So, the loan window has closed. No more deals now until January 1st, when permanent transfers can be completed again. For one well respected coach, the deadline was reached for him too.
Within 24 hours of the club receiving clearance to redevelop Ashton Gate (should they wish to), Sean O’Driscoll lost his job as head coach at Bristol City. You would think it was a decision based on results, but he made two very open remarks in his post match press conference after Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient. Only those within the club will know if they were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The first concerned what he deemed “a pecking order” with regard to loan deals. I’ve heard managers in League 2 compare loans. especially of a short term nature, like being in a housing chain. Given the level these teams operate at, it’s understandable.
Their enquiry, unless the parent club has plenty of cover or you are the only team wanting a particular player, probably depends on a move happening further up the pyramid. In League 1, and, in Bristol City’s case, with one of the biggest supporter bases
and budgets, it was a surprise to hear O’Driscoll admit he too might be at the back of the queue.
They were not encouraging words for the board, nor was O’Driscoll’s judgement that the turning round of the club might take a long time because “the team is what it is, and it’s been like that for a number of seasons.” It was a real sideswipe not only at the position he had inherited 10 months ago, but what had gone before.
O’Driscoll made his name initially at Bournemouth and then at Doncaster. Both stints were long. A shorter one at Nottingham Forest followed. At City, he lost 20 of 44 games. Taking over a team seemingly hurtling towards relegation is one thing. Seeing the club in the bottom four a division below will not have sat easily with the Ashton Gate directors, and they were not prepared to tolerate the position any longer.
City would aspire to be at least a mid table Championship team, although currently that looks a long way off. 90 minutes away are Yeovil, who are currently batting against the tide at that level having passed City on the way up.
Six months after their play off final victory, manager Gary Johnson has decided the future of one of Yeovil’s goal scorers that day, Paddy Madden, lies elsewhere. Initially a loanee in October 2012, Johnson signed Madden permanently from Carlisle in January. The fee was nominal, but in all the Irishman scored 23 goals to take Yeovil up. In 11 appearances this season he has failed to find the target, suggesting the Championship is a level too far.
Transfer listing a player, however, is no guarantee of a deal being done and Madden, for now, remains at Huish Park. There were no takers before Thursday’s deadline.
Yeovil were not idle though, bringing in three players and loaning one out. Nearly 50 moves were completed, but barely a dozen involved signings by sides in the Championship, proving how important the system is for those in the lower divisions.
Most teams will have seven games up to and including
New Year’s Day, with the possibility of an eighth if those involved in the FA Cup 2nd round face a replay. It’s a run that can have a significant impact
on the second half of the season, a phase Bristol City face without, at this stage, a permanent manager.
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