"...this is the most articulate and accurate piece written about the club for years!" - Tales from the Front, http://www.otib.co.uk/

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Bristol City's cup underfloweth

In his first post of the season, Stu Radnedge returns to The Exiled Robin with a take on City's latest cup failure

"Always believe ­- two words that should resonate with the Ashton Gate faithful.
I’m sure we can all recall that match where we sunk in our red plastic or wooden seat in the BS3 side of Bristol thinking ‘it can’t get any worse than this’. I’m not even going to begin this, the first of my blog contributions to The Exiled Robin this season, by saying that was how I felt on Tuesday night when I witnessed one of those performances.
Put simply we didn’t look like we wanted it and the Gills, put simply again, did. Our visiting opposition did their travelling supporters proud. Credit where it is due, they took the game to us – in our back yard!
Now I am not a scaremonger, and am known to always back my team through thick and thin. But what is a concern is, when will we break that City tradition?
Not the goal scoring in the first round of the cup one, as big Marv corrected that by bagging the consolation goal last night (City had previously failed to get on the score sheet in three years of first round exits, so I was reliably informed on the night!). The tradition I am talking about is not being able to raise our game against the, dare I say it, teams we are expected to beat?
Take a look at last season. The double over Southampton, who won the league, is an achievement for any team. But we struggle against the teams who everyone expects us to turn over. Why is this?
Del has my upmost faith and I genuinely believe our exit from the cup is nothing to write home concerned about. But I was hoping that tradition of not being able to raise our game and meet expectation was something of a forgotten nightmare. I seem to recall watching us play an F.A Cup match on terrestrial TV when I was 15 (ahem, 12 years ago) which had gone to a 2nd or 3rd round replay.
I think we scraped through, but my point is you can only compete against the team opposite you. And teams in leagues lower than us will be raising their game when they play us.
Reading Del’s comment in the programme (about understanding the importance of a cup-run) made me hope that this first round exit tradition of the last few years, was about to be broken. But that was not to be.
Just like before, I’m not going to write this and pin-point players that played below par. That’s not going to help anyone. But there were players there that need to have a long hard think about what they want out of the season.
All I, and I imagine other fans, want is to have a team that is proud to pull on that shirt, walk out the tunnel, and perform for the club and the fans that adore this team and always believe.
On a positive note, hopefully Del has a clearer view of what the starting line-up should be on Saturday when the season kicks off properly.
Until then…"
Thanks to Stu for his latest post, many a sentiment I'm sure we all share.

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