David Baldwin: next season’s planning underway


By Jason McKeown

The Bradford City Chief Executive, David Baldwin, has confirmed to Width of a Post that planning for next season’s playing squad has already begun, with talks commencing with the out-of-contract players about their futures.

City are also starting to look at new players to bring in during the summer. “There is a talent identification process going on, and a hit list of targets in all positions and throughout the whole squad,” David explained. “We are looking at who we have got in the building, who we have got in the building who is out of contract, and who is out there in the market place that could fit the Bradford City mould.

“We want the dynamics to be right in terms of if they would fit in with the team, ones that will wear the shirt with pride.”

Reflecting on City’s performance during the 2013/14 season, David admitted that the club has struggled at times due to the opposition working out City, and the higher quality of the division. “The adapting for us in the league this season was that people worked out what we are about. It is also a much better division. It is extremely easy to fall out of, and it’s also extremely hard to get out of the other end. So being somewhere in the middle, and being in a comfortable position, is a nice thing.”

Nevertheless, David feels the club has navigated the season effectively and that key to reversing the autumn/winter nosedive in form was not panicking. “The reality is that the actions that were taken in January to freshen up the squad is a typical stand-back-and-don’t-panic approach,” he added. “And if you take the results as they have been from mid-February through to the end of the season, barring a little bit of inconsistency, the return of points has been much better than the middle block.”

David also reiterated that the long-term ambition is to get back into the Championship, and how suitably placed the club is to thrive in the second tier. He said, “It’s very dangerous to put a specific time on it, but we want to push to get to the Championship. We don’t want to be a yo-yo club that comes straight back down, we want to be sustainable there.

“The beauty for us as a club is that our infrastructure is set up for the Championship. We have the training facilities, the stadium is right, the fan numbers are right because the ticket prices are right.”

A full in-depth interview with David Baldwin (two parts), reviewing the 2013/14 season and looking to the future, will appear on Width of a Post next week, from Monday lunchtime.

Categories: Interviews

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8 replies

  1. Hi Jason, It’s good to hear from DB that planning for next season’s squad has already started and that we have identified both potential and suitable targets to enhance the squad but equally those who won’t be offered new contracts. That’s a huge improvement on last season where the uncertainty of the play-offs was naturally a constraint on being able to finalise the type of players we were interested in.

    However, I have a concern about DB’s statement that promotion to the Championship is a longer term objective. Whilst this may well be the case, it does conflict with ML’s own comment on the club’s Championship aspirations. At the time that PP signed his contract extension in May 2013, ML commented to the T&A that he expected City to be promoted within PP’s new contract term, ie by the end of the 2015/16 season. What’s changed so much in less than 12 months?

    • Hi Dennis

      I am not sure why the two statements conflict each other. They are both talking about getting to the Championship over a timeframe. Mark is more specific on his expectations of when, but that is the only difference. As you will see in the full interview next week, David is reluctant to put a timeframe on when that might happen and I think that is sensible.

      I think that it is fair on Mark Lawn’s part to be expecting City to be promoted to the Championship over the term of Phil’s contract, as that is where we want to be.

    • With respect, he said what has changed in the 12 months. They’ve found League 1 more difficult than anticipated and putting any time span on aspirations is surely leaving the club open to more scrutiny & criticism. I Think its a very refreshing interview & look forward to the full version next week. I think DB is far more honest & realistic by confirming that our ambition is the Championship & stability there. We need to walk before we run, there are some good teams in Lge 1 who have been trying for several years to get up. Thats not to say if we had another great season we wouldn’t accept it.

      I don’t think theres anyone to fear coming down or up this year but it will be competitive again. PP gave certain players a chance last year through loyalty but i think next year will see a far more ruthless streak an some might not be here despite being fans favourites. The clubs progress must come before any sentimentality to any individuals in my opinion.

  2. It would help the club if those running Bradford City Football Club didn’t put ‘making life easier for themselves’ above what is best for the football club, I lost a bit of faith in Baldwin when it was decided to put the away fans back into the Bradford End, the first retrograde step made by those running the football club for years.

  3. Dear Sean

    I would be happy to meet with you to discuss the full rational behind putting the away fans back into the TL Dallas with the provision to add any increased requirement to the last 3 blocks of the Midland Road stand without having to displace a single season ticket holder.

    To arrange an appointment , just drop me an email with your time availabilty to davidbaldwin@the-bantams.co.uk

    One question I would like you to consider is that the last 3 blocks of Midland Road and also the TL Dallas stand have approx 1900 seats in each area , therefore in relation to the Sheff Utd , Rotherham and Wolves game where the away following were approaching 3000 each game . Had we still been using the TL Dallas for home fans , where would you have safey placed the additional 1000 away fans for 3 games without displacing a single season ticket holder and complying with safe seperation of home and away fans that would be agreeable to the police?

    Given that 3000 extra fans over those 3 away clubs generates approximately £51000 towards the managers player budget .

    Kind Regards

    Note I will not be making any furher comment on a public forum but will respond to any email sent to me on the above address.

    • Dear David,

      I’d move the BCFC Midland Road season ticket holders next season if there is a large away support as has been done in years previously. It’s much safer to have all the away fans in one stand rather than split between two stands as is the case when any team brings a substantial away support, basically the same setup as has been used successfully since Mark Lawns idea of putting BCFC fans back into the Bradford End was implemented when Stuart McCall became manager, If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. I like the idea of giving BCFC the best chance of collecting three points or winning cup games, I believe having both Arsenal and Villa fans in the Bradford End last season may have changed the whole dynamic of those two games in regards to both the results and atmosphere created by both sets of opposition supporters. In my opinion the changing of the set up of the ground in regards to this season was poor thinking in regards to how it would effect the whole dynamic of the ground and the atmosphere created by the away support and how that would help the opposition.

      • Hi Sean

        Although I didn’t bring up the Midland Road/Bradford End issue with David during our interview, so I’m not defending his views as such, I think it’s worth noting that in the past many Midland Road season ticket holders have issued their displeasure at being moved from their seats on a one-off basis to accommodate large away followings. It’s clearly difficult to please everybody, but I guess I would not be happy if I was asked to move from my seat on four or five occasions during a season, especially given the fact games against teams with bigger away supporters are invariably the biggest games of the season, where you want to be in your seat around the people you know.

        I always think Burnley are a good comparison with the issues of away fans in the Bradford End. The dressing rooms at Turf Moor are located under the away stand and I imagine that home players must often hear nothing but opposition fans making a racket just before they come out. Their outstanding home record suggests that this isn’t an issue though. I guess it is what you are used to.

        The final thing to say with the Bradford End is that the number of City fans sitting there was clearly dwindling year-on-year. I’m not knocking anyone who used to sit there, but it had a poor reputation for people slating the team. As someone who has a season ticket in the Kop, I think the atmosphere in this stand has improved with each year people have moved away from the Bradford End. I don’t, however, know if the Kop is viewed as louder than it was to the rest of the ground.

      • Hi Jason,
        It does seem that most teams do not agree in terms of putting away fans behind the goal area. In fact it seems more that clubs are moving fans away from those areas, clubs doing this recently in football league games are Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, also the continental teams seem to have the away support about as far away from the footballing action as possible. You make a good point regarding the games people would be expected to move at Valley Parade but as I alluded to above would BCFC have got the same results against Arsenal and Villa last season with those away fans on two sides of the ground at Valley Parade, I think not. Games don’t come much bigger and there was a great atmosphere, can’t seem to remember much carping about BCFC fans being moved from the Midland Road stand nor should there have been. I believe more should have been done to get BCFC fans into the Bradford End area of the ground, as for the quality of support coming from that stand, I’m afraid the days of backing the team unconditionally are long gone but getting more folk in there would have been key as that may have drowned out the loan cat calls. For me it seems absolute madness to change the ground dynamic after arguably Bradford City Football Club’s most successful season in living memory.

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