THERE was a party atmosphere at Ashton Gate on Saturday as City fans gave the East End a raucous send off.
The famous stand, a fans' favourite for many decades, is to be demolished at the end of the season and replaced with a shiny new stand that will be the same height as the Dolman Stand. Despite the increase in height the capacity of the new stand will be only slightly more than the current East End. However, the new stand will have no pillars blocking the view and will be a greatly improved facility. The current stand is 100-years-old! Say no more.
The new stand should be ready in time for the start of the 2015/16 season at which point the Williams Stand will be demolished and a huge two tier replacement built in its place. On completion of the ground redevelopment Ashton Gate will have a new capacity of 26,500.
But much more than this it will finally drag the stadium into the 21st century and provide top class facilities for supporters as well as bring in much needed non-matchday revenue, which is so important these days with the introduction of the Financial Fair Play regulations.
Saturday’s game against Crewe was, unfortunately, a terribly dour game that finished 0-0. Whilst City had nothing to play for the fans still pay their money to come down and watch and should not have had to witness such an insipid performance. Crewe should have won the game and missed a couple of great chances. Their fate will now be decided next weekend in the last game of the season with a win being enough to keep them up.
City meanwhile travel to Crawley Town on Saturday (3pm) for the final game of the 2013/14 season. Whichever team wins will likely finish above the other and so there is at least something to play for. City could still finish as high as 10th or as low as 14th.
Before the Crewe game Sam Baldock was awarded the fans’ player of the season and Derrick Williams young player of the season. Baldock remains the league’s highest goalscorer with 24 goals to his name and will hope he can add to his season's tally at the Crawley game to finish top of the pile.