By 90Min
February 18, 2018

Bristol City's billionaire owner Stephen Lansdown was fed up with sport in his city being a joke, and made it his responsibility to change the culture in the city. 

Lansdown started the reshaping of the City's sport culture with a £45m renovation to Ashton Gate stadium, and added the Bristol Rugby club to the fold. He also founded the Bristol Flyers, who now compete in the top-flight. 

As reported by the Mirror, Lansdown claims that this is only 'the start of the journey', and has been molding Bristol City using the example of Barcelona. 

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

“I wanted to get to the stage where people were proud of any sport played in Bristol. I asked myself: 'How could I make that happen?'

“It needed a catalyst. And it needed leadership. We stepped in because the council wasn't in a position to do so."

Lansdown made his money from a financial trading company founded from a bedroom, yet he sold his share some years ago. He had long been a supporter of Bristol rugby, yet believed the path to change went through a different sport. 

“Football is the greatest game on earth. It generates passion like no other. It's number one. It's an incredible business with incredible reach."

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Lansdown knows that Bristol itself is far from being Barcelona, and that the local clubs may never reach the same level as the Catalonia giants. 

"We are too far behind the curve to ever be a mega-club. Perhaps in 100 years with sustained success that might be the case. But not now."

For football, Bristol City has its sights set on the Premier League, one way of achieving success in Lansdown's eyes. In addition to winning and drawing the support of Bristol, Lansdown wants to win the hearts of the people.

Michael Steele/GettyImages

“Sport has incredible social power,” he said, “we have walking football clubs, walking basketball clubs, we are active in Golden Memories, which is to do with dementia.

"There is so much going on underneath that football clubs do not always get credit for. That's a shame because sport puts smiles – and tears – on people's faces.

"I just hope that in 50, 60 or 70 years time sport in Bristol is still doing that.”

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