Game, set and match

By Adam Raj

Defeat number 27 and counting for this embarrassment of a City squad finally put us all out of our misery.

The loss in Warwickshire has condemned us to League Two football next season. But let’s be honest, the writing has been on the wall ever since Michael Collins was appointed back in June and the last of the glass half full supporters chucked in the towel after hopeless defeats to Walsall, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers.

So today doesn’t actually feel as devastating as it should do. We’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea.

City lined up in a 3-4-3 shape this afternoon, with Anthony O’Connor, Connor Wood and Ben Wilson coming into the side. In a season where formation bingo has become a regular occurrence, it’s vital we are able to keep a settled side and system next season if only to breed some sort of understanding between the players which has been non existent for the past 18 months.

City actually started the game the better of the two sides, and created a number of opportunities. Connor Wood with an early cross into the box which Coventry keeper Lee Burge spilt to Lewis O’Brien who smashed the ball straight back at the keeper who saved for a corner. Three minutes later and the impressive Sean Scannell went on a powerful run into the box, but saw his low shot saved well by Burge. The first ten minutes of the game were dominated by the Bantams, but as usual we failed to take our chances, too scared to shoot and always opting to take another touch. But the first ten minutes were as good as it got for the 600 travelling City fans this afternoon.

With their first attack of the game, ex Bantam Jordy Hiwula (shock) danced past Paul Caddis and then Paudie O’Connor to fire low under Wilson. Showing the composure in front of goal which he often lacked in his time with us, he celebrated by letting the City fans know exactly what he thinks of us, just to add to the misery.

The goal, as usual killed the game for City and gave Coventry a huge lift. They went close again in the twelfth minute through George Thomas, who saw his shot blocked, and again four minutes later through man of the match Bright Enobakhare, an inspired January signing from Wolves, who’s shot hit the outside of the post. Then the ever reliably disaster ridden Nathaniel Knight-Percival got booked twice in the space of ten minutes for two ridiculous challenges and that was that.

A few weeks ago at Charlton, it took only 30 minutes for the olés to start from the stands, today it only took 28. Coventry were all over us, silky pass and move football opening us up at will. Flicks and tricks were out in full force from a Coventry side fully confident the game was won. It was an arrogant performance, which you would expect to spark a reaction from the side on the receiving end, even if it meant flying in with a few late challenges, having a few choice words with opposing players, whatever, something. But no, this spineless bunch just laid there and took it.

Not an ounce of fight, they treated it as if it was a meaningless preseason friendly. Whilst I have previously stated this lot had given up weeks ago, today’s body language from the majority was appalling.

The second half, predictably, was one-way traffic. Coventry were able to push right back Dujon Sterling into an advanced position which meant Scannell virtually played as a right back for the second half, nullifying any attacking threat that we had. The home side, at walking pace, created chance after chance and Hiwula was guilty of missing two sitters. That was until Liam Kelly played a fantastic ball over a sleeping defence (shock, again) to an unmarked Enobakhare in the box who fired home two minutes from time.

There was still time for George Miller to be presented with a great chance in stoppage time, only for him to dawdle on the ball and eventually curl the ball high and wide with the goal gaping. The final whistle blew and thankfully we have been put out of our misery.

When Gary Bowyer embarks on his huge summer rebuild, it’s of massive importance that we sign not only talented players but also leaders. When Paul Caddis was substituted today, he took the armband off and looked who to give it to, only to see former captains Anthony O’Connor and Josh Wright turn their heads away and hide. The only one to stand up was the 21-year-old on loan Leeds United centre half Paudie O’Connor, who took on the responsibility. I for one would welcome him back next season from what I have seen so far.

And to be fair to Josh Wright, he played fairly well today. He looked like a player with a point to prove and someone who was fighting for his future, despite still being under contract. It’s just a shame he didn’t feel the need to produce this level of performance in the first part of the season. Maybe if he and others played with that fire, for the whole season, we wouldn’t find ourselves in the basement division.

Today’s fixture against Coventry, another club where fans are at war with the owners, should at least provide us with some hope for the future. Two years ago, on our last visit to the Ricoh Arena the Sky Blues were the ones destined for the drop after only recently appointing current manager Mark Robins. They went down, rebuilt the squad, got promoted at the first opportunity and now find themselves fighting for a play off place in League One – that must be the target for us next season.

Gary Bowyer must be given the backing to give us a successful squad which we can be proud of and connect with. 13,000 season tickets sold for next season shows how loyal this fan base is – and the majority have signed up with the hope of having a promotion to celebrate next May.

Categories: Match Reviews, Opinion

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11 replies

  1. These players should be totally ashamed of themselves. On paper these players should have been able to cope with division one but individually they fell well well short. There are a couple of individuals that have tried but the the majority have been stealing wages.
    I still question the appointment of Gary Bowyer on a 2 year contract, 3 points out of 24, not for me.
    Julian Rhodes shoulder a hefty burden of responsibility, him and his family over ruled Lawn and sold to the Germans, yet he is seen as a saviour.
    There are 13100 of us supporters who have renewed our season tickets the players and management better do a lot better next season otherwise I can only see catastrophic ticket sales next year

    • Tripe. The Rhodes families contribution has been overwhelmingly positive. Bankrolled the Premiership adventure. Stuck with the club through two Administrations to sort out Richmonds hubris. Oversaw the Parky years. They made honest mistakes but who dones not in the real world ? The sale to Rupp/Rahic was decent at face value. Fair play to JR for coming back to steady the ship.

    • You can’t polish a turd! I doubt Klopp or Guardiola would have done much with these no hopers.
      Judge Bowyer when he’s built his own team…..To do it when he’s only go this sorry bunch at his mercy is crazy!

  2. Game Set and Match indeed , with 3 games still to go. I for one thought we might be in with a shout until the final game with Wimbledon but that’s my glass half full for you. The only saving grace from the season has been the loyalty of the supporters with the season ticket response and even today over 600 travelling to Coventry to witness was always gonna end up the way it actually did. Quite amazing really. So it’s upward and onward to next season , with our hopes that we do really have the right manager , we can manage somehow to rid ourselves of the players who have let us down and hang on to the few who havnt. The difficult part now is down to Julian , Stefan and Gary. Give him the tools to do the job and then there are no excuses. And please let’s stop using the Edin word next season. He will have been gone long enough by then . Let’s get Frank Skinner to dump him into room 101 FOREVER. !!!

  3. In your second paragraph you mention the writing waa on the wall from when.Michael Collins was appointed manager. No , many of us were forecasting relegation long before that. We said so on various platforms and were deemed negative. Riley, Wright, Bruenker, etc were the new future!
    We took stick from.other fans, told to get behind the players and whoever waa manager in that particular moon cycle. We were told ” wait until thet gel”.
    We are still waiting for them to gel and could be waiting a long time yet. 52 seasons i have seen City relegated too many times to even think about, but this one is different.
    There was no need for it!
    We now find ourselves in the bottom.division once again and could be.casting nervous glances over our shoulders at the trap door into non league oblivion.
    Years of hard work by many people associated with the club thrown out with the bathwater.
    Sad, so very very sad.

    • They certainly did Mark…..many of whom also advocated for the sacking of Stuart. They are very quiet now hoping no one remembers

  4. 😥😥😥

  5. Let us be totally clear that this was a self inflicted tragedy, entirely due to the mismanagement of the club by the owners. From the moment Stuart was sacked and the information that emerged quickly afterwards it was clear that we were in trouble.

    The appointment of a rookie manager, a poor pre season, lack of preparation and fitness, plus a man who thought he knew football, recruiting unsuitable players, without a manager or a plan was a perfect recipe for disaster. The damage was done with poor quality players and a squad lacking balance and the right experience and leadership qualities.

    The fact that virtually anyone, who had ever had anything to do with Stuart, was ushered out of the club compounded the problems. Killa would surely have been an obvious choice for club captain and senior professional to mentor young players. Similarly why was Colin Doyle allowed to go. Man for man the “new” squad was far worse than the old.

    Grayson, Collins, Hopkin and Bowyer have all failed badly to get a response from players. Losing seven games in a row under Bowyer is a disgrace and shows how bad the squad is. The problem is the contracts that many of these “players” have, last at least another year. It’s going to be a long haul!

  6. Judging Bowyer’s post match interview he suggested that his team are more organised and determined. WOP assessment was totally the opposite. It was a gutless performance with few positive moments. I know he inherited the squad and only managed 1 win and 7 defeats. We can only hope that the deadwood is cleared out and that the budget covers both departures and recruitment. We will be a big fish even in the bottom division and hopefully the toxic season we have had since the start of 2018, doesn’t act as a deterrent. Recruitment is going to be crucial. It is important we recruit leaders and winners. Next season has got to be a one of progression. We need to have a team that fights for the club and supporters. Anything else will destroy this club especially if we end up like Notts County destined to play non league football.

  7. That’s me done for this season they don’t deserve the support and they are all in job interviews for the last 3 games anyway, for me I would get rid of the lot except Danny Devine & Billy Clarke.

    Hang on, give me a chance to explain.

    Danny Devine has shown good glimpses from His early days, then has been wrapped in cotton wool and He is a Bradfordian, who we need to unleash, and the platform is set now we are in league 2 and the opportunity is there for Him to shine and get stronger along the way.

    Billy Clarke loves this Club and never wanted to go, but that history has gone forever now and I don’t ever want to mention the previous co owners name who was at the front of that decision as He does not warrant the air time for numerous reasons, Billy Clarke league 2, passionate about the club, desire and experience, we are going after a target man, works for me, even as a back up player if we get a Nahki Wells style player.

    I will be back in August to support the New Squad that Gary Bowyer will and has promised to build, we go again with a fresh start with a Manager yes a Manager who will pick the players to make us proud again, looking forward to the New signings coming through the doors, I think when they hear the noise levels on that 1st Home game, they will know, like what we have had before the last time we dragged ourselves out of league 2.

    The Class of 2013 – History Makers, who would never chuck the towel in.

  8. Being a “Bradfordian” , or being “passionate about the club” aren’t sufficient qualities to warrant either player being offered a new contract.

    Neither have even been considered good enough to have been first choice selections in one of the poorest City sides for years and don’t possess the personal qualities Bowyer has repeatedly stated he is looking for.

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