Veteran outlines hopes

James eyes promotion with Bristol City

July 31, 2010

David James revealed that he turned down more lucrative offers - including from Premier League clubs - to sign for Bristol City for football and family reasons, with the England goalkeeper immediately targeting a return to the top-flight with the Robins.

David James Bristol City unveiling
GettyImagesDavid James was given a warm reception by Bristol City fans

The England goalkeeper, who celebrates his 40th birthday tomorrow, turned down offers from Premier League clubs and Scottish giants Celtic in favour of signing a one-year deal at Ashton Gate.

It is a marriage of convenience for James, who lives in the south west in Exeter, as he realigns his priorities following a turbulent time at former club Portsmouth.

"The decision is predominantly to do with me being happy in a family environment to get the best out of me as a footballer and that wasn't possible staying in the Premier League,'' James said.

"The last four years, especially at Portsmouth, I lived a lot of the time away from home playing two games a week then that was me gone for the week.

"The period of injury last season where I couldn't leave Southampton because I had to be in every day was bad and it wasn't a happy environment for me and it didn't help me on the football side.

"But when I was fit again and could go home and do the family stuff things improved for me. The decision is about me being able to give my best as a footballer and I think the circumstances here will enable me to do that.

"But I wouldn't have joined just any club in the south west. Plymouth is nearer where I live but there is an opportunity at Bristol City to achieve Premier League representation. It might not be this season or the season after or the season after that, but the aim is to achieve that.''

James, who holds the record for the most clean sheets in the Premier League, insists winning promotion back to the top-flight with Bristol City would surpass that achievement.

"This is about being involved in an ambitious project to try to get into the Premier League," he said. "If I can be part of helping get Bristol City promoted it will be a bigger achievement that keeping 200 clean sheets in the Premier League.

"That's the intention. That's the motivation. Not money. I was offered more money elsewhere. I had opportunities to go to Scotland and I had other Premier League opportunities.''

Asked if Bristol City would be his last club, James said: "The contract is for a year. If things go according to plan it can be extended and provided I'm doing all the right things and we're in the Premier League, why move? There are a few years left in my legs yet.''

James was paraded before City fans at the club's pre-season friendly against Blackpool at Ashton Gate on Saturday.