Michael Collins is the new Bradford City head coach

By Tim Penfold

After a six week search for a Head Coach, it turns out that the best interested candidate was already at the football club.  Michael Collins has been the manager of the Under 18s for the past season, combining the role with playing in midfield for FC Halifax Town for half of it, and has now been given the job by Edin Rahic in a staggering gamble.

This instantly raises questions about the recruitment process.  If Collins was the best candidate and an obvious choice, why did it take six weeks to find him when he was already at the club? Why did so many managers seem to declare an interest then withdraw from the running? And how much of this is down to the reputation of Edin Rahic?

This will be the defining appointment of Rahic’s chairmanship. He could argue that McCall wasn’t really his choice and Grayson was appointed quickly to appease the fans and save the season, but this is his choice and his alone. There have already been worrying rumours throughout the recruitment process that managers were withdrawing over the level of control that Rahic wanted over transfers, and even last night the BBC journalist and Bradford City fan Ian Dennis reported that the highly regarded former West Brom coach Ben Garner had withdrawn from the running.

The club’s new manager statement contains a very specific denial that nobody had turned down a contract offer, but says nothing about potential managers withdrawing once they had found out what the job entailed. So how much control does Edin Rahic want? The worry is that it goes further even than transfers into tactics and selection. Or is it that people just feel that, like Stuart McCall, they will struggle to work with him?

As for Michael Collins, it’s a big step up for him. He has one season of serious coaching experience and due to his responsibilities at Halifax he was not around on matchday for quite a few under 18 games. He’s a less experienced coach than either of the other two internal options, Martin Drury or Sam Collins, and even less experienced than Paul Jewell or Chris Kamara when they took over.

He will need a good support team – the appointment of Greg Abbott as assistant is good news but leaves a hole in the recruitment team – and a good start results-wise.  Without that it is difficult to see a restless fan base giving either the manager or the chairman time.

From the couple of youth team games I have seen Collins manage he favours a short passing, attacking system with an emphasis on midfield control. This could be good to watch if it works out, and fits in with what Edin Rahic wants for the club. He also knows the youth team well and may be better at bringing through youngsters than some other appointments. Personally, I would rather have had a promising young coach over a repeated failure from the managerial merry-go-round. But it is still a huge gamble to appoint someone with such little coaching experience, and does nothing to dispel the idea that what Edin Rahic really wanted is control.

Collins and the club will need all of our support this season – we now just have to hope that Edin Rahic’s great gamble pays off.

Categories: Opinion

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15 replies

  1. We as supporters can choose to support Collins and get behind the team when the new season starts on 04 August or we can moan and post negative comments. I fear that the latter will be the preferred option.

    Whilst I am disillusioned with what has happened at our club over the past 24 hours, I will continue to support my team on the pitch. However, I suspect that we could be embroiled in a relegation scrap next season.

  2. I don’t fundamentally have a problem with appointing a young manager who is tasked with playing attractive football built on young, ideally local talent. Even better if it is a manager with ties to the club. But it has to be acknowledged publicly that this approach needs time and patience.

    My only issue is…. why not Stuart McCall. He fitted that brief almost perfectly.

    Getting rid of McCall in the fashion they did and replacing him with Grayson could be justified only if you were insistent on a short term fix for promotion. Oh and if you were prepared the going rate for the calibre of proven players.

    I’ll get behind Collins. Good luck to him. But it makes the sacking of Stuart all the harder for Rahic to justify, or for me to swallow.

    • Dan, I think Stuart wanted to work more in the traditional style of a manager where he had much more control over the comings and goings of players. ER didn’t. And that’s where the fault line lay that created the issues.
      Stuart clearly proved he was an excellent ‘coach’ when you look at the performances he drove out of a team, which on paper, was weaker than the team he had in his first season back in charge.

  3. Reading the comments on various social
    Media outlets we are already relegated to non league with this appointment.
    Despite my misgivings I would like the fans to give Michael a fair chance. Let’s give it our best shot next season.
    An update on the team would be welcome now.

    • It’s definitely an English thing (and it well be a British thing) but we love to see something or someone fail before its even started. No what it may be in whatever walk of life there’s nothing more (dare I say) British than to rubbish change. It’s what I call the IJBS factor – It’ll just be sh*t
      Let’s give everyone at BCFC a chance. Currently it’s P0 W0 D0 L0 but already people are talking about protests and other forms of action against the owners.
      We haven’t even started pre-season training!
      ER has gone for three coaches, one of whom has loads of experience working in the traditional model of a British manager and seems quite happy to work under the new model Edin wants to introduce and is the same model being favoured in the Premiership and Championship. It’s a trickle down effect. I suspect in three or four years, most clubs in leagues 1 & 2 will have adopted the same operating model.
      Okay, so MC hasn’t the same level of experience as Jagger & Kamara did when they were thrust into the hot seat by GR. But, from reading his comments on the T&A, he was very keen to get in coaching and is a man in a hurry. Let’s give the coaching team (and it’s being touted by ER as very much a team) the chance to work with the players and push things on.
      No I’m not an ER sycophant, but neither am I looking to find reasons for it not to work. I wasn’t happy at McCalls sacking and what went on after, but that chapter is closed. Time to move on. I’d prefer to find ways for this ‘new way’ to work for the good of the club I love.

  4. And still there are heads in the sand.

  5. Jagger Jewell?
    A big gamble, sure, but the owners do have a clear strategy. Some people don’t like it because it is different to what has gone before, some are waiting to see.
    I am intrigued – and I am pretty certain that, given the quality of the signings so far and the likes of McGowan, Jones and Reeves back after missing the disaster, then we won’t be going down as some hysterical fans have been predicting.

  6. No one can argue that this appointment is another way Mr Rahic keeps the control .
    7 weeks to make an appointment of this magnitude is laughable.
    The mail’s article may have been accurate to suggest many were interviewed and didn’t accept the terms on offer.
    The majority of supporters have had enough of the lies and deceit we’ve been fed since the dynamic duo arrived.
    There taking our club backwards … not forward… I really fear at what state the club will be in very soon.

  7. We have got to give them a chance, but a three year deal for all!???
    What will happen if at Christmas we are in or just above the relegation places.
    Will ER give them time……….
    I really really hope this works, VP is a big stadium, and can be an intimidating place to play football when we are doing well. But it will look even bigger when only 1/4 full with a struggling team.

    • Well terminating MC would only cost what £100,000 at most. Half of a proper coach/Manager ANNUAL salary (they’ve already saved MC annual salary by not appointing for seven weeks).

      However whilst I cannot understand their motivation for getting involved in BCFC other than vanity, I cannot see what was really wrong with our previous business model. Year after year of steady progress, good cup progress and a 2017 Wembley appearance. Not bad with traditional managers and a shoestring budget AND we got money for youngsters – Delph, Wusdom, Green and Wells.

      What we needed was ADDITIONAL Investment to push us to the next level.

      Who knows what MC will bring. However despite all the misgivings let’s get behind the boys. Maybe, just maybe the absence of Reeves, the injuries to Jones and McGowan derailed the season and with the additions made we will make a fist of it.

      However be prepared for high wage earners – Wyke, Vincelot, K-P and maybe Chicksen – to go.

  8. I’ve been reading the transcript of the press conference. “ER:MC has been a strong candidate since the weekend”. He spends six weeks interviewing candidates and “since the weekend” decides that his junior team coach has become a strong candidate overnight. Does Edin Rahic think the fans are a bunch of imbeciles?

    Hot on the heels of James Mason’s resignation, we know receive the bombshell news that responsibility for first team affairs is in the hands of a junior coach, a failed Park Avenue manager and a convalescing Head of Recruitment. All a bit of a let down after the strong rumours of Hannes Wolf!

    These owners ( one in particular!) have turned Bradford City into a music hall joke and how any fans can support what they’re doing to the club is beyond me.

  9. I have been speaking to people holding out to buy season ticket, they are saying thank heavens I held out, there is a circus in town and it is not in Foster Square……. Oh dear, I’m absolutely gutted, from the rise of 2013 to this, feel a bit sorry for Micheal Collins, because if it all goes wrong from the decisions made & probably the squad picked on match days Mr Rahic walks away clear as it is all on MC. my view if all this fails will be on Mr Rahic’s head and nobody else, Let’s hope we get a great start for the fans who are all dreading this season now……


  10. You really thought that ER had learnt a lesson when Grayson was appointed ie we needed a safe pair of hands on the football side. Will it be a stroke of genius from the outer reaches of left field or an unmitigated disaster? I know where my money is.

  11. Decision is a bit underwhelming but it is ER’s choice.
    I will get behind the Michael, Greg and Martin like all fans should.
    Like others have said Jewell, Kamara had no league managerial experience before getting the jobs at City.
    All those experienced unemployed managers in the (supposed) running have had failures in the past, so were they going to do any better with City? Grayson certainly didn’t.
    Just hope ER does give them all time and not panic again if things are not going well from the off.

    Still think the best candidate is Stuart McCall but we all know he couldn’t work under ER.

  12. Like many others I’m surprised that after a 6 week search we appoint our youth team coach.
    I will back the coaches since I bought my ST in the #believe campaign.
    I hope this is the right choice and city fly but even if this happens I fear a Newcastle Mike Ashley type standoff as frankly my trust in Edin has been destroyed.
    If we tank next season the atmosphere will again be toxic.
    Actions rather than words between now and the end of the window.

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