Former Bristol City winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce has suggested that the fear of a relegation scrap and owner Steve Lansdown’s ambitions to reach the Premier League were key factors in the sacking of Dean Holden, speaking exclusively to Football League World.
Holden was sacked by the club after their defeat to Reading on Tuesday evening, with the Robins having lost six on the bounce and won just three of their last 13 Championship games.
That run had seen City slip down into 13th in the league table – 10 points back from the play-offs and 10 points above the relegation zone – but with a difficult run of fixtures ahead and a congested schedule, they could fall further quickly.
The 41-year-old coach was Lee Johnson’s assistant for four years before being appointed as his permanent replacement last summer but his time with the South West club has now come to an end, something Campbell-Ryce indicated is a reflection of the modern game.
Speaking exclusively to Football League World, he said: “I just think in this day and age, you have a run of 6 defeats and anybody’s job is up for grabs. You’re struggling. I don’t think the game gives you time to right your wrongs.
“If you look at high profile managers that have left recently like Frank Lampard, for example. Chairmen will now look at things like that and think if the top clubs aren’t doing it, why should a Championship club like Bristol City allow results like that.
“They’re languishing down in mid-table, 13th in the league now, and Lee Johnson got sacked when they were 12th, so if you look at that, the chairman is probably thinking I let Lee go last year and he was in a better position, so why would I not do the same now.
“At the same time, Bristol City had that fantastic start to the season. Near the top of the league for quite a while and they’ve just had a bad run of form. It’s unfortunate but chairmen and owners don’t give managers time to put things right but that is football nowadays.”
The former Robins winger, who has made his first steps into coaching himself over the past few years, suggested that the fear of a relegation scrap and Lansdown’s Premier League ambitions were factors in Holden’s dismissal.
“I think it’s a bit of both,” he explained. “I think it’s partially fear of falling into a relegation scrap because everybody in the Championship believes that everyone can beat everyone. That is how the Championship is.
“Nobody is safe from going down. Look at the teams that have been relegated down to League One like your Leeds, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, these are clubs with a huge history of being Premier League sides that dropped down into League One.
“Sunderland are in League One now, they’re definitely a Championship club if not a Premier League club. Nobody is safe.
“But at the same time, I know that owner, I know that he’s extremely ambitious, and I know that the one thing that he’s hoping for is to guide Bristol City into the Premier League. Like I said, with Bristol City languishing in 13th at the moment, I think he feels he’s got no time to waste and he’s acted.”
For the second time in a year, City are now on the lookout for a new manager with assistant coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing taking charge of training at the moment.