Love will tear us apart

Image by Thomas Gadd (copyright Bradford City)

By Jason McKeown

As temperature tests go, Bradford City’s low uptake of season ticket sales for next season demonstrates a frosty front from City supporters towards their club. Sales are some 4-5,000 down on this time a year ago, and this week’s deadline before the prices start to rise would seemingly rule out a significant rally of sales over the final weeks of the campaign. The club is on course to kick off next season with substantially fewer season ticket holders than the 18,000 who signed up for this one. And that is a big disappointment.

We will all have our own thoughts on this topic. For many Bradford City supporters, having a season ticket and going to Valley Parade every fortnight is a way of life. And it has more importance than the performances on the field. As a club, we have had endured far worse seasons than this one, in recent memory, and a first backwards step since 2012 is no reason to step back.

Others will have their reasons for not renewing, and feel justified in their grievances about the way the season has unfolded. It could be anger at the owners, the players, or just fellow fans. They may return quickly, should City bounce back strongly from their current under-performance, or they could in time prove to be the first of a flood.

The cheap season ticket initiative of the past decade has been superb, but the true nature of the loyalty the club has acquired from more recent supporters might just be about to face its biggest test.

Yet ultimately we all suffer. A drop off in season ticket revenue will damage the strength of the playing budget, and with it City’s hopes of progressing on the field. It could add to the list of reasons why Simon Grayson might choose to leave the club. It might affect the calibre of players the club is able to attract. In the long run, it could hinder City’s commitment to keep football affordable.

But rather than criticise stay-away fans, a more preferable route surely has to be to put an arm around them and encourage them to stick around. The atmosphere in and around Bradford City has become dreadful over the past few months, with everyone arguing about everything.

An unsolvable argument has broken out between those for and against the owners and their strategy. It has become an unedifying spectacle. Claws are dug in on both sides. Entrenched views have become more embedded. No one wants to change their opinion and suggest they are wrong.

Yet that has led to a lack of humility, which runs right to the top of the club, and a reluctance to acknowledge misjudgements. And that seems wrong, because the way in which the rails have fallen off this season suggests there should be a greater degree of accountability. Decisions that have been taken have proved to be the wrong ones, and there should be a learning process going on to ensure mistakes are not repeated.

Top of that list is the season-defining decision to sack Stuart McCall. As a football supporter, there is a no element in and around the club that produces stronger emotional views than the merits of the man in the dugout. Stuart McCall’s performance as manager was not perfect, and those fans who called for his sacking were entitled to air their opinions.

But whatever your personal beliefs on the decision to dismiss him two months ago, there has to be an acknowledgment that – amongst the majority – support for McCall was still very strong. So whether you think it was a justified sacking or not, a decision was ultimately taken that the majority of the Bradford City community disagreed with.

The damage is there for all to see. As fans, we will always disagree on aspects of how the club is run, and that will mean seeing decisions made that you don’t agree with. But if the majority of fans feel a certain way, there should be a greater level of respect shown towards that viewpoint. Even if it is contrary to how you feel. And those who were for McCall’s dismissal still fail to appreciate that point. “Get over it” those of us who disagreed with the sacking are continually told. But this was an incredibly emotive topic, and a lot of people still feel very strongly about what happened.

If those people feel ignored or dismissed, it is not hard to understand why they might conclude they would rather sit out next season.

Especially because nothing that has followed has demonstrated the decision to sack McCall was the right one. City might have lost six games in a row – or 8 in 10 – at the end of McCall’s reign, but most fans could appreciate the difficult circumstances he was operating under, and valued the fact the team were still inside the play offs, probably overachieving.

The reasons Stefan Rupp gave for sacking McCall have not aged well. “We considered the risk was too high to do nothing. So then you have to pull the emergency brake really hard … We are running out of games. If we had waited for the next five or six, all of a sudden we could have been out of the play-off places in 11th or 12th place … We need someone who walks in and simply starts straight away because he knows how to do it.” The applying of the emergency brake did not stop the rut. And six games later, City are indeed out of the play places and down in 11th place.

In other words, what Rupp and Rahic feared by sticking with McCall has come to pass by sacking him. In that respect, the decision has not worked out as hoped. There is time to change that, but no margin for error in the run-in. And the club’s form since 3 January 2018 offers no encouragment this team can win six or seven of the last eight games.

Of course, there is no guarantee results would have been better had McCall stuck around. But with most fans still behind him, and the players more bought into his ways than they appear to be under Simon Grayson, there was a greater chance. In contrast, the backdrop of negativity and anger prompted by McCall’s sacking has not helped the club’s efforts.

And those who had lost faith in McCall were always going to get their wish anyway. He was out of contract in the summer. He was not going to get a new deal under Rahic. But his excellent win ratio, and consistency in keeping City in the top six, coupled with the majority of support he retained from fans, earned him the right to fail. To bow out in the summer, either way. Season ticket sales would not be as damaged.

We will never know if McCall could have arrested the slide, and if City could be in a much stronger position to reach the play offs than they are now. But what we do know is that sacking him for very short-term reasons has not gone to plan, unless there is a very late and incredibly spectacular run of form, starting at Blackpool. More patience was merited. More respect for how most fans felt should have occurred. And while you cannot turn back the clock, the inquest into what went wrong this season has to show there were bigger reasons for the slump than who happened to be the manager.

(The answer, by the way, is very poor recruitment. Edin’s strategy is still a good one, in my opinion, just badly executed since last summer.)

You are not going to get Rahic stating he was wrong to sack McCall. You won’t get the minority of fans who supported the dismissal acknowledging that, in hindsight, he wasn’t the biggest problem. And, on the other side of the coin, you are not going to be able to shake off the anti-Edin fraction that has built up over recent weeks. And you’re not going to find fans who feel betrayed by what happened quickly getting over it.

So we’re in a bit of a mess. A civil war where there can be no winner. And the only hope of a peace deal rests on this group of players pulling out of the nosedive, and winning some football matches. Unless the mood somehow ticks upwards a few degrees during the final few weeks of the campaign, expect the bad feelings to last through the summer. And my goodness, won’t the team need a strong start to next season.

But whether you have renewed or held back. Feel happy with the owners or are questioning their judgement. Support the players or are hoping for a clear out. One element should be clear – we’re all City fans. It’s easy for folk on each side of the debate to fling arrows over the fence with the accusation the other lot aren’t true supporters. Just because someone is upset, it doesn’t mean they don’t want what’s best for the club. Just because someone didn’t rate McCall as a manager, it doesn’t mean they aren’t true Bradford City fans. It has become difficult for every supporter to respect other people’s views, which is very depressing, but we ultimately all share the same goals.

No one should feel chased out of Bradford City. No one should feel they aren’t listened to or valued. The club cannot afford to lose fans. And we as a community we should not chuck away years of progress. We’re all City ’til we die, and we’ve got to find a way to rebuild this fragmented landscape.

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Categories: Opinion

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44 replies

  1. Agreed with a lot of that to start with, but unfortunately it just descended into another “stuart shouldnt have been sacked” rant we have seen many of times before.. The post asks for fans to unite and rally together, but then goes on to have more dig after dig at the owners. I read a lot of posts on here, but it seems the general agenda is brainwash somehow, the readers into an anti owner propaganda campaign. Fans wont unite, whilst this sort of stuff still happpens

    • There is no agenda to brainwash anyone. There is no anti owner propaganda campaign. I am trying to reflect in a balanced way that a lot of people are upset and it’s time certain people respect other people’s right to feel upset.

      That people are upset is nothing to do with us. In contrast to the way people talk about Bradford City at the moment, WOAP is tame.

    • I’ll be honest Mark I never took what you said from the article. It sounded very balanced to me well done Jason a great read

  2. Having followed City a number of years (52 in my case) we have always had periods of euphoria along with times in the doldrums. Usually far more of the latter. The recent new arrivals to the stands have enjoyed an abundance of highs (promotion, cup run etc.) in a relatively short period of time.
    We are at present in one of our troughs but it is no reason to abandon all hope and their seat in the stands. For all you males out there deliberating on renewing just imagine being dragged around the shops on a Sat afternoon or being handed a decorating brush. Surely its worth the price of a season ticket to escape that!
    My present lifestyle of spending 6 months of the season in Oz visiting my daughters and living the rest of the year in Cornwall means at present I expect to get to maybe 3 home games a season but have just renewed my season ticket again. Having a near sold out situation means that, though not massive due to the ticket prices the budget is more easily managed and the clubs financial state is more stable.

  3. Edin has made far too many mistakes and hasn’t owned up to them. The only person to be held to account was McCall and he was the one who had us punching above our weight.
    Morale is shot amongst players, staff and supporters due to Edins treatment of people and the squad has been transformed from one which almost made it into the championship a year ago into one that now looks like certain relegation candidates next year.
    The only way to turn this around is by admitting what a disaster they’ve made of the current squad and investing heavily to put it right. However, given the reduced budget that poor season ticket sales will bring along with the money already going out to revamp the pitch and the limited number of bigger earners out of contract, I have severe doubts as to whether that investment will be forthcoming. They’ve spent a lot already but they’ve made such a mess of the squad that they’ll be forced to spend even more if they are to put it right.

    I’ve renewed because it’s what I do but I certainly don’t blame people who havnt.

  4. According to the club twitter feed we have sold nearly 8000 tickets. I thought that was very good especially with all the bad feeling around at the moment.

    I didn’t realise it was 4-5000 down on last season though

    Hopefully we can keep Grayson and give him a competitive budget next season

    • Hi Wayne, on 6 April 2017, the club reported we’d sold over 17,000 season tickets so we’re not just 4/5,000 down, we’re a massive 9,000 down. I’m no “Johnny come lately” supporter, having watched City for decades, but I’m one of the 9,000 who haven’t renewed.

      • Hi Steven

        I was just saying what was in the article about been down in sales but if it is more it wouldn’t surprise me but selling 8000 has.

        I honestly thought it would be less but pleasantly surprised. Would be great to get to 15000 but I cant see it

  5. Thank you for writing what so many Bradford City supporters are feeling at the moment.

    This season has felt disappointing for so many reasons but ultimately for me it’s summed up by how our former manager was treated. Putting aside the fact that Stuart McCall is a Bradford City legend, his record as manager during his second spell speaks volumes. The owners should have stuck with him but as they own the club they make the decisions which I appreciate. But not all owners make the right decisions; look at what is happening at Blackpool and Charlton Athletic.

    However, when our former manager gets the biggest cheer at an away game less than two months after he was sacked, it tells you a lot about the state that our football club is in at the moment.

    It was always going to be a challenge when the remaining 2012/2013 History Makers left BD8 but Stuart got us punching above our weight. However the lack of bonding between most of the players and the supporters has been telling this season.

    For what it’s worth, I think that we will do well to reach 60 points by the end of this season and I do not think that Grayson will be our manager at the beginning of next season.

    I don’t believe in our current owners at this moment in time, however I have renewed my season ticket for next season.

  6. Hard to disagree with anything in that article. Its easy to say forget whats happened and just move on like sacking McCall was the answer to all our problems. Its quite clear from the results and performances since he has gone that far from being the problem, he had actually held the whole thing together longer than the tools supplied to him warranted.

    Simon Grayson is as proven as any manager at this level but he hasn’t been able to get a lift in results or performance, a damning statistic only further backing the questioning of the panic decision to sack the manager. Grayson already has called the commitment and quality of the players at his disposal into question, this needs to be seriously addressed for next season regardless of whether Grayson is here or not.

    So on to next season, i’m about to renew my tickets. There was never any doubt i would but not because i follow this club blindly like a sheep following a dodgy shepherd. I follow in the hope of seeing my team progressing and enjoying the experience that goes with it. As is rightly said in the opening article when long standing fans are questioning their support of the club its business suicide to stick your head in the sand and deride these fans as ‘unloyal’. This bad feeling around the club at the present time seems to go beyond the borders of loyally following the team, ignoring it is just dumb insolence. Don’t lose the next generation of fanbase because without it this club will fall ungraciously back to obscurity, which for some very strange reason seems to appeal to a small core of this clubs support.
    Me? Nah. i’d rather have those stands as full as possible, not going back to the dark days of less than 10,000 in league 2. I’ve better things to do with my time than watch us go back there.

    • As you say, Don, Simon Grayson has been unable to get a lift in results and performance but I worry that no new manager would have been able to achieve any improvement with the current crop of players. They all appeared very close, perhaps too close, to Stuart whose sour relationship with Edin Rahic seems to have rubbed off on them and been made worse by the events at Yeovil. I can think of no other explanation as to why a previously decent team (whether ‘over achieving’ or not) can turn so quickly into what we see now. We often hear the phrase ‘the manager has lost the dressing room’ – in this case it looks like its the owners who have lost it and I fear Simon Grayson may be fighting a lost cause with this squad. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
      In over 60 years of following City I have seen many bad times, receivership, administrations, re-elections etc and whilst the present situation isn’t comparable to those, what is comparable is the concern and worry for the future.
      I’ve still renewed both my season tickets though!

  7. There’s just one part of this that I don’t agree with. I don’t agree that the only way out of the mess is for a miraculous return to form that sees us into the playoffs. Let’s face it the playoffs are gone for this season.

    The only feasible way out of the mess at the moment is to have a clear out of players in the summer, to back Grayson by recruiting the Caliente of players he thinks we need for a promotion challenge so that he stays around, to sort the pitch out once and for all. This will all need the owners to dig deep and spend some significant money because they’ve a huge shortfall in season ticket sales to make up before they start!

    If this doesn’t happen then we’re well on the way to becoming the next club ruined by clueless owners and a return to L2 becomes a huge possibility.

  8. I am firmly in the camp that SM should have been given untill the end of the season. Stuart’s lack of tactical awareness was tempered by his motivational skills and love for the club. Rahic couldnt wait to sack Stuart but the grass is not always greener is it Edin?

    Rahic lacks the common touch and it certainly appears to be a vanity project thus far with no repect shown towards players, fans, management, staff and club sponcers alike.

    Where’s the accounatability? There hasn’t been any. Recruitment has been the biggest failure this season closley followed by Rahic’s lack of accountability to take any responsibility in breaking up a sucessful squad that came so close to promotion last season.

    Money has been spent and wasted on replacement players such as Poleon, Reeves and McCarten. Combined fees of 600k plus 450k on wages for the season. It’s a hefty outlay and that’s the Wells money well and truely spent.

    I believe there is much better value out there and paying fees for players at this level is not necessary in my view. Along with the signing of German players frankly not could enough for conference North level. Again who is accountable for recruitment? Nobody it seems although we have a head of football and recruitment.

    I havent felt the love or connection from Rahic only mistake after mistake and contridiction after contridiction. What makes matters worse is Millwall with virtually the same squad of players are knocking on the door of the play offs. A team we were better than last season.

    Next season will be my 40th year as a city supporter and some 900 games later I am still as passionate for the club as then. It looks like we will lose at least 6k season ticket holders this season which is a massive shame given all the progress on and off the pitch over the last 5 years.

    My message to Rahic is take the responsiblity for the mistakes this season mainly poor PR and recruitment amongst others. Rebuild the trust with the fans that has been eroded in the main by Rahic and let the manager manage who ever that may be. A total rebuild of the squad is required with a top 6 budget which will mean an injection of cash for the mistakes of this season. Some much needed humility is required from Edin and a change in attitude to turn the club around and win back the new and old fan base who frankly dont believe in how our club is been run or where it is going.

  9. Whatever your feelings on Stuart’s departure, then I don’t believe that not renewing your season to punish the owners for their part, is the way to go about it, as it is only going to be the club that suffers, as the budget will be lower, it could lead to us having to sell some of our best players, and it will probably be an end to cheap season tickets. Once a club gets on a downward spiral, it can also be very difficult to reverse the trend; how long did it take Lawn and Rhodes, coupled with Parkinson to start to turn things around and get a team that once again supporters could be proud of?

    When I am purchasing a season ticket, I am backing the club, not the owners, but I must admit when I renewed recently and saw the reasoning behind this “do you believe” campaign, it was like a direct gauntlet to supporters, renew your season ticket if you have confidence in what the chairmen are doing; well a lot of us have doubts, so does that mean you shouldn’t renew?

    After what happened in January, then whoever designed this slogan and marketing campaign frankly needs sacking, and the club should really scrap this slogan for the remainder of the deadline, just coming out with the standard message asking supporters to renew, so we can have the best budget possible, and can continue to make season tickets affordable for all.

    • Personally I’m disappointed with this season…obviously…but I find it ‘interesting’ that the player budget is now directly linked to season ticket sales…oh where have I heard that before…so it will now be the fans fault that we didn’t make it to the Championship despite the 3 year plan and going for autos bullshit we heard last year.

      We were not far away from the Championship and how then can you CUT THE BUDGET despite record level ticket sales and expect to get there? Delusional. No idea of English Football.

  10. The take up of season tickets is disappointing but still feel there will be a late rally. I know a lot moan about the owners but they didn’t get much wrong last season and sacking Stu was always going to offend his supporters. However don’t you think the low uptake could be down to very poor entertainment in home games this season. McCall oversaw eight home defeats and whilst away form was excellent most fans only see home games. I imagine about 75% of our season ticket base don’t give a damn about internal politics or what Edin said last week , just that their kid is bored and therefore not renewing next season.

  11. I am reminded of another Joy Division song, ‘New Dawn Fades’. It’s not meant as a ‘political’ observation rather the feeling that maybe everyone has allowed expectations to get out of hand. Now is the test of all involved with BCAFC to make a fresh start but most importantly to remain united.

    *The song I do believe pertinent is ‘No More Heroes’ – something that feels even more acute at the moment.

    • There’s certainly not going to be much of an ‘Atmosphere’ next season at VP if the current rate of ST renewals doesn’t increase. The ’24 Hours’ of ‘Disorder’ around the Yeovil game seems to have meant that ‘(S)he’s Lost Control’ of the club and Stuart was given the boot without much ‘Ceremony’. There’s certainly ‘No Love Lost’ between the owners and fans and in recent weeks Rahic appears to have gone into ‘Isolation’ ‘In a Lonely Place’.

  12. I’ve been a City supporter for over 46 years and after a lot of thought I’m not renewing my season ticket. However this doesn’t mean I can’t go to the games does it?

    My reasons are the decisions made by Rahic and his treatment of Stuart and Luke Hendrie. I have always believed the manager should be allowed to manage and he stands or falls by his own decisions not those made by others and this is not the case at City. I would feel this no matter who is the manager not just Stuart.

    The present toxic situation all started at Yeovil, a game I went to, and relates to Rahic’s treatment of Hendrie and everything that has happened is the fall out from then, the way I see it the damage has been done and obviously ended this season and it looks like its going to affect next season as well with season tickets dramatically down on previous seasons.

    Somehow we have to recover from it and perhaps the summer break will do it but imo only if Rahic changes his ways towards the manager and I for one can’t see that happening.

  13. Thanks for this Jason.

    I think you get to the heart of the current problem. There is an urgent need for us to come together as City fans and not to descend into an ‘us’ and ‘them’ split over the owners, the manager, the players, the bloody pitch, etc.

    We’re not immune from a wider culture that’s emerging, especially via a truncated social media, which frames everything as a simple binary option – for/against, us/them, truth/fake, like/dislike – with zero tolerance for anyone who argues for balance, nuance, context, or the virtues of different opinions being equally valid and legitimate. The club seem to be paying way too much attention to what’s on Twitter and should probably take a break for their own sanity of operations!

    To anyone who says “well you either agree with me, or you’re wrong” – this what you hear in playgrounds; hardly a mature civilised position to take.

    I really wanted to Stuart to stay, for the reasons and given the circumstances that Jason elaborates, because there was a particular context to those 8 defeats in 10 (no full backs, third choice keepers being rubbish, very limited options from the bench). I won’t simply “get over it” because that’s to ignore historical context (and I mean this season before anyone assumes I’m still nostalgic for the 87/88 campaign).

    But none of this means that I am “anti-Edin”. It’s not a binary option.

    The owners are new to this. It was obvious they would make mistakes and they are hopefully learning some very hard business lessons this season. Last season was a genuine dream for them, almost nothing went wrong until Wembley, but that was never going to be the norm at Bradford City. Historical context matters.

    I still believe their philosophy is the right one (something Jason also states in his apparently “anti-owner brainwashing rant” – which, I’m sorry Mark G above, but is blisteringly unfair and akin to good old fashioned ‘gaslighting’ in its denial of what is actually written on the page), but the owners have got a lot badly wrong.

    That doesn’t mean they can’t get things right.

    It doesn’t mean they should go.

    I honestly believe they’ve got good intentions for the club. But I also believe their own patience must be wearing thin given some of the playground abuse that’s been hurled their way.

    Their biggest mistake has been misjudging the form and content of communication, which has been awful recently:

    1) stating in December that they would ‘back Stuart and aim for the top 2’ (nobody forced Edin to state this publicly, and it was always going to kick him really hard when they didn’t deliver);

    2) making social capital out of attending every game to suddenly being absent at matches when things got sticky (leaders should front unpopular decisions; even if he was hoping to avoid an initial backlash to Stuart’s sacking, where has he been since?);

    3) and finally calling a fans forum that could and should have shown a little humility, taken responsibility for what occurred in January, and given more respect to a majority of fans who still believed in Stuart. Sadly for us all, including the owners, the forum only left a greater disconnect between the club and the supporters.

    All of these errors off the pitch were within Edin’s sphere of control; few of the errors Stuart made on the pitch were anything he could immediately change. That is the root of the sense of unfairness, as far as I see it.

    But that isn’t to say that I’m right or that you’re wrong. Because reducing everything to simple ‘good’ and ‘bad’ binaries would be childish. We have to better than that and be prepared to support and to fight for the club through everything it faces in all contexts.

    Frankly, it’s time to stand together as supporters of Bradford City and stop the playground squabbling.

  14. We’re in a no win situation with the season ticket sales. All those who said they would be happy to pay extra so our player budget would increase were right. But those who are not renewing there ticket’s are making it impossible for us to make any money for transfers. 18000 at a higher price would give us a better budget but 15000 would mean we would generate about the same amount as last season. Get your tickets bought if you love this club as much as me. Ok were in a bad situation on the field at the moment but who’s to say it will not improve then push on next season with a better squad.

  15. I wonder how numbers have dropped off on the flexi cards now you don’t get a reserved seat. I didn’t buy one for my son who lives away for that reason.

    • I have not renewed my flexi-card for the same reason. I can only attend a handful of games each season but I may as well just pay on the day if I’ve not got a seat reserved.

  16. I’m one of the ‘plastics’ or ‘glory hunters’ (a laughable term of abuse; who in their right mind would choose BCFC to find ‘glory’?) who won’t be renewing my ST next season.
    Whilst I don’t have to give a reason, for reference, I’ve followed the club since 1984 and watched more games home and away than I can recall in all divisions. So, I can proudly wear my medals on veterans day.
    I’ll be reverting back to being a flex card holder (or webflex, as I believe it’s going to be called). I’ve a family and other interests away from football which mean I’ll always miss a few games each season. The flex option allows me to still attend games affordably. I took the plunge this season partly because I’d upped the number of games I’d seen the season previous and was encouraged by the change in owners and SM carrying on from where he’d left off the season before.
    I don’t want to commit to a ST for next season, because I see little to offer any encouragement to do so. SG hasn’t committed beyond this season and that means a summer of uncertainty looks to be looming.
    I’m not someone who is prepared to shell out for a ST just fill up the clubs player budget. I want something in return. I want to be entertained; to feel I’ve got value for money from a trip to VP. And frankly I haven’t felt like turning up to some games recently, so I’m not exactly relishing coming to games next season.
    I think a lot of other ‘plastics’ will have similar stories. K Bruces earlier comments are pretty much spot on for me. The floating voters will go elsewhere to get the value for money for their hard earned entertainment £ if they don’t think they’re getting it at VP.
    Branding them disloyal and calling them names is nothing new. Football fans have been doing for donkeys years.

    • I agree with these sentments. I have seen 2 decent peformances at VP all season. Bristol Rovers & Oxford United.

  17. Another excellent article.Sums up the situation at City very well.The bubble seems to have well and truly burst.I have been watching City since 1958 -and life as a City supporter has been a roller coaster ride.Since Parkinson the Club has made progress year on year (until Jan 2018)-if we had kept the majority of the team that lost to Millwall at Wembley-and recruited well this season -Stuart would still be our manager and City would be in the play offs (or automatic promotion)-Like many City fans I am frustrated,disappointed-and angry with the turmoil that is going on at my beloved club.However i have re-newed my season ticket and live in hope that next season things will be better (-i have been saying that for the last 60 years!)

    • I think its time to get over january and the effect it has had on morale of all of us that care about our club, its now history. Lets hope that the owners, Abbot and all understand that the depth of feeling we fans have for OUR club, we all want progress. Get yourselves down to the ticket office and renew, if you dont you only hurt OUR club.
      The players ought to have a seriuos look at themselves,only a few can hold their heads up. Get on with playing and putting in maximum effort, hopefully the ones who dont want to be here will be gone in summer, then they might realize what a great club and great supporters they have left behind and wished they hadnt thrown in the towel.

  18. I do think injuries have had a big say in the downturn of form, however it has to be pointed out that form was terrible before Stuart was sacked and the attitude of the players was awful. Even before Yeovil, our home form was poor and I don’t agree that we haven’t got a decent enough squad. Only the stunning away form was keeping us going.

    The key moment seems to have been the Hendrie departure and for me, I think there are too many questions to blame that solely at Rahic’s door. Hendrie was a squad player and it seems that he was holding the club to ransom in his negotiations – he signed for Shrewsbury within minutes of City showing him the door. I think it unlikely they made contact with him in the intervening moments. Hendrie needed to have a word with his agent if he was so devastated not to sign for City.

    It seems fairly clear from the WOAP interview with Stuart that Rahic and Stuart didn’t get on. Rahic wasn’t investing in the English way of managing and Stuart wasn’t prepared to work Rahic’s way – sorry there is only one winner there and not the one most of us would want.

    Personally, I would have given Stuart much longer, but I doubt very much our position would be any different now.

    We need to get behind the Manager and the team -those that want to play that is – and start again. Hopefully the bad eggs depart in the summer, Grayson stays and we have a successful rebuild.

  19. Great article. Well said

  20. Summed up the situation again perfectly.Yes we are hurting badly still and believe a dominant though inexperienced in football matters owner has listed the ship.Very badly.To the point one thinks players at times are going through the motions.Civil War it appears.Silence from the camp not helping.Season Ticket sales flopping.It did strike me as a strange comment from Rupp.No confidence that Stuart could correct things.It said more in that statement perhaps giving a clue, as to a probable fact that Stuart and Edin”s relationship had irretrievably broken down.As one hears from other staff theirs had too.(With Rahic not Stuart)..It was certainly not wise.His contract was up in summer anyway and he would either have regained comittment and togetherness or it would have petered out and he would have left anyway in summer.The gamble Rahic took is now reflecting in Season Ticket sales.In light of that disappointment (I expect no more than 11 to 12000)Rahic must be judged as a shocking judge.Revelations that the parting could have come last summer adds to bitterness.That a hero was been used.Simply used.If Stuart had not been at the centre of all this we would all have moved on by now.As we did after Yorath (second spell) and particularly Docherty.But he was at the centre.And we love him.For everything in 35 years.Right now its difficult to love our Rahic.For anything in 21 months.The latest filed accounts show how precarious the clubs finances continue to be.Never been different.Mark and Julian got very lucky in been able to get out.2 years of great Cup Runs put money back in the kitty.Its all flying out now with little coming in.Sadly.

    • I wonder how Geoffrey Richmond would have handled the current situation? One thing he was excellent at was managing the clubs (and his own) PR.He wasn’t afraid to front up when taking controversial decisions, such as the sacking of firstly Stapleton and later Kammy.
      He would have certainly been more public, turning up to supporters club meetings and calling his own at VP to put his case forward. He’d be selling his vision of where the club was going for next season; winning over doubters and bringing back the optimism in time to give season ticket sales a boost.
      ER & Co. have either under appreciated this side of dealing with the fans or have got it hopelessly wrong this season.

      • Of course,he,Mr Richmond, gave me a lot of pleasure before plunging my club into bankruptcy due to unsustainable debts.

  21. Wolfysmith. Yes GR would have handled it different and really fostered a sense of ‘believing’ into the fans non more so than in that famous meeting at the Fountain Inn in Heaton when he told a stunned pub full of City fans that he would have us in PL.
    He did get us there, something I personally do not ‘believe’ the new owners will achieve, quite the reverse in fact.
    GR incidentally used to have a bet with Gerry (then shop manager) as to how many m Ute’s it would take before the supporters at his meetings would be eating out of his hat.
    Usually it did not take long.
    I recall one meeting where GR asked for a show of hands around the room.
    Twenty minutes later he went back to the same topic and added ” as you voted for earlier’.
    Classic.

    • Mark – I was at that meeting in the Fountain. I remember the laughing when he said he wanted the club in the PL. He later used to say that the club had more ambition than the fans.
      The new owners may well, one day, take us up to the PL, but like you, the ‘belief’ isn’t there because they’ve simply not sold us on their vision.
      Whilst I was totally against the SM sacking, I was happy with his replacement, but the doubt still remains as he hasn’t committed beyond this season.
      How can we, as fans, be expected to commit to next season and beyond when even our own manager won’t?
      The club need to give me and thousands like me, a reason to believe, other than just a marketing slogan. I’ve seen nothing except a commitment to repair the pitch. Putting the ridiculous deadlines in for renewals was only going to bring in the ‘uber’ fans who would have renewed anyway. Why not extend the deadline to the first of August? We should know who the manager is and what sort of playing squad we’ve got. I might have a reason to believe then and renew.
      I would be more inclined to renew now if they had come out and admitted this season was a write off and we’d look to rebuild for the next. But we still keep being peddled the message that we can make the play-offs. Who are they kidding? We’re a million miles from that. Our form since December has been one of relegation not promotion. Maybe if they did admit we’re not going to make it, it would take some pressure off the team and may be an upturn in performances, which in turn would bring back a feel good factor at VP, helping ST sales?

      • I agree Mark good call. Makes sence to extend ST deadline further to increase sales. However, Rahic has gone into hiding and he continues to plough his own path.

  22. Well, one thing that is indisputable is that more fans than for a long time are unhappy. We rode the League Two experience because as a City fan, that is what you do. Probably need the owners to up their communication game as their lack of it is driving some (apparently) crazy rumours.

  23. Another great piece Jason. But I think you may be wrong about Edin being here long term

  24. Unfortunately the word is that Rupp is unwilling to listen to offers from TWO consortiums trying to mount a rescue buy out. The continued absence of Rahic, now said to be in New Zealand, is really bad. I firmly believe that he should have made a point of being at the home game following the sacking of SM. He has rarely been at VP since.

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