BLIND FAN LETS STEVE SEE SENSE
STEVE Cotterill dedicated Bristol City’s first win in seven matches to longtime fan John Tovey and his guide dog after an emotional chance encounter at a coffee shop.
Cotterill met Tovey at the Costa coffee shop in Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, this week and the pair struck up a conversation.
Tovey had spent time in prison for fighting before losing his sight due to diabetes. But he has since turned his life around and is now mentoring youngsters to try to ensure they do not go down the same path he did.
Cotterill promised Tovey he would record a first home win of the season for him against Nottingham Forest on Friday night and City duly delivered thanks to two early Aaron Wilbraham goals.
The Robins boss said:“I ended up fussing this guide dog while queueing up for a coffee and started speaking to his owner, who was a guy called John Tovey.
“He said to me, ‘Do I know that voice?’ – and asked me if I had anything to do with the Bristol City tattoo he had on his arm? I told him who I was and he became quite emotional.
“The dog was called Des and John and I had a great chat together. I said we would win the game for them and I kept my promise. John and Des, this one is for you.
“I don't think he’d mind me saying it, but John had been a bit of a naughty boy in his younger days and had turned his life around. He now gives talks to young offenders and helps other people. How fantastic is that?”
Bristol City took the lead after four minutes when Wilbraham’s deflected shot went past Dorus de Vries at his near post.
And it was 2-0 after just 11 minutes when the City captain pulled off Kelvin Wilson to head in Derek Williams’ excellent cross from the left.
Wilbraham would have had a first hat-trick in almost seven years had it not been for a fine double save by De Vries.
Forest did have chances to get back into the contest though. Henri Lansbury’s classy volley struck the upright and City goalkeeper Frankie Fielding made a superb reflex save to deny Jack Hobbs’ header from a corner. But the Robins held on for their first home win since May - an 82 drubbing of Walsall no less - and just their second victory of the campaign to move off the bottom of the Championship.
"We never deserved to be bottom of the table because we have played like that in other games this season and been punished for errors,” added Cotterill.
“Looking at the table over the last fortnight has made us angry, rather than despondent, and that was the reaction I expected.”
Forest currently have a host of injuries but Freedman refused to make excuses.
“A lot of managers and coaches will try to twist things and make some excuses and look to cover their own backs. I am not going to make excuses,” Freedman said.
“We are missing players in key positions, but those first 20 minutes were nowhere near good enough if you want to play for this club. That is why we lost.
“I will look at things head on. I will not duck away from this; I will make sure we address these issues.
“It was as poorly as we have played under me, in those first 20 minutes. That was as bad as I have seen us play,I am disappointed for the fans.
“It is not about explaining why things have happened, it is about doing something about it to change it. We will dust ourselves down and we will get back into training.
“We will work on the things we did badly in those first 20 minutes.”
GOOD WIL HUNTING: Aaron Wilbraham scores his and Bristol City’s first goal
STAR MAN AARON WILBRAHAM Bristol