By John Wade
I watched my first City match in 1948, aged 6 or 7, and have loved and supported City ever since. There were a few years, due to living in London and Australia, when I saw very few games, but my interest has never really waned.
Until now, the worst playing period was in the early 1960s, due to a player selling policy and unambitious directors. The best periods have been few and far between, but the period since the League Cup win at Notts County in 2012 have been about the best, apart from the five great promotion seasons. Bradford City have been a great part of my life, just as they were for my father and my own family.
I truly thought that the defeat by Millwall in the play-off semi-final was a blip on the road to success, and was even more convinced of success when Millwall rather luckily beat us at Wembley.
Since then, one man and one man alone has been responsible for a disgraceful decline.
I excused him for breaking up the Wembley team, I understood why he wanted to bring on young players, I thought the Hendrie saga was probably not all his fault, I could see the logic in sacking McCall, I thought they were unlucky in the transfer window in January 2018, I was pleased when he appointed Grayson, then thought Grayson not signing up was probably Grayson’s fault.
I accepted the break-up of last year’s team, was happy at the activity in the summer 2018 transfer window. I thought the appointment of Collins was a brave move, possibly even a brilliant one. I could see the logic in selling Wyke, and, although thinking it was a bad move, I assumed the non-selection of Kilgallon was justified for reasons unknown to me.
I accepted the sacking of Collins after a lack of effort from the team against Wycombe. Then I was pleased at the appointment of Hopkin, and thought we were unlucky against Bristol and Doncaster. I thought the continual injuries were due to bad luck, and, as with Kilgallon, I thought the leaving by James Mason was for reasons unknown to me. I was hopelessly naïve.
Then I watched the Sunderland game, outclassed, read about the Accrington match, outplayed, and realised that I was wrong to make so many allowances and excuses. I decided to give City two more games, and saw the Rochdale debacle. It really opened my eyes, to be outplayed, outmuscled, outrun, outskilled (if there is such a word) by such a poor team. I am angry, I am sad, to see MY club reduced to this level by the blunderings of one man.
The performance was awful, the referee was worse, the Rochdale fans were a foul disgrace to their club and to football in general. But City as we remember them would have defeated such a team.
I have therefore, with a lot of sadness and anger, decided not to watch City again until something changes. Thus, I did not watch the Coventry and Portsmouth games. I am not exactly boycotting City because I have paid for season tickets, but do not see why I should give up my Saturday, drive from Harrogate, to suffer about 100 minutes of misery. If things ever improve, I may come back
It has become a torture, and I wish all the best to those fans who do not agree with me.
What can be done? Maybe, Rupp buys Rahic’s shares and gives them to someone who has the sense and nous to run the club decently. Possibly someone rides to our rescue, but I simply can’t see that happening.
Maybe, more likely, Rahic blunders on, sacks Hopkin who is actually our only hope, then tries another hapless head coach.
By the way, Greg Abbott is not blameless in this shambles. Players who are slow, who can’t pass the ball, can’t run into position at lineouts, can’t take free kicks or corner kicks.
What, if that is possible, makes it worse, is seeing Chesterfield at Harrogate on Saturday. A proper football club like City. Pipped us to Division One play-offs a few years ago, with a new ground, fans full of hope. Now 19th in the National League, in a seemingly uncontrollable downward spiral, presumably caused by inept directors (although I don’t know for sure).
They brought 400 faithful fans to Harrogate, they sang, they cheered, they supported, they backed their team. The team were awful, the standard of the match was very poor. My point is that this is where City are heading under Rahic, and I find the similarities between City and Chesterfield to be eerie. This where we are going.
And none of us can do anything about except protest. Please, Jason and friends, keep protesting in the hope that you may do some good.
I am sorry I have had to write this, hope anyone who reads it will comment, possibly even lighten my gloom, but it is my feeling after today. Others, younger than me, can continue to watch City, and I hope they will see good times.