This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
It is one of football’s great inevitabilities that success will always bring with it the price of unwanted attention.
There is no secret that whenever a player performs to a consistently high standard, they will receive interest from a club further up the footballing pyramid with more funds and a more lucrative offer to make to an individual, in order to reap the benefits for themselves, as they go in search of their own, expected and much-desired successes, be it trophies, survival, or promotion.
The fact is, however, while it is often the big money signings on the pitch that claim much of the headlines and focus on a day to day basis, that desire to poach someone else’s most valuable assets also applies to managers, and one club who appear to have had a recent brush with that threat of the so-called bigger fish, are Bristol City.
According to a recent report from the Bristol Post, Robins manager Lee Johnson was recently considered for the managerial role at Watford, which was vacated by Javi Gracia and then filled – for the second time in his career – by Quique Sanchez Flores in the space of half an hour on Saturday afternoon.
But while Bristol City ultimately survived that scare of losing their manager to a side in the division above them, the fact is that this is a threat that will likely raise its head again at some point in the not too distant future.
The desire for success in football these days is such that, at the top level of the game, one run of poor results can be enough to cost a manager his job, which often leaves several sides a year searching for a new boss, and right now, Johnson would surely be an attractive proposition for plenty of clubs who are likely to find themselves in that position between now and the end of May.
Having taken over a Bristol City side battling relegation from the Championship in February 2016, Johnson has now turned the club into consistent challengers for a play-off spot in the second tier of the English football, and that is evidently, and understandably, not going unnoticed amongst those in the level above.
The fact that Johnson has overseen a rise from relegation-battlers to play-off contenders – and in a relatively short space of time no less – is likely to have some in the Premier League believing that Johnson could do the same for them were he to make the step.
Of course, it is not just the fact that that attention is there that will be a concern to Bristol City, with the Robins likely to be well aware that it could be difficult to hold off an approach from a Premier League club for Johnson, given the desire he will surely have to test himself in the top flight of English football.
Considering the start to the season that the Robins have had – with three wins and two draws from their opening six games putting them fifth in the early standings – it does seem as though Bristol City are in a position to compete to give Johnson that top tier opportunity themselves.
With interest from elsewhere already emerging, it seems that Johnson may need to reach that new level of success with Bristol City sooner rather than later, especially if the club are to have the best chance possible of keeping him at Ashton Gate.