Bristol City owner says Championship is 'division of death'

Stephen Lansdown and Aaron Wilbraham
Stephen Lansdown was watching as Bristol City won at Bradford City to seal promotion last week

Bristol City are ready to compete in "the division of death" following their promotion to the Championship, says owner Stephen Lansdown.

The Robins drew with Coventry on Saturday to seal the League One title.

"It is the division of death because of the teams coming down from the Premier League with big parachute payments," Lansdown, 62, told BBC Points West.

"But if you get a good team spirit together and invest in the right way you can compete."

Lansdown, a Bristol-born businessman who made his fortune in financial services, first became involved at Ashton Gate in 1996.

Since then, the club have already twice been promoted to English football's second tier only to drop back down to League One, though they did go on to reach the Championship play-off final in 2008, which they lost to Hull City.

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Bristol City will compete - Pelling

Under manager Steve Cotterill, City have now secured the third promotion of Lansdown's tenure, ending the club's 60-year wait for a league title in the process.

They also won the Football League Trophy for a record third time in March, beating Walsall 2-0 at Wembley.

"Sport is about winning and enjoying winning," said Lansdown. "We've had a great season and having two trophies in the cabinet at the end of it is unheard of.

"Now we need to not overstretch ourselves. If Bristol City become a top Championship side and are competing there on a regular basis that'll be a good starting point. Hopefully we can make that big step from there."

Of the 24 sides currently in the Championship, just six have not previously competed in the Premier League, with only two of those - Bournemouth and Brentford - in the top half of the table.

"It's a very tough playing field for Bristol City," added chief executive John Pelling. "But you get encouraged and inspired by the teams who are up there and competing at the moment.

"Middlesbrough haven't been in the Premier League for some time, Bournemouth are right up at the top and of the top six only Norwich have recently come out of the Premier League.

"We'll be competitive in there one way or another but it's a very, very hard league."

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