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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… 11:21 - Sep 4 with 6575 viewsunstableblue

… I was reviewing the 10th (tenth) page of bile and unanimous slating of Mark Ashton on ‘The Only Team in Bristol’ forum. The huge criticism of his tenure at Ashton Gate.

They’ve picked up our reaction on TWTD to their views -
Perhaps our fans calling them ‘knuckle staggers’ was unwise! - But actually there seems good feeling towards ITFC as a club.

A summary of the factors to which they despise Ashton are: took over control and footballing matters, manager selection based on his imperious role, hung out the manager he’d brought in to dry once found to be flawed, allowed an appalling injury situation to develop and an enquiry he instigated was a joke (some of that fitness team are now here), they find Ashton smarmy, PRish.., etc etc

They obviously think he will be a disaster here, and cast aspersions on our 19 player influx he has orchestrated. Slightly ignoring revenue and wage bill benefits of outgoing players!!

But looking on the positives and calling out some of the views they are missing, just a couple of thoughts from me:

- Cook has it seems identified all the players brought in, I think there is no suggestion that Ashton suggested any players - he just executed the transfers. Ashton is not acting as a pseudo manager as much as Bristol City fans suggest
- Cook is in charge of the footballing side of the football operation;
I don’t think Cook would accept direct interference from Ashton
- Ashton does not just have a non footballing owner above him - O’Leary is his governance and control; and The Three Lions especially our Turkish investor are quite savvy in running a football club and will be providing necessary oversight
- if we get the wins we so desperately need I am expecting Ashton to turn to non footballing operations issues such as ground, ticketing, PA etc, where his work was positively received at Bristol

What do you think?

Certainly Ashtons US style motivational approach and management system concept has grated the Bristol fans… and maybe a few players and fans will not buy in… but let’s repeat a key point WE HAD MILNE AND CLEGG

I am concerned about the unanimous negativity, no smoke without fire, but I DO think Ashton is operating in a different set-up and environment.

Now let’s get that WIN so that Cook is left to it, and Ashton, OLeary and the Three Lions can focus on the longer game.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 11:27 - Sep 4 with 4579 viewsSteve_M

Novel idea perhaps, but I’m more inclined to judge him on how he performs here not in any previous role. If he does a good job here then we won’t have to pay much attention to whatever other fans might think.
[Post edited 4 Sep 14:06]

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 11:45 - Sep 4 with 4465 viewsFixed_It

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 11:27 - Sep 4 by Steve_M

Novel idea perhaps, but I’m more inclined to judge him on how he performs here not in any previous role. If he does a good job here then we won’t have to pay much attention to whatever other fans might think.
[Post edited 4 Sep 14:06]


Indeed. And if he has made mistakes in the past, there is nothing to say that he hasn't learnt from them. Sometimes a fresh start and new challenge is needed as a catalyst. We will soon find out, but he seems to be playing a blinder so far.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 11:52 - Sep 4 with 4432 viewsMullet

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 11:27 - Sep 4 by Steve_M

Novel idea perhaps, but I’m more inclined to judge him on how he performs here not in any previous role. If he does a good job here then we won’t have to pay much attention to whatever other fans might think.
[Post edited 4 Sep 14:06]


I guess if he gets 3 or 4 wins out of the 19 signings…..

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 12:10 - Sep 4 with 4331 viewsOriginalMarkyP

I think Cook, Ashton and O'Leary can only and should only be judged on the results they get here and how they respond to them.

Currently the results are terrible. The signings they've made must surely give them a very good chance of changing that. But doing that is the only thing that matters.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 12:28 - Sep 4 with 4235 viewsWeekender

On one of their forums I found a thread from the time that MA won the championship CEO of the year and there was nothing but praise for him. It appears the negativity and hatred is a relatively recent thing. I suspect a good degree of scapegoating is going on.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 12:39 - Sep 4 with 4151 viewsChurchman

I also called them window lickers which didn’t go down too well either. A bit unnecessarily rude on my part, but it was on our forum not theirs. Their thread did seem to blame everything from injuries to the rise of Bin Laden on Ashton and it all seemed to be a bit weird, given where Bristol City were and are now. I got a sense of misplaced entitlement from it which jarred a bit with me, given how we’ve disintegrated in the last two decades.

Anyway, Ashton is a bit oily, but so far he’s delivered what he said he would. I don’t agree with his take on Category A Academy, but I do agree with the rest of his/the owners stated aims. It appears he’s delivered the players on Cook’s list and that’s as far as his interference has gone. That’s some achievement in three months, compared to his predecessors. I don’t get a sense we’ve been mugged over like Evans and his henchmen were (e.g. Chopra and Paul Taylor). I hope that’s the case - time will tell.

It’s now all about results which is Cook’s responsibility and presumably Ashton’s energies will focus on the other strands of the club. The point about who the Chairman and owners are is very important. I really hope Ashton’s role and accountabilities are clearly defined.

.
[Post edited 4 Sep 12:40]
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 13:47 - Sep 4 with 3892 viewsunstableblue

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 11:27 - Sep 4 by Steve_M

Novel idea perhaps, but I’m more inclined to judge him on how he performs here not in any previous role. If he does a good job here then we won’t have to pay much attention to whatever other fans might think.
[Post edited 4 Sep 14:06]


No sh!t?!

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 13:58 - Sep 4 with 3816 viewsJ2BLUE

Ashton is yet to put a foot wrong. He has pulled off some incredible signings.

Now it's down to Cook. I thought our business was done and that we had a great window. Then we went and signed Walton, Celina and Morsy. This squad is ridiculous for this level. Anything other than promotion and Cook has failed.I have full confidence in him and think he would agree that it's promotion or failure.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 14:39 - Sep 4 with 3683 viewsTRUE_BLUE123

Im not even sure why this back and forth Is happening.

So far Ashton hasn't done anything wrong, I think he probably was a bit of a d1ck at Bristol City, they can't all be unanimously against him for no reason.

As I have said before, it is very easy to be likeable when you are signing quality footballers, but if things start to go wrong (hopefully they dont) then will be the time to judge him.

If I was going to put my money on it, I think that we may end up feeling exactly the same about MA as Bristol City fans do.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 14:47 - Sep 4 with 3643 viewsgordon

Think he probably suits our situation, at least in the short-term - we desperately needed a bit of professionalism, structure and drive off the pitch - of course in the longer term if we don't get the results we're expecting then the managerialism and buzzword-bingo could get old quite quickly though.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 15:35 - Sep 4 with 3484 viewsmonkeymagic

I messaged MA and received a polite and friendly reply within minutes. If nothing else, that shows he pays attention. His performance so far seems pretty flawless to me, and although I’m not keen on the Brent esque management speak, I guess that’s the world we live in. I think with O’Leary’s guidance and the gravitas and savvy he undoubtedly possesses, between the two of them we will be well run. I consider that the management team we now have is on a par with the squad : arguably too good for league one and able/equipped to cope with the championship.
One thing appears absolutely certain : MA and MO’L are a serious upgrade on SC/ME, IM/ME or LO’N/ME. The latter 3 combinations were borderline embarrassing.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 16:52 - Sep 4 with 3252 viewsChurchman

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 15:35 - Sep 4 by monkeymagic

I messaged MA and received a polite and friendly reply within minutes. If nothing else, that shows he pays attention. His performance so far seems pretty flawless to me, and although I’m not keen on the Brent esque management speak, I guess that’s the world we live in. I think with O’Leary’s guidance and the gravitas and savvy he undoubtedly possesses, between the two of them we will be well run. I consider that the management team we now have is on a par with the squad : arguably too good for league one and able/equipped to cope with the championship.
One thing appears absolutely certain : MA and MO’L are a serious upgrade on SC/ME, IM/ME or LO’N/ME. The latter 3 combinations were borderline embarrassing.


Nah, your last three are not borderline embarrassing. Well beyond the line and residing in pitiful.

I know what you mean about management speak and it is the world we live in. We played a fair bit of bullish1t bingo at work. Just a few: blue sky thinking, touching base, quick wins, deep dives, peeling the onion, bottom up thinking, bite sized chunks, eating the elephant, horizon scanning, deliverables…… jeez

My buddy was told at some god awful ‘away day’ to ‘consider himself at the head of the v in a flock of geese. It’s ok to peel off and manoeuvre to the back of the v sometimes’. I’m amazed he didn’t assault the bloke.

Oh and don’t start me on ‘breakfast meetings’.
[Post edited 4 Sep 17:02]
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:24 - Sep 4 with 3141 viewsmonkeymagic

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 16:52 - Sep 4 by Churchman

Nah, your last three are not borderline embarrassing. Well beyond the line and residing in pitiful.

I know what you mean about management speak and it is the world we live in. We played a fair bit of bullish1t bingo at work. Just a few: blue sky thinking, touching base, quick wins, deep dives, peeling the onion, bottom up thinking, bite sized chunks, eating the elephant, horizon scanning, deliverables…… jeez

My buddy was told at some god awful ‘away day’ to ‘consider himself at the head of the v in a flock of geese. It’s ok to peel off and manoeuvre to the back of the v sometimes’. I’m amazed he didn’t assault the bloke.

Oh and don’t start me on ‘breakfast meetings’.
[Post edited 4 Sep 17:02]


Ha ha, there’s a few in there that I recognise from my office. Hadn’t heard the V in a flock before : use of that should be a disciplinary offence.
Current ones doing the rounds that really grate are ‘reach out’, ‘straw man’, ‘mapping out’, ‘customer journey’. Who comes up with this sh*t ?
It’s nice to know I’m not alone in being driven mad by it.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:33 - Sep 4 with 3114 viewsronnyd

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 16:52 - Sep 4 by Churchman

Nah, your last three are not borderline embarrassing. Well beyond the line and residing in pitiful.

I know what you mean about management speak and it is the world we live in. We played a fair bit of bullish1t bingo at work. Just a few: blue sky thinking, touching base, quick wins, deep dives, peeling the onion, bottom up thinking, bite sized chunks, eating the elephant, horizon scanning, deliverables…… jeez

My buddy was told at some god awful ‘away day’ to ‘consider himself at the head of the v in a flock of geese. It’s ok to peel off and manoeuvre to the back of the v sometimes’. I’m amazed he didn’t assault the bloke.

Oh and don’t start me on ‘breakfast meetings’.
[Post edited 4 Sep 17:02]


Agree, the corporate borlacks used to leave me cold at my penultimate employment, (US owned of course). This is not a new thing as this was almost twenty years ago. Mission statements hanging from the ceiling, weekly get togethers, birthday lunches, (where the MD spouts that his job is his hobby ) half yearly appraisals, the list was endless. Was surprised that we found time to do any actual work.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:36 - Sep 4 with 3106 viewsChurchman

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:24 - Sep 4 by monkeymagic

Ha ha, there’s a few in there that I recognise from my office. Hadn’t heard the V in a flock before : use of that should be a disciplinary offence.
Current ones doing the rounds that really grate are ‘reach out’, ‘straw man’, ‘mapping out’, ‘customer journey’. Who comes up with this sh*t ?
It’s nice to know I’m not alone in being driven mad by it.


Haha, ‘Customer journey’. That made me break out into a sweat. How about ‘plucking low hanging fruit’ before ‘touching base’? My guess is there are people out there who’ve made a fortune coming up with this cr@p.

Edit: RonnyD - you are right, this tosh goes back decades. I first really noticed it in the early 90s when some idiot started banging on about paradigms on some grindingly tedious management course. We all nodded enthusiastically…
[Post edited 4 Sep 17:41]
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:47 - Sep 4 with 3034 viewsronnyd

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:36 - Sep 4 by Churchman

Haha, ‘Customer journey’. That made me break out into a sweat. How about ‘plucking low hanging fruit’ before ‘touching base’? My guess is there are people out there who’ve made a fortune coming up with this cr@p.

Edit: RonnyD - you are right, this tosh goes back decades. I first really noticed it in the early 90s when some idiot started banging on about paradigms on some grindingly tedious management course. We all nodded enthusiastically…
[Post edited 4 Sep 17:41]


Just Googled what a paradigm is, still none the wiser.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:57 - Sep 4 with 3005 viewsChurchman

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 17:47 - Sep 4 by ronnyd

Just Googled what a paradigm is, still none the wiser.


It woke us dolts up who were trying to stay awake by contemplating the pub. The example used was the Swiss watch making industry. Masters of mechanical watch making, they were presented with this new idea. Quartz watches. Nah, they said. Real watches are cogs and springs. Go away.

When the Japanese were offered the idea (Seiko, Casio etc), they grabbed it with both hands and in turn swallowed up the mainstream watch making business.

The Swiss couldn’t see the opportunity before them; the paradigm. Today’s horror phrase which I will use just the once before grabbing a drink to wipe away the memory is ‘thinking outside the box’.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 18:25 - Sep 4 with 2907 viewsunstableblue

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 13:58 - Sep 4 by J2BLUE

Ashton is yet to put a foot wrong. He has pulled off some incredible signings.

Now it's down to Cook. I thought our business was done and that we had a great window. Then we went and signed Walton, Celina and Morsy. This squad is ridiculous for this level. Anything other than promotion and Cook has failed.I have full confidence in him and think he would agree that it's promotion or failure.


Think Morsy agrees with you J2, judging by his excellent interview, promotion is the only outcome

But am sure Morsy feels he’s got to do his bit as well as Cook.

But agree the buck stops with Cook, it’s his set-up, system formation and motivation that needs to get this amazing sum of parts gelling and flying.

Interesting to note though that a few of the Bristol fans felt bedding in 19 new players is a very tall order. And surely can’t be done overnight??
[Post edited 4 Sep 18:51]

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 18:39 - Sep 4 with 2884 viewsRadlett_blue

A friend of mine, who is very well connected in the football world & was involved with Watford when Ashton was CEO there, says that Ashton deservedly has a terrible reputation within the game & he can only assume that he keeps getting decent jobs because he sounds very plausible and talks a really good game.
Here's an old Watford Observer article about his reign.
https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/sport/3995357.oliver-phillips-reflects-on-the-
[Post edited 4 Sep 18:43]
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 18:57 - Sep 4 with 2808 viewsFixed_It

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 18:39 - Sep 4 by Radlett_blue

A friend of mine, who is very well connected in the football world & was involved with Watford when Ashton was CEO there, says that Ashton deservedly has a terrible reputation within the game & he can only assume that he keeps getting decent jobs because he sounds very plausible and talks a really good game.
Here's an old Watford Observer article about his reign.
https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/sport/3995357.oliver-phillips-reflects-on-the-
[Post edited 4 Sep 18:43]


Article written in 2008. I might be slightly worried if Ashton wasn't answerable to Mike O'Leary. But he is, so I'm not.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 19:17 - Sep 4 with 2763 viewsChurchman

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 18:39 - Sep 4 by Radlett_blue

A friend of mine, who is very well connected in the football world & was involved with Watford when Ashton was CEO there, says that Ashton deservedly has a terrible reputation within the game & he can only assume that he keeps getting decent jobs because he sounds very plausible and talks a really good game.
Here's an old Watford Observer article about his reign.
https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/sport/3995357.oliver-phillips-reflects-on-the-
[Post edited 4 Sep 18:43]


Ok it’s Mickey Mouse and he probably picked himself, but if he is regarded so poorly in the football world, why did somebody name him CEO of the Year? I’m just curious.

Ashton may turn out to be the worst thing on the planet. Who knows, time will tell. On the upside, I’m struggling to think he can get the club in any worse state than it was in March.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 19:48 - Sep 4 with 2685 viewsVic

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 14:47 - Sep 4 by gordon

Think he probably suits our situation, at least in the short-term - we desperately needed a bit of professionalism, structure and drive off the pitch - of course in the longer term if we don't get the results we're expecting then the managerialism and buzzword-bingo could get old quite quickly though.


Not often I upped you Gordon. But I make you about right on this one!

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 19:52 - Sep 4 with 2672 viewsSharkey

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 13:58 - Sep 4 by J2BLUE

Ashton is yet to put a foot wrong. He has pulled off some incredible signings.

Now it's down to Cook. I thought our business was done and that we had a great window. Then we went and signed Walton, Celina and Morsy. This squad is ridiculous for this level. Anything other than promotion and Cook has failed.I have full confidence in him and think he would agree that it's promotion or failure.


I know there will be plenty who disagree, but for me the parading on the touch line to take applause should be left to players and manager. He seems a bit like the teacher who insists on being Hamlet in the school play.
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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 19:54 - Sep 4 with 2666 viewsVic

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 16:52 - Sep 4 by Churchman

Nah, your last three are not borderline embarrassing. Well beyond the line and residing in pitiful.

I know what you mean about management speak and it is the world we live in. We played a fair bit of bullish1t bingo at work. Just a few: blue sky thinking, touching base, quick wins, deep dives, peeling the onion, bottom up thinking, bite sized chunks, eating the elephant, horizon scanning, deliverables…… jeez

My buddy was told at some god awful ‘away day’ to ‘consider himself at the head of the v in a flock of geese. It’s ok to peel off and manoeuvre to the back of the v sometimes’. I’m amazed he didn’t assault the bloke.

Oh and don’t start me on ‘breakfast meetings’.
[Post edited 4 Sep 17:02]


You can really only use any of those once you’ve picked the low hanging fruit above the glass ceiling.

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Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 19:59 - Sep 4 with 2646 viewsbluestandard

Without wanting to open the can of worms again that is Bristol fans forum… on 18:57 - Sep 4 by Fixed_It

Article written in 2008. I might be slightly worried if Ashton wasn't answerable to Mike O'Leary. But he is, so I'm not.


Having read a pretty large sample of views of both Watford and Bristol fans, it is more than a little disconcerting to see the contempt in which they all hold Ashton. My take on what I’ve read so far for what it’s worth is that he seems to have some desirable CEO qualities, and from a footballing perspective he seems to have left the clubs he was at in a better position than when he arrived. The two red flags for me are a) potential for financial mismanagement, and b) his track record on professional relationships with his staff, media etc. Let’s hope he’s learnt a thing or two from his previous experiences…….
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