Promising season ahead for Lee Johnson and Bristol Cityby Mike Holden / 07 August 2017, 12:52Tweet
Lee Johnson put his foot down on the accelerator last season then lost control of the steering wheel, as Bristol City slumped to 11 defeats in 12 matches following the October international break. Prior to that, they had been looking comfortable in the top six. Owner Steve Lansdown stayed patient and was eventually repaid as the Robins extinguished serious relegation concerns with an impressive late flourish. Senegal striker Famara Diedhiou arrives from Angers, the latest wild card to emerge from the manager’s impressive personal scouting network.
Johnson is an enigmatic brainstormer, a bright innovator with an unquenchable thirst for new ideas and potential avenues of inspiration. So far, though, the execution has failed to justify the intelligence, possibly due to a lack of continuity and consistency. He’s like the scatty inventor, always on the lookout for a major breakthrough but with a tendency to leap from one thing to the next, in a way that some players might find unsettling. He is also a keen contacts man and one of his biggest mentors is Kenny Dalglish.
"I think the single biggest lesson from last season was the need to get that clarity, that simplicity, that repetition across to the players – particularly for this group because they're quite young. We chucked together a lot of new players and personalities and, at times, maybe we overcooked it and overcomplicated it. We can’t compete with the real big fish. We’re doing everything we can to sign those young, hungry footballers we can grow together with, nurture and try to be successful with."
Bristol City are a progressive club and Johnson is the kind of progressive manager they need to bridge their budget deficit on most of the division. His tenure has been a rollercoaster but their chances of hooping the distant peg and bringing Premier League football to Ashton Gate would arguably be reduced under a safe pair of hands. The stadium is looking resplendent since renovations and the Robins now look like the big club they’ve always professed to be. This season should be less turbulent, building on last.