Thanks for the memories, Steve Cotterill!by Steve Chambers / 15 January 2016, 11:24Tweet
Lifelong Bristol City fan and Racing Editor at @UKBettingNews Steve Chambers reacts to the latest goings on at Ashton Gate...
Whatever you think of the now ex-Bristol City manager, he provided one of the finest seasons in the history of the Robins, as they steamrollered League One rivals en route to third-tier glory last season, whilst a Johnstone's Paint Trophy success over Walsall at Wembley was just the icing on the cake for a season that will live long in the memory.
However, Cotterill's over-ambition has been his ultimate downfall, whilst his strained relationship with the fans boiled over with ugly scenes in Tuesday night's defeat to Preston North End, with the 51-year-old's vitriolic outburst at a supporter in the Atyeo Stand likely to have put the final nail in his managerial sacking coffin.
Cotterill was certainly a slow burner at Ashton Gate, as I for one questioned his appointment at BS3, but as he cherry picked the premier players of League One he orchestrated a side that was of Kevin Keegan ilk, where he adopted the playing tactics of "we're going to score one more than you".
Yet whilst the red side of Bristol all emerged for an open top bus parade around the city on the May Day Bank Holiday, the cracks were begining to open behind the scenes, as Cotterill had his sights on some ludicrously expensive signings and put all his eggs into one over-priced basket.
You can tell in the early part of the summer that Cotterill's thoughts were firmly on bringing in proven talent, but ludicrous Â£9m bids for Crystal Palace's Dwight Gayle and Brentford's Andre Gray were never going to materialise with both players opting to veer away from a move to Ashton Gate.
Strength in depth was surely the answer, not blowing the budget on a potential superstar signing, but Cotterill was stoic in his quest to break the club's transfer record by over Â£6m, however, as his Plan A was not delivering, it was obvious for all to see that Plan B had never been drawn up.
Short of bodies and devoid of Championship experience, Cotterill headed into the new campaign with huge naivety as he was hopeful, rather than expectant of a squad that was threadbare to say the least could remain on a crest of a wave and hit the ground running.
Cotterill's stubbornness to stay with a 3-5-2 formation that had significant defensive holes was a major flaw in his managerial ability, whilst his failure to put any trust in forced loan signings constantly saw his preferred XI put in jaded displays and ultimately end in defeat.
News of another failed signing attempt emerged in the early part of this week as exciting youngster Zach Clough elected to stay at a cash-strapped Bolton Wanderers, so with a mere fortnight of the transfer window left, it has been the right call for the powers above at Ashton Gate to send Cotterill on his way, as the new boss will have some time to bring in fresh blood.
However, football has shown it's well and truly a results business, and whilst some may argue Cotterill earned at least a year in the Championship, his departure could prove a silver lining and it may just mean Bristol City can maintain their second-tier status come May.