By Tim Penfold
1) Tyrell Robinson
Tyrell Robinson is the one undisputed success story of the development squad. He didn’t stand out hugely in pre-season, mostly due to fitness issues but used the Checkatrade Trophy as a springboard into the team.
He announced himself in spectacular fashion with a late winner against Wigan, and followed that up by breaking through as a regular – initially at left back, then in his stronger position on the left wing. More key goals against Rochdale and Charlton followed, and his good performances have continued under Simon Grayson – Shrewsbury coped with him by kicking lumps out of him, and he’s been missed since his injury.
Next season is big for him – he has a huge chance to break through and make himself a regular.
2) Colin Doyle
We hadn’t won for 3 ½ months, and nobody was confident of ending that against Gillingham. We were especially worried about the goalkeeper position, with Lukas Raeder having failed to convince in his appearances and nobody trusting Rouven Sattelmaier after his disastrous run of form over the winter. Neither looked capable of replacing Colin Doyle, who had gained a deserved 2nd cap for Ireland the day before in Turkey.
And yet when the teams were announced, Doyle was in the line-up. He’d flown back over 4,000 km to try to turn our season around, and by the end of the game he had a clean sheet and City had three points.
In a normal season this would be impressive. In a season where various players had rightly been accused of failing to show the correct attitude and levels of commitment, Doyle stood out a mile.
3) Callum Guy
I’m going to be honest here – I wasn’t that impressed with Callum Guy when he joined the club. He struggled out of his natural position at right back, and when I saw him against Oldham in central midfield he looked out of his depth.
And yet Simon Grayson clearly saw something there. He was a regular in Grayson’s teams from the start, and has become a vital player. He may need to improve technically to play in the Championship but he gets around the pitch quickly, hassles opponents and is vitally important to the team’s pressing game. He drags the midfield forward a bit, and was missed against Rochdale where the midfield sat deep and allowed Callum Camps to dictate the game.
But most importantly, he never hides. When someone needs a passing option, he shows for it. When the team has needed someone to drive them on, he’s stepped up when others have failed to.
4) James Mason
It took a certain amount of courage for James Mason to get a Twitter account, or as one of my City-supporting friends put it, “balls of steel”. It took even more courage to stay on during a particularly catastrophic January and during the run of form that followed it.
But that’s what James Mason has shown this season. He’s been the voice of the club through some controversial and unpopular decisions by the board, and you get the feeling that he’s been defending decisions that he disagrees with at times. But he hasn’t hidden himself away, and continues to show what an asset to the club he is.
It is disappointing that he’s now disappeared from Twitter along with many of the club’s employees, as he was an excellent and approachable line of communication. He’s been the one constant from the old regime to the new one, and needs to be a huge part of the club going forward.
5) The fans and the club’s community
The last few weeks have been difficult, but also a reminder of how good our fans and club can be. The argument over whether vloggers should use footage of games needs sorting out, but the content produced can be excellent and joins the rest of the independent media around the club.
Georgia Thornton’s use of Twitter to sell ribbons and raising thousandsa of pounds for the Burns Unit was outstanding, and the club’s community work remains great, with our disability team doing us proud at the FA People’s Cup.
It’s not been a fun season to be a Bradford City fan, but these things reminds us of why it can be so good.