Personal best of BfB

Between 2003 and 2011, Jason McKeown wrote for the popular Bradford City website boyfrombrazil.co.uk. Here some of my articles and match reports from this era which I was most proud of.

 

Players

To praise or to criticise, as part of their team role or to illustrate a wider point about the club – here are a selection of articles that were devoted or centred upon a particular player.

Managers

Win, lose or draw – debates about the merits of the current manager are rarely far away. Here’s a selection of articles about City gaffers of recent years.

Stuart McCall

April 2009 – the final curtain

Having vowed to quit if the play offs weren’t reached, a meaningless final home game looked set to be McCall’s final game before a ‘Save our Stuart’ supporter campaign helped to change his mind

April 2009 – Alan and Stuart

With Alan Shearer in caretaker charge of Newcastle United, at look at two legends giving everything for their club

January 2010 – Stuart McCall and the never ending cycle

A month before McCall eventually quit, poor results saw the pressure building on him

October 2010 – Which way up is the map supposed to be?

Eight months after driving away McCall, previous claims from his detractors that he had been holding back the club begin to look misguided

March 2011 – re-shifting of the goal posts

Another City legend takes the hotseat as passion comes back into vogue

Peter Taylor

February 2010 – Taylor’s arrival sparks more questions than answers

Taylor is confirmed as manager until the end of the season

August 2010 – How much should we analyse City’s uninspiring win over Stevenage?

A less than thrilling early season victory see the team booed off

September 2010 – Taking the next steps

Poor early season form sees Taylor’s relationship with City fans begin to feel the strain

October 2010 – the wrong man

A 1-0 home defeat to Morecambe leaves Taylor looking the wrong man for City – even if it’s not all his fault

October 2010 – Bury 0 Bradford City 1

Four wins from five games means Taylor’s pragmatic style can find favour…

January 2011 – the sad truth

…but in the end it proves too much to bear when results nosedive

February 2011 – Peter Taylor: outstanding appointment, outstanding failure

Taylor eventually resigns

Peter Jackson

March 2011 – the bus ride to Kent

Before his first game in charge, Jackson enjoys the initial popularity to make sweeping decisions

May 2011 – the managerial question that will probably come back to bite

A less than impressive interim period for Jackson leaves the Board with a tough decision over who to appoint as permanent manager

August 2011 – new season, new manager

Celebrating the fact Jackson was no supporter’s superhero, meaning more realistic expectations

Phil Parkinson

September 2011 – Parkinson looks to address the mentality but the problems run deep

Following a 2-1 home defeat to AFC Wimbledon, Parkinson believes the club has a losing culture

October 2011 – the walking stage

Parkinson’s functionalistic approach begins to take shape

Managers in general

February 2011 – the managerial failure cycle

A look at the managerial choices that followed the last successful boss, Paul Jewell

May 2009 – Todd, Robson and some unresolved history

A look back at how Bryan Robson and Colin Todd managed City and the result of their departures

February 2011 – why we should all feel very sad and also a little ashamed as Wayne Jacobs tends to the garden

Assistant to McCall and Taylor, Jacobs is booted out the club.

Match reports

A selection of match reports over the years that I either enjoyed writing or where I was pleased with how it turned out.

The 2006/07 season (23rd in League One)

The 2007/08 season (10th in League Two)

 

The 2008/09 season (9th in League Two)

The 2009/10 season (14th in League Two)

The 2010/11 season (18th in League Two)

The 2011/12 season (League Two)

Interviews

January 2011 – Mark Lawn, Bradford City Joint Chairman

“This club needs to be in the Championship. In the Championship we survive and we survive well. That’s where we need to be. The overheads suddenly don’t become as bad because we need this type of stadium to survive. Everything works in the Championship, once we get into the Championship. So everything needs to be directed on getting players to get us into the Championship.”

October 2011 – Archie Christie, former Bradford City Chief Scout and Head of Football Development

“I want to do it because I want to turn Bradford City into a giant. At Dagenham we went from the bottom of the conference into League One. We beat Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday and Colchester. Bradford City can go to the Championship, and we can compete with Leeds. And on an equal footing. Not as second term neighbours, but as equals. Our 20,000 against their 20,000. Our 11 versus their 11. That’s what I want and believe.”

August 2011 – Dominic Newton-Collinge, Bantams Banter presenter

“We want fans to feel, when they’re listening to it, that they’re getting an honest view on City matters. Like they’re at the game almost, sat next to their mate. We tend to say what we see, which is what all the fans do. And I think that’s why it has been so well received.”

August 2010 – Matthew Kett, Stevenage supporter and editor of former website fcboro.co.uk

“There were rumours that Taylor wasn’t very hands on while at Boro, but I don’t think his heart was ever in the job really. Taylor’s style of football was very much a direct approach. The players he signed showed this. We signed a lot of players with little or no technique, including Junior Lewis who seems to follow Taylor wherever he goes. He was one of the worst signings that season.”

Club direction

Articles which looked at what the club’s owners were doing – or not doing – well. This includes the Valley Parade rent negotiations in 2011 which for a time might have seen City leave their home.

“I think it’s wonderful that, as ticket prices continue to rise nationally and the Premiership becomes more and more removed from reality, my club has taken this fantastic lead in making the game more affordable for ordinary folk.”

“Reports are circulating today that City are considering moving to play at Odsal when it is redeveloped. When should really be if because for years we’ve heard fanciful talk of a super stadium springing up on Odsal top and it seems no closer than ever. Maybe this time it’s different, maybe one day pigs really will learn to fly.”

“Like any sensible business in these credit crunch times, a cautious but reasoned picture of the health of the club was presented from Lawn, Operations Director Dave Baldwin and manager Stuart McCall.”

“It may go down as one of most unsuccessful periods in the club’s history, but the noughties have been unforgettable.”

“There are genuine long-term concerns about what this new deal will do to the competitive nature of the Football League. In the Championship, clubs relegated from the Premier League will have such a huge advantage in terms of the money they have, compared to their rivals, that bouncing back within a couple of seasons should be much more of a regular occurrence than it currently is. And for clubs climbing into the Championship from Leagues One and Two, the inequality of solidarity payments will make it more difficult to catch up as time goes by.”

“BfB understands that Bradford City are attempting to negotiate with Valley Parade landlord Gordon Gibb over the terms of the current rental agreement.”

“The club has a net deficit on its assets. This means it has more liabilities (ie financial obligations, such as repaying loans) than assets (money owed to the club by other parties, etc). This is a terrible position for any company to be in, and some people – probably outside of the football industry – might even argue it should be wound up unless proof of future profit potential can be provided.”

“As the inks dries on the Prupim deal, it should not be quickly forgotten that – yet again – the Bantams have had to rely on their owners digging deep to preserve the club’s future.”

“If this strategy and this team can take City upwards, there would be a less likelihood of a nosebleed halfway on route to the top and fear that vast money must be found to sustain improvement. The speed of progress may be slower, but perhaps along the journey we’ll skip past a few clubs who had apparently spent their way to success, but are finding it a struggle to maintain momentum.”

Supporting

It’s not just about the football; attending matches and following the club is all about being part of a community of fans. It can be a joyful experience at times, but frustrating at others.

April 2008 – the confession

The 2007/08 season wasn’t sparkling on the field, but a hell of a lot of fun being in the away end on City’s travels

June 2008 – the silly season

The wait to sign new players ahead of the 2008/09 season had many fans in a fit of anger

September 2008 – good supporter, bad supporter debate part three

A couple of indifferent early season results put the club’s official message board under the spotlight

February 2009 – counting to ten

A poor afternoon in North London sparks anger amongst City fans

November 2009 – the moment

City defeat Port Vale on penalties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, sparking memorable celebrations

December 2009 – end of the ride

The Bantams bow out of the JPT against Carlisle in the quarter finals, but it was a great adventure for those of us who went to every round

February 2010 – back from the brink

The fear, despair, torture and ultimately the delirium of following City’s vital win at Torquay from back in Yorkshire

February 2010 – we gotta fight, fight, fight, fight, fight for this love

A call to arms preview of a daunting away trip to leaders Rochdale; a game we would win 3-1 on an evening of incredible backing from us travelling fans

April 2010 – saying our goodbyes

City’s final home game of the season means a long summer absent of seeing each other

October 2010 – everything but the popcorn

A 3-1 win over Cheltenham is played out in front of a positive Valley Parade crowd

Wider football

Every so often on BfB, we would cast our sights beyond the four corners of Valley Parade and to what else was happening in the football world.

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