Poor signings and squad underachievement but hope for next season - Bristol City 21/22 season review
Our fan columnist Ian Gay assesses a difficult season on the pitch for Bristol City and looks ahead to the next campaign
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Last season promised so much yet delivered only a slight improvement on the very disappointing finish and overall performance the previous season.
A ‘relatively’ new manager had a summer transfer window at his disposal that saw the arrival of seven new players, plus the addition of Timm Klose in the traditionally difficult January window.
City finished safe in 17th place - 18th without Derby’s points deduction - on 55 points which was a three point improvement on the previous season. Better, but hardly encouraging for City’s almost 14,000 season ticket holders.
Taking a closer look and over the season we are the 18th best team at home and the 19th best away. Not great, and worse than I thought at home.
The real surprise for me was our goalscoring record - I hope we can maintain that next season, but we MUST tighten up at the back as the above facts clearly demonstrate
The attendances have also fallen and unless we have a real barnstorming start to the season in 22/23, the cost-of-living crisis could mean that happens again.
One often asks the question if City should be doing better with the squad they have?
In my humble opinion, they absolutely should.
Players like Bentley, Kalas, Weimman, Semenyo, arguably, Scott and Massengo, would walk into many other top ten teams in the Championship. Without injury, you could very possibly add Nathan Baker and Joe Williams to that list albeit that illustrates one reason why we failed to hit the heights.
I noticed that we had four to eight players missing through injury at each international break. Regrettably, many of those were Pearson’s summer signings and re-signings.
Our recruitment was largely ineffective aside from player of the season Andi Weimman who had the season of his career and may well be the subject of multi-million-pound bids from lower Premier League and parachute Championship clubs in the summer.
Whilst much attention has been paid to our upcoming younger players, Tomas Kalas may also attract attention from those same clubs. The Czech International is in the last year of his current contract.
That recruitment included one-year deals for Danny Simpson and Andy King. Simpson hardly played and King suffered two hamstring injuries, requiring operations and got himself sent off for two reckless yellows against QPR.
Nathan Baker’s awful time with injuries continued with two concussions at West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United, and rumours persist about the likelihood of retirement.
These signings all have to be seen as failing, and that was predictable.
George Tanner looked promising until two hamstring injuries halted his season and Rob Atkinson’s season was a mixed bag of good performances hampered with illness, loss of form and injury.
We hope Matty James is now over a foot injury that saw him play 31 games with three assists and only one goal.
And we hope that players who step up from League One and Two are up to up to the high octane demands of the Championship because that’s the market we’re shopping in now.
Along with Weimman, Klose is the other success story after settling in - good news that he signed a deal deal this week.
Our away record was largely dreadful and I counted twelve unacceptable performances including Sheff United, Birmingham and West Bromwich Albion away from home. It’s one thing to lose, and City fans are used to that, but to not even compete badly lets down City’s strong away following which has stood up remarkably well.
Better performances with Weimman, Martin and the highly sought after, Antoine Semenyo to the fore, came towards the end of the season with wins at Derby and the 5-0 thrashing of Hull City.