One Blog In Bristol: Hard to Dislike a Team That Gives it All

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One Stream In Bristol podcaster Stanley Hughes finds there is a lot to love about this current Bristol City team under Nigel Pearson.

Bristol City fans celebrate their team scoring a goal

When Chris Martin slotted home in the 84th minute last Saturday there was understandable euphoria. In the stands, on social media and wherever City fans were watching or listening. I’ll admit that my stream died just as Joe Williams began the run that set up the winner. That didn’t stop me losing my head, as did the head of any City fan paying attention.

I imagine there were some brilliant bits of celebration from us all in that moment. I know for a fact some City fans ended up a few rows from their original seat, once everything had settled down. In the words of George Tanner, “Nothing beats a pile on”. 

The footage and images of the team’s celebrations are pure poetry. The driving rain, the soggy shirts, the sea of waterproofs in the background. Moments like that help fans fall in love with a team. Three points in terrible conditions, a topsy-turvy game, a real hard-fought win. You could probably say a bit too hard-fought, especially considering the quality of opposition. Albeit an opposition with a former player keen to prove a point!

To allow Peterborough 60% possession is fairly worrying, the fact they were able to pass it around at pace and we weren’t is worrying. They certainly played the better football, they could’ve easily won the game in the second half were it not for the crossbar. We had the majority of chances though, many might have seen the win coming. 

I’ll never turn down an undeserved win, I’ll never turn down an unexpected win. I don’t necessarily think this victory falls into either of those categories. We’re the only team in the football league to have won four away games. Each win has been completely different, some undeserved and some unexpected. They’ve all required an incredible amount of hard work, something this team is showing more and more of recently. 

Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts

A team working hard is difficult to hate. A team greater than the sum of its parts, without passengers, without mavericks is always going to be loved by fans. No scapegoats when we lose, shared glory when we win. Think about the Gary Johnson team that we fell in love with, who was the star? There probably wasn’t one. What about the Steve Cotterill team that won the double, did it have a star? Maybe not. When things were great under Lee Johnson, the team was a unit. Everyone chipping in with goals and assists. 

Ask people for their favourite players, you’ll likely get flair players as a response. JET and Dziekanowski would be up there for many. Were the teams they played regularly in any good though? You could argue that our current player of that ilk would be Kasey Palmer. He’s still yet to really hit form for us, I wonder if Pearson is the wrong manager at the wrong time. Will he ever be fully involved in a Pearson side? I don’t think so. Palmer loves getting stuck in, I still don’t see it working out. A sacrifice of flair and skill to make the team more solid and consistent? During our four league wins, he’s only played 23 minutes.

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It seems that as Nige’s team is slowly moulded to his vision, we’ll see a team without individuals trying to run the show. Instead we’ll see a hard working, dependable and defensively solid eleven. If you’re not able to do the basics well, it’s unlikely you’re going to be heavily involved. It may not be thrilling football at all times. With some exciting options on the bench and some reasonably fast players, we’ll have our moments.

We had one of those moments last Saturday. As those drenched players piled up in the corner, I realised they were starting to win me over again. The best City teams are the ones who fight for everything, for each other. Keep working hard, that’s all we as fans can ask for. You’re doing it at the moment, let’s hope the results reward it.

Stanley Hughes is the host of the popular ‘One Stream In Bristol’, the original fan-produced Bristol City FC podcast. Stanley shares his thoughts on The Robins every week exclusively with MansionBet.

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