Three seasons ago, when Wembley Stadium wore the colours of Bristol City and Hull City, things were looking good for the Robins fans.
The chance was there for back-to-back promotions for Gary Johnson. Defeat was harsh, as it is for any loser of a play-off final, but more so for City as the prospect of the Premier League seemed to slip through their fingers.
Many fans would have loved the opportunity to face Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea two seasons back, but I for one believe the time was not right.
City had over achieved and the likelihood of success in the Premier League was small, with a manager with little experience of the big league. To get there, and stay there, changes were needed, with some Premier League experience injected. Arise, Steve Coppell.
The timing was perfect, as though it was meant to be. Coppell had departed Reading in May following a Play-off semi-final defeat to Burnley, and he insisted he needed to take a break from the game.
Following his success at Reading, Coppell became a wanted man; he had approaches from clubs only a short while after leaving the Royals. People who know about Coppell must realise he is not one for 'big jobs'; he likes teams with a fairly low profile and with work needed to be done.
On the 22nd of April 2010, Coppell was named manager of Bristol City, a club that suited him, and his character, and a club he knew he could bring success to. Coppell has Premier League experience, as he has taken teams there before in his illustrious career, but he needed some players with such experiences to help guide this team all the way.
The experienced players came in the shape of David James, Nicky Hunt and Kalifa Cissé. James has the most experience of the lot with almost 600 Premier League appearances and 53 England caps, which included the most recent World Cup in South Africa. Hunt and Cissé have their experience from time with Bolton and Reading respectively.
With such prestigious signings, and great experience, it's obvious Coppell wants this team to go places, and with this team I for one thoroughly believe it is possible. Coppell is a shrewd man, and despite what he may say, he will always have an eye on the Premier League. Is it time for Bristol City to join the Big Boys?
The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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