Its nearly 13 years since the picture synonymous with our relegation at Villa Park was first seen on Sky Sports News. Later that night Gary Lineker closed 'Match of The Day' with a 34-year summise of our top flight years and the last credits rolled with City fan John Mullaney holding up his hand made sign 'We'll be Back'. This piece of wallpaper hastily scrawled upon prior to leaving for Villa Park made national headlines in the weeks following our relegation and is still a reference point after all these years of that day at the Villa.
There will be many City supporters who can see themselves in the above picture, there's not one smile amongst them, a trait familiar with many since July 8th last year when our club was moved out of Coventry. One thing that continues to stand out is City supporters' sense of humour in adversity. John Mullaney went on to write up his exploits following City home and away in the season post-relegation - the excellent 'We'll be Back' - he subsequently emigrated to Brisbane, Australia. 'Trampbeater' ,via twitter, updated John's picture with his very own 'Trampstagram' and you can see below the 2014 version...
Today's opponents Bristol City were last in the top flight, old Division 1, in 1980. During their four seasons in the top tier we never beat them at Ashton Gate yet in 1982/83 they became the first English club to suffer three successive relegations. It was Dean Windass' goal for Hull which defeated them in the play-off final of 2008, its now 34 seasons since their last fixture in the top flight. After just four seasons in Division One their expectations of a return were maybe not as high as ours, what we both find now is the Premier League and its wealth a million miles away as we fight to get out of the third tier.
This season has brought many moments of jubilation for the travelling City fans, let's hope tonight is another as we travel, Leon less, to the West Country in need of three points. Away fixtures will prove key over the next month with Sixfields in such a state. Our free-flowing passing game may come unstuck on that gluepot of a non-league ground it looks like becoming next August so its imperative points are picked up away from home to leave us in the mix come Easter.
Play up Sky Blues