Bristol City, Saturday 18 November
How to get there
It’s a long way west, just head for Swindon and keep going.
Something of an intimidating venue on its day, Ashton Gate is a mix of bland new stands and botched seating on old terracing. Includes a large stand to the left of the away end which pre Taylor Report resembled a giant version of the old Gordon Road Stand. The away end is a freezing wind tunnel, particularly when we’re losing 6-0.
Bristol City are known as The Robins. Until as recently as 1979, when they were relegated from the old Division 1, they turned out in giant bow ties in deference to the late Sir Robin Day.
The Bristol Empire and Commonwealth Museum – Queen Victoria was stuffed by a taxidermist from nearby Frome and is exhibited here at weekends, and don’t miss the 2:1 scale model of the Falklands Islands
The Clifton Suspension Bridge – designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel but now regularly gridlocked by tractors driven by suicidal Bristol Rovers supporters
Bristol City fans can’t read or write but it doesn’t really matter, as they can drive tractors. A recent poll on vehicle ownership showed that 18% owned Fords, 16% Vauxhalls and 15% Massey Fergusons, three times more than any other club. Best not to talk to them in the pub as they’re likely to bore you rigid with an informed assessment of the new MF7400 with pivotting bonnet. Their favourite song to date remains a rude ditty about former Gill Howard Pritchard which likened him to a horse’s penis.
City Hate Figures
Glyn Riley, diving scumbag from the mid 80s. Steve Neville, diving scumbag from the mid 80s. John MacPhail, simply an evil bastard
• A bloke called Economou rapping a late winner past a flailing Hillyard in 1982 as City plunged from Division 1 to 4 in three seasons. Despite a sub-4000 crowd, there was an enormous pre-match ruck in the sunshine at the home end. I believe Trevor Lee scored our goal. For me the day out was a treat for my 12th birthday which went a bit wrong, though not as wrong as the day we went to the Imperial War Museum and it was closed.
• Referee Howard King’s x-ray vision to spot a non-existent tug on Riley’s shirt which sent him plunging to the deck in that magic penalty area. Gills crashed 2-0 and our play off hopes looked doomed until City’s Gordon Owen missed a last day penalty against Swindon to allow us to sneak back in. Stupid tit missed again as City lost the Freight Rover Trophy Final to Mansfield at Wembley a couple of weeks later.
• Going two up in 12 minutes in 1987 but hanging on for a 3-3 draw after Karl Elsey was sent off, stupid tit Owen scored when miles offside and Newman missed a penalty after a typically flamboyant Neville belly flop in our area
• Joe Jordan crashing home an unstoppable 30 yard volley in our relegation year and setting off on a crazy toothless cartwheel inspired by Olga Korbut at the 1976 Munich Olympics. We should have had a penalty but, well, you know how it is in that part of the world
• Three consecutive wins and clean sheets under Pulis and Taylor. We even had a penalty, converted by Iffy, while in 1998 Jimmy Corbett got on the scoresheet. Actually, I don’t remember anything, I missed the lot….
• Anyone recall last year’s fixture? Move along, nothing to see here….
An emphatic 3-1 deflowering of the promotion chasing bumpkins, a brace from Dirty Sancho and a rip-snorting 30 yarder from Gary Mulligan. Gary Johnson defecates in disgust on the touchline
The Morty Vicker