A results business
Ben Fisher gives big thanks to Keith Millen but wants a manager who can fulfil City's potential.
Last Updated: 05/10/11 12:04pm
Keith Millen left Ashton Gate after a wretched start to the season following a humiliating defeat at Blackpool last Saturday; there was only one result for him as City manager having won just one game in ten. Millen no doubt would have carried on, however, for me his position was more or less untenable with growing anger and frustration more than anything from the terraces.
A big thank you to Keith who has been a great servant to the club and that must not be forgotten now he has ended his 12 year spell. Millen has performed as a player, assistant to former boss Gary Johnson and as a caretaker manager. However, the Londoner hasn't been able to transform what were somewhat remarkable spells as a caretaker manager into getting the results as a permanent day-to-day manager.
Unfortunately for Keith it is a results business and the table doesn't lie. But fans must not forget the service Millen has given and some comments and remarks have been totally unfair regarding his tenure as boss. He didn't appear to have the player support and backing that Championship football demands and the players have let the manager down by simply under-performing.
The contrasting argument to that is, City had dominated games for large spells but hadn't come away with the points and that is what has cost Millen his job. Against Reading, the three points should have been sewn up but they didn't come, again. Blackpool was a different story and it put the nail in the coffin for Millen who could only look on as his side and a lot of his signings capitulated in the North-West.
Ever since a rollercoaster journey under Gary Johnson, who took little Bristol City one game away from Premier League football, the expectations have risen dramatically at Ashton Gate. And rightly so. Bristol as a city deserves Premier League football and with an ambitious owner in Steve Lansdown, that's the direction everyone wants to see the club move into.
But it has failed to materialise. Too many signings in recent years haven't come off and the performances have dragged us down to the foot of the Championship. Lansdown clearly wants top flight football at Bristol, who doesn't? But are we really good enough to make that step-up. At the moment we are a million miles away from it but what is really expected of any new manager?
This squad is talented, there is a mix of experience and youth and I for one would like to see us challenging at the right end of the table. We have goals in us in the shape of Nicky Maynard and fans' favourite Brett Pitman. Experience in the build of former England goalkeeper David James and even fringe players Jon Stead, Kalifa Cisse and Nicky Hunt boast Premier League experience on their CV.
So it's a big job, a manager has to come in and get the results to firstly get us out of the mire we are currently in. And then push on towards the top of the table where the owner, board, players and fans all long to be. It's a tough job but that is now the huge expectation at the Gate.
Plenty of names have already been banded around following Millen's departure although I for one wouldn't fancy the bookies' favourite and former Cardiff boss Dave Jones as our man. I recognise him as a great manager but we haven't got big money for new players or him.
I am concerned that, despite chairman Colin Sexstone claiming 'we are Bristol City and won't make any knee-jerk decisions', that we might gift David James his first spell in management. James is a great keeper still today and has taken his fair amount of flak this season for underperforming. But the whole squad has, just because he has a wealth of experience doesn't mean he is immune from having a difficult spell too, does it.
Our new man has to come in and get these talented players to express themselves like they can. The squad is more or less there in my opinion, there is undoubted Championship quality in every position and we now seek a manager who can get the best out of players. Which leads me to Bristolian and former Rovers manager, Ian Holloway, who certainly would generate confidence and energy to Ashton Gate and the players themselves.
Sean O'Driscoll is another name although experience is important at the moment and I don't see a Karl Robinson or another inexperienced manager being able to contend with the current situation and get us away from the relegation zone. I'm glad I don't have to make the call, because our next appointment as Bristol City manager is huge.