By Jason McKeown
Hello Gianni. Or should I say “ciao”.
I understand that you are interested in buying Bradford City Football Club. And that talks are very advanced. So I thought that I would appoint myself as some form of Bradford City supporter ambassador and say hello. And to tell you a bit more about the football club you could be about to take control of.
Of course, you already know much about us after you arranged to make Benito Carbone the highest paid player in our history, back in 2000. Yeah, thanks for that Gianni. Don’t get me wrong. we really enjoyed his wonderful skills, and most of us would agree he is the finest player we have seen in a Bradford City shirt. But, well, the lucrative deal that you got for your client almost bankrupted us.
Gianni did you know that, since 2000, the most we have paid for one player is just £50k? That’s only just above how much Carbone was earning every week at Valley Parade. Still, if the rumours are true, I guess you are about to blow that out of the water with the transfer fees Bradford City could be paying this summer.
Anyway Gianni, we let bygones be bygones. Sure, Carbone and the financial madness of that era was the catalyst for going into administration twice, being stuck having to pay rent to use our own home, and falling from the top flight to the bottom rigs of League Two. But hey, no one forced us to commit to such a stupid deal with you in the first place. And anyway Gianni, we chucked plenty of money at other players too. (You weren’t Ashley Ward’s agent too, were you?)
Besides Gianni, we are bouncing back! You probably saw us defeat Chelsea 4-2 on Match of the Day a few months back. That was the highlight of an amazing few years. The things we have seen since 2012, Gianni! The nights against Wigan, Arsenal, Aston Villa (twice), Leeds. We reached the League Cup Final. We were promoted at Wembley. And after the Chelsea win, we defeated Sunderland and made it all the way to the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Did you have any cup runs at QPR, Gianni?
The point is we are on our way back. Sure, we lost 6-0 the other night and it was utter garbage. But we don’t judge these players too badly, they have given us so much.
Did you know that our main striker used to the stack shelves of the local co-op, Gianni? This is what we are about. We are working class club and we have working class values. We don’t know what ‘Boutique Club’ means. We are from Bradford. Home of numerous pound shops. This is an important point, Gianni. You see Bradford is not London, and those large and vocal Valley Parade crowds you have heard about, they are aided by the cheapest season tickets in the land. £199 they were last season, Gianni. Apparently you used to charge £750 at QPR.
Yeah, that sh*t won’t fly around here.
You need to understand what we are about Gianni, otherwise you will fail. You need to realise that this team, whilst it has its limitations, embodies the spirit of the fans. We want to cheer on players who give their all, who see playing for Bradford City as a privilege. Sure, they make a good living out of us, but that is not their primary focus. We hear you might give the manager £10 million to buy players this summer, but please don’t waste it on mercenaries who don’t care. We won’t tolerate them.
And please Gianni, be very respectful of Phil Parkinson. At QPR you were part of a hire and fire culture that from the outside looked like chaos. Phil has taken City from struggling at the foot of League Two to where we are today. He has beaten Roberto Martinez, Arsene Wenger, Paul Lambert, Gus Poyet and, of course, Jose Mourinho. He has engineered miracle after miracle.
Be patient with him, Gianni. He is not your man but he is ours and as a fanbase we almost universally love him. Phil makes mistakes (Aaron would become your problem too if you buy the club, Gianni), but he gets a lot more right than he does wrong. Even with your lengthy list of contacts, I’m not sure if you can find a better fit for Bradford City.
What else? Well we wear claret and amber, Gianni. And we are very proud of our unique colours. Oh and we like the name ‘Bradford City’ too. I’m not saying you’d want to change these little things by going on some mad power trip. But we’ve seen other football owners attempt to introduce such strange ideas and we don’t want a repeat.
Don’t even think about it.
In summary Gianni, we are really proud of what we have achieved over the last three seasons, and the fact we have done it all ourselves. The spirit around the place is fantastic, and our support is the envy of many a club up and down the land.
We have ambitions to get into the Championship at least, and if you believe you can help us to do that we may welcome your input (we are not sure we can afford it ourselves). If you want to buy Valley Parade for us that sounds great, although if you are going to buy it for yourself and rent it to us we are not fully sure if we want to get into such an agreement – we’ve had one bad experience of dealing with a landlord.
If you don’t understand what we are about, or can’t guarantee you won’t destroy or erode our spirit, then please don’t bother to come along. Don’t derail everything we have achieved just because you are “bored”.
We are an introverted bunch in many ways, and we have enjoyed the idea of having Bradford City fans as owners. We’re not saying you’re not welcome, and that we can’t work together, but we need you to understand our values and our ethics. To care about what we care about.
Let us know what you think, Gianni.