He may turn 40 tomorrow, but that hasn’t stopped Bristol City from snapping up England goalkeeper David James on a free transfer, after the player was unable to agree a deal with former employers Portsmouth. James had bigger offers from the Premiership and Celtic in Scotland, but Neil Lennon told reporters that James had no desire to move up north due to family reasons. Now with Steve Coppell at the helm and a big name like James who kept goal for his country at this summer’s World Cup, Bristol City fans may feel that the club really can make a charge towards the Premier League. Coppell is certainly keen to leave his mark on the team and as well as James, the likes of Nicky Hunt and Damion Stewart have came in to sure up the defence, whereas players like Bradley Orr and Paul Hartley have left to play for QPR and Aberdeen respectively. Coppell has also decided to rekindle his relationship with Kalifa Cisse, who he managed while in charge of Reading and new Portsmouth signing Ibrahima Sonko has revealed that Bristol City made a late move to capture him. They may not have got their man, but it would appear that after Gary Johnson helped establish the club in the Championship, the team now has higher ambitions and an eye on the bigger picture.
Johnson’s departure from the managerial hot seat came after some erratic form last season and the board were disappointed that the club was receiving heavy defeats. The signing of David James has certainly gave the club a lot more media attention, Sky Sports in particular gave us a lovely montage of James’ haircuts over the years (oh and his career too) and have ran the story for a number of days. James has already gave out a battle cry and wants the club to aim for promotion and his name has got many Bristol City fans excited at their teams prospects this season, although many supporters believe that the club need several more new signings in order to really push on and their manager may be about to grant their wish.
So all of a sudden Bristol look like a contender for promotion although it is important that the team remains focused at the start of the season and doesn’t get too caught up in the prospect of promotion, a good start to the season is vital to their ambitions and will provide a solid base to work off. It will be interesting to see who the club brings in, a striker to help Nicky Maynard get the goals up front would be welcomed by the supporters, although rumours of the club being interested in Marlon King have not been welcomed by supporters (as at most clubs). In my opinion I think the club is going in the right direction and they should be challenging for the playoffs this season, but the importance of success is now vital, as the board has shown a considerable investment and backed Steve Coppell in the transfer market and the club could suffer financial difficulties in the future if the side doesn’t reach the Premier League. The Robins have shown their ambition and it appears that their goal is to be playing Premiership football when they move to their new 30,000 seat stadium in 2012.