

How many loyal people have been mistreated by a partner that cheats on them by abusing the trust ? 
 

I quote SL ,

’ "You build a team, you build a team that you trust, you build a team that are real mates together - even now that [Bristol City] team [of 1976] still comes back and spends time here at Aston Gate when they can-  and it’s that magic moment when it comes together," explained Lansdown before the recent 125 year club celebrations.‘

The man , in essence, is right but he’s talking about the industry over forty years ago, times change .

The ‘ churn ‘ of players was less important than today where one good season and a player is off .

It is like trying to build your house on sand for a coach so results need to be almost immediate or either he gets the boot or his best players get sold under his nose .

SL trusts his ‘ team ‘ but are the facts being coloured by this loyalty to them ? As they say ‘ none so blind as those who cannot see ‘ .

 He needs to step back and analyse where we are now and where we are likely to be in the next few years.
 

I fear that he is too emotionally attached to certain individuals and needs to decide really what he wants from the club and communicate this to the supporters. We were told the Prem was the goal , he has backed his coach with the signings but it is now looking difficult for us to achieve a playoff place let alone win them. Result , huge disappointment and unrest . 

Have we advanced ? Are we any closer to the Prem ? 

I may risk  a BigTone condensed version by writing ‘ Johnson Out ‘ but it goes deeper than that . It is SL who ,whilst doing great things for this club , perhaps needs to step out of his comfort zone if he honestly wants a Prem football club at Bristol. 
 

I think it is impossible to second guess what Lansdown’s mood is at the moment and how he will react.  I certainly don’t think he will stick with LJ for the sake of it and will need to be convinced that the end goal is being progressed towards.  LJ has produced progress to that goal throughout his time here up until now so this is the first time that Lansdown has had to seriously consider anything. There is no way he will do anything until the season is over so we will just have to wait and see. 

One thing is for sure; Steve Lansdown is not an idiot so there is no reason to think he isn’t as frustrated as fans at the moment 

Edited by And Its Smith
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I think he'll stick with him, unless we show real signs of going backwards.

This season has been 'different' and despite our performance against Blackburn, we are still in with a shout of the play offs.

Add to that the players coming back from loan and SL might be expecting a cheap summer.

Only thing that might change, is if another club wants to speak to LJ, there might not be as much resistance as, say, 2 years ago.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Bristol Rob said:

Mark Ashton was clear that fans shouldn't get sentimentality attached to players as the moment the right offer comes in they'll be sold.

And in the past, SL was accused be some of chopping and changing managers too quickly.

All told, owning a football club seems to be a thankless task that costs a fortune and there is no formula for success, some just get lucky and stumble across it.

You can look down the divisions and see countless* clubs who have had a season or two in the top flight and are now floundering, would you trade places?

*It's a perfectly countable number, I just can't be bothered counting them.

I would take ‘ a season or two ‘ in the top flight and I would , equally, trust SL to protect the future of the club in the event of slipping back into the second division. 
 

What I question is blind loyalty over cold hard facts .
 

It must be comforting sitting in his chateau in Guernsey knowing that his son , LJ and Ashton are running the show . Why rock the boat ? Does he need the hassle and potential upset of a change ?

With that team at Ashton Gate he can pretty much guarantee year on year Championship football with the occasional cup run thrown in so why worry ?

Well , I’ll let the fox into the henhouse, in this industry if you’re not moving forward then you’re going backwards and that momentum is very hard to halt. 
I’ll throw in Ipswich as an example. 

I hope when the season ends that a full review will be done and any decisions taken on the globality of the club performance ,  not just the first team promotion or not as the case may be , in the cold light of day and without emotion.

 

Edited by Major Isewater
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18 minutes ago, And Its Smith said:

I think it is impossible to second guess what Lansdown’s mood is at the moment and how he will react.  I certainly don’t think he will stick with LJ for the sake of it and will need to be convinced that the end goal is being progressed towards.  LJ has produced progress to that goal throughout his time here up until now so this is the first time that Lansdown has had to seriously consider anything. There is no way he will do anything until the season is over so we will just have to wait and see. 

One thing is for sure; Steve Lansdown is not an idiot so there is no reason to think he isn’t as frustrated as fans at the moment 

I agree in most part with your post except I well remember a red faced , distraught and sweating Steve Lansdown appearing in an interview defending LJ’s record breaking run of losses so it’s not the first time he’s had to ‘ seriously consider anything ‘ .

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Steve Lansdown, although a fantastic businessman and has pumped a lot into our club which I thank him for has his flaws.

1. Selling players season on season. It is not sustainable every season to do this, taking a gamble every time. I thought Lansdown had the money so we don't need to constantly sell.

2. He wants to create a financially sustainable club. Not possible in todays era, especially now after Covid-19, I think this is a great idea made up, but not properly thought through.

3. He chooses Managers he likes other than what is best for the club. Steve Cotterill aside, I think he has been pally with every Manager we have had really, which has held the club back.

4. The fans are being ripped off. Our prices compared to other clubs at this level are a joke in honesty. Lower the prices = More fans turning up, more working class fans turning up who can create an atmosphere. Means more money going into the club.

5. The structure of where fans are positioned in the stadium is poor and creates a bad atmosphere. City fans should be allocated in the Atyeo stand. Away fans in a corner of the Dolman. Like Norwich City.

That's my Lansdown 5 pillars of failure.

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7 minutes ago, 2015 said:

Steve Lansdown, although a fantastic businessman and has pumped a lot into our club which I thank him for has his flaws.

1. Selling players season on season. It is not sustainable every season to do this, taking a gamble every time. I thought Lansdown had the money so we don't need to constantly sell.

FFP

2. He wants to create a financially sustainable club. Not possible in todays era, especially now after Covid-19, I think this is a great idea made up, but not properly thought through.

Blame FFP, SL has always back his managers/club, but his hands are tied. Do you not think Stoke wouldn't have invested their way out of trouble if they could?

3. He chooses Managers he likes other than what is best for the club. Steve Cotterill aside, I think he has been pally with every Manager we have had really, which has held the club back.

Clearly, you will appoint someone you like/think you can work with. This is true of all industries. Cotterell aside, which previously appointed manager would you have NOT appointed, and who would you have appointed instead?

4. The fans are being ripped off. Our prices compared to other clubs at this level are a joke in honesty. Lower the prices = More fans turning up, more working class fans turning up who can create an atmosphere. Means more money going into the club.

Football isn't a cheap sport to follow, but the club have some good family/kids deals, and there are a range of different prices available throughout the ground. What clubs (that get similar investment to us) are hugely better value?

5. The structure of where fans are positioned in the stadium is poor and creates a bad atmosphere. City fans should be allocated in the Atyeo stand. Away fans in a corner of the Dolman. Like Norwich City.

Not sure how that would work, you wouldn't really have the room for both sets of fans to leave the stadium safely, although there is an argument for using the Atyeo once other areas are full, and they do.

That's my Lansdown 5 pillars of failure.

Just to play devils advocate...

I've embedded my thoughts.

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Not so long ago, we were very much a yo-yo club between the Championship and League 1. Personally, I believe we are now an established Championship club and don't see any danger in us being relegated any time soon. So in that respect "the plan" is definitely working.

The question is, will that plan take us to the next level?

If the belief within the club is yes it will, then for me LJ is a perfect fit.

If however, the belief within the club is that a different plan needs to be in place to get us there, then LJ may need to be sacrificed.

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1 hour ago, Major Isewater said:

Loyalty is a quality in life . A foundation  that one can build a future on and SL has it in spades . However when that loyalty is blind to the facts then it just becomes a sort of folly.

How many loyal people have been mistreated by a partner that cheats on them by abusing the trust ? 
 

I quote SL ,

’ "You build a team, you build a team that you trust, you build a team that are real mates together - even now that [Bristol City] team [of 1976] still comes back and spends time here at Aston Gate when they can-  and it’s that magic moment when it comes together," explained Lansdown before the recent 125 year club celebrations.‘

The man , in essence, is right but he’s talking about the industry over forty years ago, times change .

The ‘ churn ‘ of players was less important than today where one good season and a player is off .

It is like trying to build your house on sand for a coach so results need to be almost immediate or either he gets the boot or his best players get sold under his nose .

SL trusts his ‘ team ‘ but are the facts being coloured by this loyalty to them ? As they say ‘ none so blind as those who cannot see ‘ .

 He needs to step back and analyse where we are now and where we are likely to be in the next few years.
 

I fear that he is too emotionally attached to certain individuals and needs to decide really what he wants from the club and communicate this to the supporters. We were told the Prem was the goal , he has backed his coach with the signings but it is now looking difficult for us to achieve a playoff place let alone win them. Result , huge disappointment and unrest . 

Have we advanced ? Are we any closer to the Prem ? 

I may risk  a BigTone condensed version by writing ‘ Johnson Out ‘ but it goes deeper than that . It is SL who ,whilst doing great things for this club , perhaps needs to step out of his comfort zone if he honestly wants a Prem football club at Bristol. 
 

 

What I've highlighted in bold. The last time I seen a team described as that. Was the League One promotion side. Who are all still very much close friends today. I'd like to think that is thanks to Cotterill and the Botswana trip. 

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28 minutes ago, 2015 said:

Steve Lansdown, although a fantastic businessman and has pumped a lot into our club which I thank him for has his flaws.

1. Selling players season on season. It is not sustainable every season to do this, taking a gamble every time. I thought Lansdown had the money so we don't need to constantly sell.

2. He wants to create a financially sustainable club. Not possible in todays era, especially now after Covid-19, I think this is a great idea made up, but not properly thought through.

3. He chooses Managers he likes other than what is best for the club. Steve Cotterill aside, I think he has been pally with every Manager we have had really, which has held the club back.

4. The fans are being ripped off. Our prices compared to other clubs at this level are a joke in honesty. Lower the prices = More fans turning up, more working class fans turning up who can create an atmosphere. Means more money going into the club.

5. The structure of where fans are positioned in the stadium is poor and creates a bad atmosphere. City fans should be allocated in the Atyeo stand. Away fans in a corner of the Dolman. Like Norwich City.

That's my Lansdown 5 pillars of failure.

This post probably shows why he owns a football club and you don’t! 

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1 hour ago, Major Isewater said:

I would take ‘ a season or two ‘ in the top flight and I would , equally, trust SL to protect the future of the club in the event of slipping back into the second division. 
 

What I question is blind loyalty over cold hard facts .
 

It must be comforting sitting in his chateau in Guernsey knowing that his son , LJ and Ashton are running the show . Why rock the boat ? Does he need the hassle and potential upset of a change ?

With that team at Ashton Gate he can pretty much guarantee year on year Championship football with the occasional cup run thrown in so why worry ?

Well , I’ll let the fox into the henhouse, in this industry if you’re not moving forward then you’re going backwards and that momentum is very hard to halt. 
I’ll throw in Ipswich as an example. 

I hope when the season ends that a full review will be done and any decisions taken on the globality of the club performance ,  not just the first team promotion or not as the case may be , in the cold light of day and without emotion.

 

You have stated what many people ignore or don't even consider.

That going up is very difficult but going down is so easy it is often ignored when your club is scrapping to get in the end of season play off fiasco.

A poor run now, with a new season possibly only a few weeks after the last match and how do you start well with confidence among the squad shattered?

A bad start and bottom five after ten games and a club is already staring at a gloomy end in May.

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6 minutes ago, Redpool said:

 

What I've highlighted in bold. The last time I seen a team described as that. Was the League One promotion side. Who are all still very much close friends today. I'd like to think that is thanks to Cotterill and the Botswana trip. 

True to a point, but if someone is a nob and gets up the collective noses of those they work with, they'd still be doing that with or without Botswana.

I would guess Botswana, plus likeable personalities, plus a title AND a Wembley win all contributed to a shared experience that group look back on fondly.

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I think probably the best way forward for both parties is to set a goal for the end of next season.

In LJ's case, its got to be the playoffs at the very least. If that isn't attained, then like Wilson after that final defeat to Brighton; there will have to be a mutual parting of the ways.

The feeling from the fans, and the performances on the pitch at the moment is eerily familiar to the last season of GJ.

We must be careful to not be on a downward trajectory that we can't stop. Just like 10 years ago.

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12 minutes ago, ncnsbcfc said:

I think probably the best way forward for both parties is to set a goal for the end of next season.

In LJ's case, its got to be the playoffs at the very least. If that isn't attained, then like Wilson after that final defeat to Brighton; there will have to be a mutual parting of the ways.

The feeling from the fans, and the performances on the pitch at the moment is eerily familiar to the last season of GJ.

We must be careful to not be on a downward trajectory that we can't stop. Just like 10 years ago.

Has the target not been playoffs for the past two seasons? Seems a bit pointless setting the targets at all really. 

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It’s great SL’s got a team he can trust but a shame LJ didn’t last week.

Based on the report of JL/MA/LJ being the triumvirate of the club then LJ’s role as HC can’t be properly assessed or scrutinised unless there’s a genuine threat of relegation.


It’s likely the pain of last relegation to L1 still lingers heavy on the ownership and influences the cautious leadership - Its likely SL is risk averse and happy to play the slow & steady game with LJ.

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1 hour ago, marcofisher said:

Has the target not been playoffs for the past two seasons? Seems a bit pointless setting the targets at all really. 

Don't confuse target with minimum requirements.

A target is something to aspire to.  Minimum requirements are the least acceptable outcome.

If we miss out this season then I think SL has to ditch Lee.  He set the play-offs as a minimum requirement this year and I would be disappointed if he used Covid-19 as a get out clause for that.  And I've always been a big advocate for LJ, but I am starting to wonder if the partnership has gone as far as it can. 

What concerns me is that LJ's passion for the club is evident.  He is a fan (bearing in mind he didn't say in one place growing up to build an attachment to anyone else), and I would struggle to find many examples of success where a fan has taken over their club.  Locally, you look at Skeletor and Tinman (who developed a massive love for us).  You're too emotionally invested to sometimes see what's in front of you.  You expect everyone to have the same passion as you, and unfortunately that's not going to be the case. 

Barring a massive turnaround or a lack of viable alternatives, then Lee's tenure could be coming to an end.

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3 hours ago, Major Isewater said:

Loyalty is a quality in life . A foundation  that one can build a future on and SL has it in spades . However when that loyalty is blind to the facts 

 

The "facts" are:

1. Two points off the target, a play-off spot (turning a blind eye for a moment to GD and the number of other clubs within one win of sixth place)

2. Eight games left to play, three points for a win, 8 × 3 = 24.

3. We can still make the play-offs

3 hours ago, Major Isewater said:

 

 He needs to step back and analyse where we are now 
 

We are where we are, or, using the "facts" I can say more specifically:  We are two points behind 6th placed Preston with 8 games left to play, including Preston at home. 

3 hours ago, Major Isewater said:

 

How many loyal people have been mistreated by a partner that cheats on them by abusing the trust ? 
 

I'm sorry, I don't have the facts for this.

 

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SL needs to ask himself one thing, would another manager be more likely to get better out of this group of players. 

Yes - sack. 
No - keep. 
 

Simple really. No even the most fervent of LJ supporters could suggest that we’re seeing anything even near 60% of their ability. 

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I think Lj was integral to getting SL's sustainability plan up and running, as SL needed a coach/manager prepared to buy into it ( as compared to SC) . Also, and in fairness, LJ was a pretty well regarded young manager at the time he took over as head coach here.

SL's loyalty, even at the worst times over the last 4/5 years was to provide the stability we have too often lacked in the past ( knee jerk sackings and always going backwards as a result) and that was needed if the strategy was to be able to work. I think that loyalty was vindicated.

The issue now, as I see it, is whether the club's financial strategy is a means to an end or an end in itself.

If the latter, then with SL's attachment to the Johnson family there is a danger that LJ will be retained - come what may.

If the former, i.e. sustainability is to keep the club within ffp limits but still being competitive and looking to challenge for promotion, then surely we are fast approaching the point where SL will have to make a judgement call as to whether LJ can not just work with the  sustainability plan, but can take us a step further than he currently seems capable.

Edited by downendcity
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My second question would be...

 

If we kept LJ for the whole of next season, in which league would we more likely be playing our football for the 21/22 season: league one or premiership?

Sadly, it’s isn’t Premiership. 

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3 hours ago, Major Isewater said:

I agree in most part with your post except I well remember a red faced , distraught and sweating Steve Lansdown appearing in an interview defending LJ’s record breaking run of losses so it’s not the first time he’s had to ‘ seriously consider anything ‘ .

He was red faced because he wanted Johnson out himself. I say this as someone who had an aquaintance at the very core of the inner circle, and although SL would obviously have the final say on anything major, he is a man who believes any big decisions should be unanimous across the board of directors. Steve Lansdown would have pulled the trigger during that run of defeats, except a certain Mr. Dawe was adamant he wanted him to stay.

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1 minute ago, The Horse With No Name said:

He was red faced because he wanted Johnson out himself. I say this as someone who had an aquaintance at the very core of the inner circle, and although SL would obviously have the final say on anything major, he is a man who believes any big decisions should be unanimous across the board of directors. Steve Lansdown would have pulled the trigger during that run of defeats, except a certain Mr. Dawe was adamant he wanted him to stay.

Then there is hope .

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42 minutes ago, Fordy62 said:

My second question would be...

 

If we kept LJ for the whole of next season, in which league would we more likely be playing our football for the 21/22 season: league one or premiership?

Sadly, it’s isn’t Premiership. 

What about the Premier League ?!

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4 hours ago, Major Isewater said:

Loyalty is a quality in life . A foundation  that one can build a future on and SL has it in spades . However when that loyalty is blind to the facts then it just becomes a sort of folly.

How many loyal people have been mistreated by a partner that cheats on them by abusing the trust ? 
 

I quote SL ,

’ "You build a team, you build a team that you trust, you build a team that are real mates together - even now that [Bristol City] team [of 1976] still comes back and spends time here at Aston Gate when they can-  and it’s that magic moment when it comes together," explained Lansdown before the recent 125 year club celebrations.‘

The man , in essence, is right but he’s talking about the industry over forty years ago, times change .

The ‘ churn ‘ of players was less important than today where one good season and a player is off .

It is like trying to build your house on sand for a coach so results need to be almost immediate or either he gets the boot or his best players get sold under his nose .

SL trusts his ‘ team ‘ but are the facts being coloured by this loyalty to them ? As they say ‘ none so blind as those who cannot see ‘ .

 He needs to step back and analyse where we are now and where we are likely to be in the next few years.
 

I fear that he is too emotionally attached to certain individuals and needs to decide really what he wants from the club and communicate this to the supporters. We were told the Prem was the goal , he has backed his coach with the signings but it is now looking difficult for us to achieve a playoff place let alone win them. Result , huge disappointment and unrest . 

Have we advanced ? Are we any closer to the Prem ? 

I may risk  a BigTone condensed version by writing ‘ Johnson Out ‘ but it goes deeper than that . It is SL who ,whilst doing great things for this club , perhaps needs to step out of his comfort zone if he honestly wants a Prem football club at Bristol. 
 

I think you will find his focus is on rugby, as there he can see how a Bristol team can become English champions and most probably European champions. That is never going to happen with the football.

 

For the football he is clearly happy letting it bumble along , it's a very matey set up, they all talk a great game between them. As long as we are not near relegation, he seems happy to let it take its own course. Promotion is not the priority, and most certainly football entertainment does not count. So if they carry on as they are, he seems happy. That the fanbase is losing interest and belief seems secondary right now. On some levels you cannot blame him. On others you wonder why he bothered in the first place. The approach to the rugby project and football could not be more different. 

His money, he can do what he wants. And he is.

So as much as a good number are totally perplexed by LJ, there are others, a number on here too, who think he is a big talent. SL is one of them . So that is where we are. 

Edited by billywedlock
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3 hours ago, 2015 said:

Steve Lansdown, although a fantastic businessman and has pumped a lot into our club which I thank him for has his flaws.

Quote

1. Selling players season on season. It is not sustainable every season to do this, taking a gamble every time. I thought Lansdown had the money so we don't need to constantly sell.

FFP. Though I'm not fully sure we needed to sell both Pack and Brownhill in the same season as Webster. I was hoping Webster would be the only notable sale in all honesty. Not that I wanted him to go of course!, but selling notable players is a fact of life in this League!

Quote

2. He wants to create a financially sustainable club. Not possible in todays era, especially now after Covid-19, I think this is a great idea made up, but not properly thought through.

If anything I'd look at this one, post Covid-19 and think the EFL should look to double down on FFP regs. Maybe they should be strengthened in the years to come? Salary caps another possibility in the coming years.

Quote

3. He chooses Managers he likes other than what is best for the club. Steve Cotterill aside, I think he has been pally with every Manager we have had really, which has held the club back.

Unsure about that. Cotts had his flaws too, in his final 6 months or so.

Quote

4. The fans are being ripped off. Our prices compared to other clubs at this level are a joke in honesty. Lower the prices = More fans turning up, more working class fans turning up who can create an atmosphere. Means more money going into the club.

I'd be interested to see a comparison. Fact is, English football is overpriced generally I'd argue. 2017, cost me less to get a day ticket to Roma-inter in the Olimpico, than it might for a one off trip to AG. That Roma side got to the CL semis that year.

Quote

5. The structure of where fans are positioned in the stadium is poor and creates a bad atmosphere. City fans should be allocated in the Atyeo stand. Away fans in a corner of the Dolman. Like Norwich City.

Yeah don't necessarily disagree with that. Better yet, top of the Lansdown subject to minimum allocation regs as a %, further away from the pitch- less voice!

 

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Just to throw this into the mix is it really fair for SLl to expect a year on year improvement in league position , if LJ is under the considerable constraint that if a decent offer comes in for any player they will be sold.

Under these conditions my gripe is not so much about league position more about our style of play and complete lack of entertainment/excitement.

This has been going on for 18 months and is slowly sucking the life out of our club.

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2 minutes ago, Abraham Romanovich said:

Just to throw this into the mix is it really fair for SLl to expect a year on year improvement in league position , if LJ is under the considerable constraint that if a decent offer comes in for any player they will be sold.

Under these conditions my gripe is not so much about league position more about our style of play and complete lack of entertainment/excitement.

This has been going on for 18 months and is slowly sucking the life out of our club.

Player sales happen at every club that’s the name of the game.

Concerning ‘ style ‘ what was once a thing of high pressing , attacking without fear beauty it is now uglier than a day old road kill.

 

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6 hours ago, Bristol Rob said:

All told, owning a football club seems to be a thankless task that costs a fortune and there is no formula for success, some just get lucky and stumble across it.

You can look down the divisions and see countless* clubs who have had a season or two in the top flight and are now floundering, would you trade places?

*It's a perfectly countable number, I just can't be bothered counting them.

For everyone one of them, there’s a Matt Benham (Brentford) or Tony Bloom (Brighton) who actually do have a clear plan with traditionally smaller clubs and get it right. Those individuals also don’t wear rose-tinted glasses and are far more ruthless than SL will ever be.

As I’ve always said about SL, he’ll be remembered as a wonderful benefactor to the City but a shit decision-maker when it comes to football managers. He’s done nothing to prove that theory wrong.

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