What do you do when the last turkey in the shop returns to life and flies off?


By Mark Ashdown

I was a supporter of David Hopkin. Anyone who could last more than a week working with Edin Rahic deserves a gallantry medal.

He was not a Bantams legend. I saw most of his games as a City player. He was little better than hopeless, and exceptionally poor value for money. His managerial experience is ‘iffy’ being mainly with part-time clubs in one of the worst semi-professional leagues in Europe, he was also something of a one trick pony and he did not have the staff to pull that trick off.

Lest we forget, he inherited the absolute garbage left by Rahic and the ‘transfer committee’ or in other words Rahic. I have just finished reading Joey Barton’s book ‘No nonsense’, it is a fantastic read and highly recommended. Barton mentions that a team lives or dies via recruitment – and as a result of insane and expensive recruitment, we are heading through the curtains at the crematorium. It is all but over, one would think, with Monday’s news. Sadly, I thought we had some stability with Hopkin, hence I wish him all the very best.

At least we won’t have had to pay up another long contract with the falling on the sword.

Hopkin to his credit introduced a foreign concept to his inherited squad: fitness. Following the light hand of the Michael Collins’ version of a pre-season, Hopkin improved things noticeably.

However, rest easy folks. Martin Drury is according to Michael Collins “one of the best coaches in the country”. By that virtue we can conclude that he isn’t, as everything else Collins mentioned was universally incorrect by several miles. The other test of that bold statement, if we needed one, would be to have a chat with people in the game and ask who they think the best coaches are? Sadly Drury does not feature.

I called a relegation season in June. The logic was simple: relegation form for the final months of the season and a highly depleted team being run by an obvious charlatan and imbecile. Yet still, we could actually survive.

We won’t survive with Drury obviously, he will be the third of the transfer committee to have their three year contacts paid up at some point, he is also synonymous with failure. The club is still a poisoned chalice, but not the toxic hell hole Rahic created. I would doubt if Michael Flynn can be recruited but we might get Gary Jones or Mark Bower, who has done well with BPA in difficult circumstances.

One just wonders what Stefan Rupp thought on hearing the latest fiasco? Do fans of Bradford City still deserve much, much better? It must be hurting Rupp like hell, how was he duped how did he agree to fund Rahic’s dream. I doubt he will have the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath CD in the Merc, but ‘dreams turn to nightmares, heaven turns to hell’ rings out from that CD loud and clear. I can recommend another book by former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan to Rupp, it’s called ‘Be careful what you wish for’. Jordan burned his entire £75,000,000 fortune on that piece of vanity. Rupp won’t be making the same mistake.

Can I be the first to ask where we all think we will finish in Div 2? Years of progress is wrecked.

Categories: Opinion

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19 replies

  1. Next year in league two is a frightening prospect. 16 expensive and very poor players under contract and a £2m deficit. This managerial appointment needs to be correct otherwise we could easily become the next Chesterfield, Leyton Orient, Stockport, York.

    Rumours are abound of appointing a “fans favourite”. I have to ask if that is really the right move. Why would you limit your choices? Get the right man in, ideally an experienced firefighter.

  2. I like managers like John Coleman at Accy.
    Never had money to spend but somehow always gets a very competitive team organised.
    I’m sure our wage budget should be more competative than Accrington.
    Just a thought .

    • I’ve a lot of time for John Coleman and for what he’s achieved at Accrington. It just seems that there’s a sense of synergy between Coleman and Accy that he’s not been able to repeat elsewhere. I recall him going to Rochdale and not cutting the mustard there.

      I don’t envy Julian in his choice, or the brave soul who takes the job on. We’ve become the managers graveyard.

      • Agreed. Some managers just ‘fit’ a club. They understand the culture and carry a certain gravitas there. Solskjaer has turned around a broken dressing room because he gets the culture of the club, the fans, the standards that must be set. Not because he has experience at that level.

        If you think Solskjaer the exception to prove a rule, the same could be said of Michael Flynn. He’s a Newport legend, he gets them and they love him. He knows they would stick by him. It also what bought McCall all that time in his first spell, and should have bought him far more time in his second.

        You shouldn’t put a price on players / managers who ‘fit’ a club. In recent times, Parkinson, McCall, the squads they built, the dressing room standards they set. They were our standards too. It worked.

        So I’m not against the idea of bringing in someone who truly ‘gets’ us. Why not Blake? Maybe with “Jam” and, in time, Jonah as coaches?

        They’d set standards we recognised. We’d know they understood the club, our values, our history, and what it means to play for Bradford City.

        After the slash and burn of Rahic, why not let Bradford City people start to flood back in?

  3. Is a Bradford derby something to look forward to in the next two years?

  4. Given the rate that we are going through managers, any prospect would be forgiven for thinking this is a short term appointment. I can’t see why the like of Michael Flynn would want to leave his current role, where he seems to be doing very well, and try and steer BCFC out of a death spiral.
    Honestly I think Steve Evans is the man for the job. If he screws it up we hate him already. If he saves us we’ll all change our mind about him.

    • When Hopkin came in, I always thought he was at a disadvantage in that he didn’t have the comfort of bringing in any tried and tested backroom staff with him. He came into an already failed set up with coaching staff who may not wholeheartedly have welcomed his appointment or methods.

      If Evans came in, he’d probably bring in Raynor and there’d be an immediate unity on coaching ideas. However, Julian may consider his appointment to be divisive with the fans which could adversely affect season ticket sales. It’s a tough one.

      • Evans just been sacked from Peterborough… risky appointment never seems to settle at clubs and picks up money from being sacked and his contract paid up . Plus not sure the majority of supporters would want Evans. Our next manager will have to be very shrewd in the transfer market as I can see our wage budget very low next season

  5. I have a great deal of respect for David Hopkin and
    I truly believe he wanted to come to BCFC and make positive changes. However, it wasn’t to be and I think he made the right decision to resign.
    Julian Rhodes has an important choice to make and it’s not an easy one. Whatever the choice, we should support Julian and for me I think Steve Evans is the best option, on a short term contract, steering us to possible league1 survival.

  6. I would like to see someone like Michael Appleton give him the job now and build for the future.

  7. We shouldn’t be going for a short term interim appointment either. Planning for next year in league two has to start now.

  8. Paul jewel anyone…

  9. Changing the subject slightly. Reeves baffles me. I would love an explanation. Is he in Bradford. Is he having treatment. Is he ever going to return. Robinson as far as I know hasn’t been charged with anything. Where is he. Ched Evans played on in roughly the same situation.
    Scannell and Mellor are never fit.
    There is something strangely wrong.
    Does anyone have a clue.

  10. For me this season is over. The new man needs time to assess the car crash of a squad he will inherit to begin the planning for League Two next season. We need an experienced hand, used to working in difficult circumstances on limited budgets with a successful record. That person also needs to know the lower league scene inside out. There are two outstanding candidates in my opinion, Gary Bowyer and Paul Hurst. And both come with the added advantage of having no previous connection to the club whatsoever. We really do have an unhealthy obsession, more than any other club I know, with trying to resurrect past glories. It very very rarely works. Let’s bring in Bowyer or Hurst and leave the baggage behind.

  11. In terms of the question at the end given our likely finances and ownership, i wouldn’t be confident about league 2. The owner has, in a sense been lumbered with us, and I can’t see why he wouldn’t want cut his losses. I have no criticism of Rupp though. Survival equally won’t be a cure all. Rahic changed our medium term direction of travel

  12. I was really disappointed to read of Hopkins resignation. I hoped he would be here long term. Even if that meant relegation. He came into a very toxic situation and did (what I consider) a very creditable job, given that he was working for Rahic and dealing with his disastrous recruitment. And let’s not forget that whoever replaces DH will still have to work with the legacy of Rahics antics.
    Whoever comes in needs to be given time. This club is still in a mess and there’s no quick fix. Fans need to appreciate that. I’m resigned to the fact that we’re facing league 2 football next season. And that next season’s ambitions (given the number of Rahic recruitment’s still on our books post-June) will be to stabilise. Mid-table mediocrity may sound like a nightmare vision, but it will allow whoever is in charge to start then to rebuild. Shifting out the dead wood in the Summer 2020. Only then will the new manager have a team truly made up of ‘their’ players.
    PP wasn’t an overnight success. The key was, he was given the time to build the team how he wanted, and that paid off in the long term. We might need to take a step back to take two steps forward.

  13. Brilliant article Mark. Me and all the girls down at 7th Heaven loved it. We’ve not seen you for ages. You’ll have to pop in soon

    Love Barbara

  14. Puts life down there as it is Mark.Sad.Walsall a final straw for DH.Looking at the list of contracted players below I feel sick.So many not worth a place but still on contract another year.Administration may come.It may be the only way we find a new owner (assuming Rupp is fed up with zero interest deep down but an honourable man having heard how fans are sick at his acquaintances complete and utter road to destruction)and get shut of his partners expensive disaster signings.

  15. The final question you asked.Not very well as things are.Its one massive slippy slope the club are falling down.Others have got there.That were on a par with us.It will take some arresting this slide.It took long enough post 2002 to arrest the slide before.Lack of money to spend,serious debt,empty seats everywhere.JC may turn up.With some Roman foot soldiers or disciples to give a miracle.There must be some unbelievably bad spirit down there hanging around still.

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