By Jason McKeown
The Bradford City joint chairmen Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes are targeting a financial push for the Championship in the 2016/17 season, according to information disclosed by the Bradford City Supporters’ Board.
As part of the release of the October 2014 minutes from a meeting held on Monday 27 October, the Supporters’ Board has reported that the Board’s minimum expectation for this season and next is a top half League One finish. A note states that outgoing Chief Executive David Baldwin, “outlined a number of the issues facing the Clubs (sic) budget but indicated that the current budget strategy was to aim for a minimum finish in the top half of the League this season and next season which would create a financial platform for a targeting the Championship.”
On the possibility of squad strengthening this season, the Supporters’ Board disclosed that “the current playing budget could only be revised by changes in the squad as there was no additional funds to introduce new players and the Manger (sic) was well aware of this”.
This welcome insight into the club’s thinking does throw up a number of talking points: chiefly the expectations around Phil Parkinson. When signing a three-year contract in May 2013, following promotion from League Two, there was a general feeling that the City manager would need to have the club pushing for a place in the Championship by 2016 in order to earn another contract.
Instead, this disclosure suggests that Parkinson is required to repeat or better last season’s 11th-place finish over the next two seasons – so that a stronger promotion push can occur the year after. It will be interesting to see if achieving only this minimum target would result in a contract extension offer, or if it would prompt a change of manager.
It’s also unclear how two more top-half-League-One-finishes would “create a financial platform for a targeting the Championship (sic)”, although there is a Supporters’ Board note that David “reminded the Supporters Board of the favourable financial position achieved over the past 3 seasons from a very poor position”.
A more public announcement is expected soon from the club, regarding the 2013/14 accounts, and WOAP hopes for, and looks forward to, more clarity over the club’s long-term strategy of climbing up the football ladder.