This season has been nothing more than a shambles. Crap on the pitch and crap off it too.
Years of poor recruitment had finally bitten the club in the arse, and I, along with many other fans believe it is only the start of the real pain.
Bristol City this morning announced the clubs retained list, also showing the players the club has let go on a free contract.
11 players today have left the club, with 13 over-24 players retained (two of those including Jojo Wollacott and Robbie Cundy.) So realistically, the club is binning as many players as keeping on.
So who have the club let go of, and what will we miss seeing in the next season, when we are all back at Ashton Gate?
Starting with the big man, signed from Angers in France for a reported £6,000,000 fee in the summer of 2017, the Senegalese was defiantly a marmite player at his time at the club.
Hitting double digits in goals in every season he was at the club (in all competitions), Fam was never the consistent finisher the price tag expected.
He offered more, his link ups with Bobby Reid in his opening few months at the club was excellent, his physicality was great and he always won the header no matter what box he was in.
Prone to missing a sitter (Hull City away in 2019), his connection with Nicholas Eliason was excellent, even when he was deployed as a lone striker in a team that didn’t fit that style.
It will be very hard replacing a man who scored over 50 goals for the club in less than 170 games, but surly Mark Ashton, who was telling SkySports commentators of his plans to run down his contract, would have lined up a replacement?
What a man, what a signing this one was. Coming in from Nottingham Forest in Lee Johnson’s first year at the club, Pato will hold a piece in many a fans heart. His character was excellent around the club, and his return from loan at Derby showed his mental attributes as he was the main man after Christmas. Able to be played along the front line as a wide midfielder or secondary forward. His first goal was a winner against his former club, which he celebrated like he was a Derby player, then five goal involvements in the last six matches of the season helped keep us up.
His right foot curling shots will be missed, cutting in from the left to either nestle the ball in the back of the net or to smash one of the windows in the KFC.
Jamie Paterson will fondly be remembered at Ashton Gate: his role in the 2017/18 season so important before injuries ruined the season. 156 games, 26 goals and 21 assists: not bad stats for a guy who is described as “Utter S***” by a man a few rows in front of me at the Gate.
Do you think Jamie Paterson would have left the club if he did not pick up his injury at the start of November?
Techniacally the first player out of the squad to make his debut for the club. Loaned in from Villa in 2015 to partner Aden Flint in our first season back in the Championship. After a year away he re-joined for around £4,000,000 in the summer of 2017, to again partner Flint at the back. The strong back line helped propel the club to a semi-final of the League Cup and the first sense of real progression under the reigns of Johnson.
Always full committed in the tackle it is a real shame that his time in BS3 has been plagued with injuries, as he has looked the best centre-back in almost all his partnerships.
133 games at the club, something that looks small to what he could have played if he remained fit, I do believe that Bakers time at City is a ‘what could have been’, instead of remembering how good a defender he was.
Arriving in the summer exodus of 2018, Hunt was a dependable right back in his first campaign at the club. Helping the club to its highest place finish in his first season and having to be the main right-back due to Eros Pisano and Bailey Wright’s injury record, Hunt’s attacking output will be remembered more than his defensive work. Never the man man on show (unless your Trent Alexander-Arnold being an English right back is quite hard to do), his performance in the 3-2 win over West Brom in 2018 was a stand out.
This season like many he has not been anywhere near the best he can produce, we should not overlook his importance in his debut season. Overall, 115 games for the club is nothing to be berated about.
Making his debut away at the Etihad Stadium, Walsh came in to booster the numbers and fitness of a tiering side. The deal from Everton looked like a good one as Toffee fans were sad to let him go. The reality of his career at City was 22 matches in thee and a half years contracted to the club, with his longest consecutive run in the side being just five matches. Pint sized but willed with skill and agility, Walsh never really got going at the Gate. His loan to Coventry City in 2019/20 showed how good he could be one day.
He wanted to stay, said Mark Ashton, talks with the midfielder had been continuous, said Mark Ashton. It is a shame that we trusted that man with everything.
City believe three games all season just was not enough to reward him with a new contract. Maybe one we rue in the coming years, but putting the numbers out there, it seems like the best for both parties.
With players dropping like flies quicker than the teams position in the league table, Mariappa arrived in November to give experience and another option for Holden to turn to on the pitch. Never looking confident after being shunted into the full back positions, a few drastically poor performances from the Jamaican got him out of favour with some fans. Much more comfortable in the middle of defence (who would have thought) the former Watford defender was dependable if not spectacular. A signing that helped us through the season that could have been worse if not for his entire package. One many will forget in a few years time after just 27 games at the club, but a needed signing of that.
I thought we had a good midfielder coming in when we signed this man in January. Unveiled by the clubs media outlets like we signed a James Bond villain, that is what he was to many a fan. Sometimes showing his class with the ball with accurate long passes, nothing ever showed me he was any good. Remembered for his lack of ability and ‘handball’ against Sheffield Wednesday, his 16 matches gave us 5 yellow and a red card. No doubt he will sign for a more functional side in the Championship and be one of their best players.
Touted as one of the best prospects in the division when he was poached on a ‘free contract’ from Scunthorpe, the winger never made any sort of impression during his 9 matches for City.
Recalled from his loan at Hull City in January a shoulder injury kept him out for the rest of the season after playing two matches.
I remember Ipswich away in 2018, thinking this guy was a contest winner, after being hauled off at half-time, but I do hope he has a better career in the future.
Tommy Rowe has had a really awkward time at the club, signing from Doncaster Rovers his last match for the club was the play-off semi-final where he played behind the striker- fast forward three months and he is first choice on the left of defence, whether in a back four or five. He has played all positions, including as a make shift centre back whilst at City. His stint in the side last season playing every minute of the first 18 matches as a full back was excellent. Great servant to the club over his two seasons. After 67 matches it is time to move him on, the club needs a few more Rowe type signings this season,
Signed for over a million pounds in 2018, Watkins never took to the hearts of the fans, and barely took to the pitch. Goals against Blackburn Rovers and then the winner against Sheffield United. To be fair, he always put himself around the pitch, yes low on needed skill but when he did play, he tended to offer something. The new years game against Brentford, where he picked up the ball on the edge of our box and just kept running with the ball and won a freekick on the edge of the opposition box, was a highlight of a hungover desperate display.
Never played for the club, but a great commentator on Robins TV and held an important role within the youth set up. Hopefully he stays and works as a coach with the young keepers at least, whilst also gets the opportunities to work within the Ireland set up again.
Sadly, as the owner of the ‘Rene Gilmartin Fan Club’ est.2019, I have to say it is over.
So 11 players out of the Ashton Gate doors and a massive summer to come, I hope that all the players and Rene Gimlartin enjoy the rest of their careers as some have given the best parts of their short time as a footballer to the club.