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A Potted History

Posted: Thu 15 Aug 2013
Author: BCFC
Ashton Gate Stadium

Ashton Gate Stadium

Image by: josephmeredith.com

A complete history of Bristol City FC.

1894: Bristol South End Football Club are formed and play their games at St. John's Lane, Bedminster.

1897: The club is renamed Bristol City Football Club and made into a limited company after a famous meeting in the Albert Hall, Bedminster. A decision was made to employ a manager, so contact was made with Sam Hollis at Woolwich Arsenal. One of his first assignments at Bristol City was to assemble a squad of players to take part in the Southern League - he was given a transfer fund of £40!

1899: Bob Campbell succeeds Sam Hollis as manager in May.

1900: Bristol City FC merge with Bedminster FC, a professional club which played their matches a mile away from St. John's Lane - at Ashton Gate.

1901: Sam Hollis returns for a second spell in charge and leads City into their first season in the Football League, following their election to Division Two in May. They play their first League game on 7th September away to Blackpool, winning 2-0. Billy Jones becomes the first City player to win an England cap.

1904: After one season (1900/01) playing at both St. John's Lane and Ashton Gate, and then three seasons back at St. John's Lane, the decision is made to adopt Ashton Gate as the new home of Bristol City FC.

1905: City gain 14 successive wins in Division Two, still a joint League record with Preston North End and Manchester United.

1906: Harry Thickett takes over as manager and promptly leads City to the 1905/06 Division Two Championship, which includes a club record 30 League wins.

1907: Runners-up in Division One, 1906/07 - to date the club's highest League placing. Centre-half Billy Wedlock wins the first of his 21 England caps.

1908: A Rugby Union international match is staged at Ashton Gate between England and Wales attracting a crowd of 21,000.

1909: FA Cup finalists, losing 1-0 to Manchester United at Crystal Palace.

1910: Harry Thickett dismissed as City manager in October as City hit bottom of Division One. Frank Bacon assumes temporary control.

1911: Sam Hollis returns for his third, and final, spell as City manager in January but can't halt relegation to Division Two.

1913: Ashton Gate was used to stage a full international between England and Wales.

1916: The roof of the South Terrace at Ashton Gate was destroyed by gales.

1920: Reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

1922: Relegated to Division Three (South).

1923: Division Three (South) Champions 1922/23.

1924: Relegated to Division Three (South).

1927: Division Three (South) Champions 1926/27, scoring a record number of goals in a season: 104. Tot Walsh scored six goals in one game, versus Gillingham on 15th January, a feat which remains a club record.

1928: The Winterstoke Road end of the ground is covered, the finance being raised by the sale of two players to Blackburn Rovers for a combined fee of £3,650.

1929: A fire partially destroys the Old Stand.

1932: Relegated to Division Three (South).

1934: Bristol City crash to their biggest-ever defeat, losing 0-9 to Coventry City on 28th April; won the Welsh Cup, beating Tranmere Rovers.

1935: A club record attendance sees City take on Preston North End in the fifth round of the FA Cup on 16th February - 43,335 witness a 0-0 draw.

1938: Division Three (South) runners-up 1937/38, but promotion was not gained, as only the Champions were promoted.

1941: Grandstand totally destroyed during air raids.

1945: City beat Cardiff City 2-1 in War-time Cup game after a 'sudden death' winner in the 202nd minute.

1946: A club record League victory is recorded as City trounce Aldershot 9-0 in a Division Three (South) game at Ashton Gate on 28th December.

1947: Don Clark sets a new club record after scoring 36 League goals in the 1946/47 season.

1953: Floodlights are used for the first time at Ashton Gate for a friendly against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

1955: Division Three (South) Champions 1954/55, equalling the club record of 30 League victories in a season.

1960: Relegated to Division Three as City concede a club record 97 goals over the course of the season and suffer 26 League defeats - also a club record. City wallop Chichester City 11-0 in the first round of the FA Cup on 5th November.

1965: Division Three runners-up 1964/65, promoted to Division Two. The original set of floodlights erected in 1953 were sold to Burton Albion and a new set were officially switched on with a friendly against Wolverhampton Wanderers the same club which provided the opposition for the 1953 switch-on.

1966: John Atyeo finally calls it a day after making a club record 597 League appearances for the club.

1970: The Dolman Stand is opened at a cost of £235,000, taking it's name from one of the most popular Chairman ever to preside at Ashton Gate - Harry Dolman. The stand incorporates an indoor bowling green.

1971: City reached the semi-finals of the Football League Cup.

1976: Promoted to First Division after finishing runners-up of Division Two.

1978: Winners of the Anglo-Scottish Cup.

1980: Relegated to Division Two.

1981: Relegated to Division Three.

1982: Relegated to Division Four, and the club plunge into financial crisis. A new club is formed: Bristol City FC (1982) Limited, avoiding closure by a whisker.

1984: Promoted to Division Three after finishing third in the 1984/85 season. Terry Cooper becomes the oldest player to appear for a City first team at the age of 40 years and 86 days.

1986: Bristol City become holders of the Freight Rover Trophy after beating Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at Wembley.

1987: Finalists in the Freight Rover Trophy, losing to Mansfield Town on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

1989: City reached the Football League Cup semi-finals for the second time in their history. Losing 1-2 to Nottingham Forest over two legs.

1990: Division Three runners-up 1989/90, gaining 91 points - a club record.

1992: Andy Cole is signed from Arsenal in July for a club record fee of £500,000. The old floodlight pylons are given to Wigan Athletic.

1993: Andy Cole is sold to Newcastle United in March for a club record £1.75m. Chairman Leslie Kew is banned from football for nine months for Football Trust grant discrepancies.

1994: The John Atyeo Stand replaces the old away-end terrace, at a cost of £1.8 million.

1995: Club record receipts for a match of £148,282 are achieved when Everton visit Ashton Gate for a fourth round FA Cup tie on 29th January.

1996: Scott Davidson is appointed Club Chairman and a new Board is put in place.

1997: City reach the Division Two play-off semi-finals, but fail to advance further after losing to Brentford 4-2 on aggregate.

1998: Under the managerial partnership of John Ward and Terry Connor, City secured the runners-up position in Division Two, finishing behind Watford, to claim a berth back to Division One. In the close-season Ade Akinbiyi became City's first million-pound player when he was signed from Gillingham for club record £1.2 million. Benny Lennartsson took charge of team affairs as Director of Coaching in late October after the departure of John Ward.

1999: City are relegated to Division Two. In July former Gillingham boss Tony Pulis is appointed as First Team Manager succeeding Benny Lennartsson, who leaves the club after a brief hand-over period. In September Ade Akinbiyi is sold to Wolves for a club record transfer fee of £3.5 million, becoming the Nationwide League's most expensive player. Marvin Brown becomes the youngest player to represent City at 16 years 71 days when comes on as a sub in a Worthington Cup tie at Nottingham Forest.

2000: Tony Pulis and Lindsay Parsons leave to join Portsmouth. Tony Fawthrop is named caretaker manager until the end of the season.  He leads City to Wembley in the Auto-Windscreens Shield only to be beaten 2-1 in the final by Stoke. Tony Fawthrop was then appointed as manager immediately following the last game of the season. He stepped down within weeks following revelations in the local press. Danny Wilson was officially appointed as his replacement on the 26th June. John Laycock takes over from Scott Davidson as chairman.

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2001: After promising to reach the Division Two play-offs for the latter half of the season, a mixture of injuries and loss of form resulted in City finishing ninth in the table.

2002: After topping the table in December loss of form resulted in City finishing seventh in the table. Steve Lansdown takes over as chairman in October.

2003: City score 106 goals in a hugely entertaining season in Division Two but miss out on automatic promotion by three points to Crewe Alexandra. In the play-off semi-finals City are narrowly beaten by local rivals Cardiff City by one goal to nil on aggregate. But success did arrive in the LDV Vans Trophy competition, where City cruised into the final and defeated Third Division Carlisle United at the Millennium Stadium by two goals to nil in front of almost 40,000 City fans.

2004: City finish third in the table, missing out on automatic promotion by just one point to Queens Park Rangers, despite recording a post-war club record 11 successive League wins between December-February and boasting the joint-meanest defensive record in the Football League with Doncaster Rovers. After a memorable play-off semi-final win over Hartlepool United, they lose 1-0 to Brighton in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium. That defeat costs Danny Wilson his job as manager, and Brian Tinnion - who in January had made his 500th appearance for the club in his testimonial year - is installed as player-boss in June.

2005: Brian Tinnion misses out on the play-offs by one point in his first season as manager, and last as a player. City finish seventh in League One despite Leroy Lita top scoring with 29 goals.

2006: Former Premiership star Marcus Stewart signs for City, his boyhood club - one of seven summer signings; but a disappointing start to the season sees Brian Tinnion step down as manager in September after a 7-1 defeat at Swansea leaves City one point off the bottom of the table. Yeovil Town boss Gary Johnson is appointed manager on 23rd September. City are steered to safety and eventually finish ninth.

2007: City finally clinch promotion back to the Championship with a second placed finish. A victory on the final day of the season, 3-1 over Rotherham United, spark mass celebrations in the city and a memorable pitch invasion. Lee Trundle becomes only the club's third £1 million signing when he arrives from Swansea in August

2008: City's first season back in the Championship sees them reach their highest league placing for 32 years, finishing fourth in the table. After beating Crystal Palace in a pulsating two-legged play-off semi-final, ending in extra-time at a packed Ashton Gate, the season ends in heartbreak with a 1-0 play-off final defeat to Hull City in front of 86,703 at Wembley. Player-of-the-year: Adriano Basso. Leading scorer: Darren Byfield. In August club chairman Steve Lansdown smashes the club's transfer record to allow Gary Johnson to buy Crewe striker Nicky Maynard for £2.5 million, The clubs announces it wishes to move to a new purpose-built 30,000-seat stadium at nearby Ashton Vale by 2012.

2009:  City rally after a disappointing first half of the season to briefly challenge for the play-offs before finishing tenth.  Player-of-the-year: Dele Adebola. Leading scorer: Nicky Maynard. City's new stadium project plays a leading role in Bristol being named as one of 12 candidate host cities by England's 2018 World Cup bid team.

2010: After a promising start to the campaign, City tailed off towards the lower half of the table. In March Gary Johnson made an emotional farewell by mutual consent following a 3-2 defeat at Plymouth Argyle. Keith Millen, formerly Gary's assistant, stepped up to become caretaker manager for the remainder of the campaign. Nicky Maynard was the division's joint top scorer with 20 goals (21 in all competitions) and his goals proved vital. In the end City finished in tenth position once more. Bristolian Cole Skuse won the player of the year award, with Nicky Maynard as young player again. Steve Coppell was appointed as the club's next manager, beginning his reign in 2010/11. However, the former Reading manager's spell lasted just two games - both defeats - as he resigned and retired from football management altogether. Keith Millen took over on a three-year contract. A rollercoaster season saw many peaks and troughs before a mid-table finish.

2011: Millen's men stuttered from the start and, with just one win to the team's name by October, a 5-0 drubbing at Blackpool ended his reign. In stepped Derek McInnes, from St Johnstone, and the Scot battled through a host of poor spells to secure the team's survival in the Championship for another season. A pitch invasion followed the 2-0 win over Barnsley at Ashton Gate in April, the day safety was assured.

2012: McInnes' turnaround of the club failed to materialise though. He battled on, despite seven straight defeats in the league. By January, with the team bottom of the table and thrashed 4-0 at home by Leicester City, Scotsman McInnes was dismissed. In days Sean O'Driscoll took on the head coach's role, but even his initial upturn - three wins from five games - couldn't prevent City from the drop.

2013: With a fresh new approach, looking at younger players in a much-recruitment policy, and working to a more realistic wage structure, O'Driscoll took City into the new League One campaign.