I’ve had enough of Bradford City

By John Wade

I fear for the worst. I saw the future two years ago when I watched Harrogate Town play Chesterfield.

A team reduced to the National League and struggling there, caused by bad management, but supported by a lot of loyal noisy supportive fans.

That was Chesterfield.

The other team, an artificial affair, not many fans, but well managed, well financed, up and coming.

That was Harrogate.

I saw the future of City that day.

In my 70 years supporting City I have rarely been as despondent as I am now.

We are as low as we have been for many years, and I see only worse to come.

Whose ideas were the following?

  1. When the season is so compressed, with two games most weeks, to have a smaller squad.
  2. To play, in Staunton and Evans, players who were not 100% fit. Did it surprise the management when Evans was off the pace and Staunton injured again?
  3. To not be prepared for the last two transfer windows, and be forced to sign, in Dylan Mottley-Henry and Kurtis Guthrie, men patently not good enough.
  4. To not pick a full team in the Football League Trophy game with Wolves, when the players had had time off due to the postponement of the Grimsby game. Surely the first-choice players needed match fitness?

I am not sure if I am correct, but it does seem that we get more injuries than most, and those injuries seem to take longer to cure.

Regarding Stuart McCall, I can only say that I do not believe the summer transfer window failings were totally his fault. If they were, he is incompetent, and I do not think he is. There must have been constraints put on him.

Since Phil Parkinson resigned, we have had a succession of failed managers. Each one, apart from Michael Collins, had a decent track record, and each one, at City,  suddenly became a failure. Equally, we have signed players with decent records who have become poor players at City.

Further, we have had, in Doyle and Vaughan, players who had prospered before, hated being at City, and then prospered after they left.

There must be a reason for this.

Organisations fail, generally speaking, because of the failures of those who own and run them. Therefore, the fault at City is that of Stefan Rupp. He has been assisted in his failings by Edin Rahic- but remember that Rahic was put in the job and allowed to do it by Rupp.

But Rhodes and Lawn sold to Rupp and Rahic. Parkinson saw through Rahic straight away. Why did not our owners?

Julian Rhodes has been acting temporary chief executive for about two years, and has presided over a slump. He appointed and sacked Bowyer, then appointed McCall possibly too quickly without looking at alternatives.

It seems we have no proper scouting system, no in depth match analysis.

I cannot bear this any longer. I can do nothing about it so have decided to try to not think or worry about City any more.

The owners of the club do not deserve our support.

I shall hope something good turns up, I shall read WOAP and look at the results, but I shall try not to think about City.

They’re not worth it.

I wish you all well, and hope salvation comes, hopefully in the form of avoiding relegation and getting new owners.

Categories: Opinion


38 replies

  1. To be honest it is a shambles and something drastic needs to change and quickly, could we have a better manager than Stuart? Of course. Could we have an owner and CEO more interested than Rupp and Julian? Most definitely and this needs to change very soon.

    But will I ever give up on my club and throw my toys out of the pram, absolutely not. This is the time where ‘noisy’ fans need to stand up and be counted, not give in because they can’t take the lows with the highs, I think what I’m trying to say is give your head a wobble and get behind the movement to implement positive change across OUR club.

  2. Brilliant summary and I don’t think there’s anything else to say.

  3. I also believe in never giving up on your club and being a stalwart through thick and thin. However I’m not sure my mental health can take much more disappointment?

  4. Has it really come to this?
    I watched the Bury documentary recently and thought that could so easily have been us!
    I started watching City in the old 4th division, it wasn’t easy (especially with Leeds in the old 1st division) but we had characters who gave their all for the Claret and Amber shirt – even though some of them were only part time players with ‘normal’ jobs. If like me you ever dreamed of playing for City, the current situation is hard to take.

  5. Succinct perhaps but the point of being a supporter is to support through thick an thin. And you have supported City just a bit longer than me (58 years) and we have both seen an awful lot of crap over those years. Giving up now is sad and not what I would expect of a true supporter….

    I suspect that if things improve you will be back and that’s not true support in my opinion. I do hope you change your mind.

    • He will be supporting them on Saturday I can assure you. But in a depressing time, City aren’t helping.

    • Vic, we are where we are because of Rupp and Rhodes incompetence. The final straw for me was their dig at fans for not buying enough iFollow passes. Poor forecasting of sales is an example of their incompetence. What the heck were they expecting. Marketing 101 tells you to expect a drop in sales when your product deteriorate.

  6. Bye then. I’m just as frustrated as the next person, but I’m not going to bail on a club just because it might be struggling on and off the pitch. Plastic fan.

    • Read between the lines.

    • I can promise you he hasnt given up on them. Every week I, as does my dad, receive a message from my grandad about City within one minute of the game finishing. I’m fairly certain the same trend will happen after Oldham on Saturday

  7. I feel like I am entering a competition here! I have followed City for 64 years, and have seen a lot of 4th division stuff in that time, but I have never seen a City side who didn’t TRY. Living about 100 mile’s away from VP for the last 44 of those 64 years, I don’t see a lot of games, and none yet this season, so I can’t comment on that score. Regardless, it will not stop them being my team. I guess CTID applies…..

  8. One of the criticisms of this side is they don’t try. I don’t think that’s the case. They’re not good enough – end of.
    If we have a fully fit squad we are a top ten side. If we have the current position, we are struggling!

  9. I can fully understand your feelings, John. Why worry over something you have no power to change? The club is an utter shambles and really doesn’t deserve your support. I don’t think you’ll be on your own either. Unless there’s a dramatic change, the next take up of season tickets could be as low as 6,000. A club can’t take support for granted and it has to be earned. At this moment in time it isn’t earning it. An absentee owner, a reclusive CEO who wants out, and little or no communication with the fans. Add to that one of the worst playing squads in the clubs history. Your statement “the owners of the club do not deserve our support” is bang on the money. Would the poster who brands you a “plastic fan”, continue to patronise a restaurant, where the owners show no apparent interest in the business, disregard customers and serve up a rubbish product?

  10. I’ve 65 years in support of Bradford City its not good but has we’ve seen far worse, the club, manager and players need our support it now its not the tome to give up, with 70 years involved I’d have thought you’d feel the same way, obviously not.

    • The club has seen adversity before and real tragedy. Lets keep a bit of perspective. The club has solid enough support to rise again to the giddy heights of lower league mediocrity. I will be there to enjoy the journey. Some will fall by the wayside which is fine.That said preferable for them to slink away quietly rather than burdening us with a hand wringing confessional.

      • Paul, the club’s “solid enough support” is a distortion of reality It’s based on the belief that £150 season tickets represent good value. I think that belief is about to be severely tested. I know that current iFollow game day passes at £10/$12 is way overpriced for the quality of play on offer. In addition, the general quality of League Two football is likely to drop further next season, thanks to the salary cap. Marketing 101 states a drop in quality = a drop in sales. Sad to say, in Bradford City’s situation it’s going to be a big one. It will be interesting to hear what Spark’s response will be. Hopefully, not another dig at fans.

      • Support for the club runs a bit deeper than that Woody. I think you know that if you reflect on it. Four generations of my family (like many others) . Quite obviously Mr Wades as well! We all have a network of family and friends who will stick with it in the main. That is the true strength of the club and why we will be ok in the end.

      • Paul, I can relate to what your saying.

  11. One man’s opinion. That’s all it is. Perfectly able to say as you are able to criticise. Lets not go down the plastic fan route. A fan who has had enough isn’t plastic, realistic, but not plastic. At a time when the club is in real trouble of falling out of the league and in the midst of covid and all that it entails, let’s not pick on each other eh? #be kind.

  12. Anyone who was jumping up and down at the Chelsea match (any of the times we beat them) who didn’t think (if not then but later) “We’ll have to pay for this with some suffering” is naive.
    And this is our lot, unlike the favoured clubs like Chelsea, whose “suffering” is not qualifying for Europe (and so not having their front legs in the trough for a season)
    At least we don’t have to suffer VAR.
    I’m sorry you feel that bad, John.

    • Lots of truth in this. I remember walking back down Midland Rd with my lad after Arsenal, Leeds, Villa and telling him to remember these times cos they don’t come round too often. Mood Hoover? Yes but also a realist. Swings and Roundabouts. We’ll come again. ⚽️👍

  13. I’ve been going since 96, one of those sorts who’ve travelled all over country, at great expense, midweek away games on the south coast, London, Plymouth… But I’m at a point in life now where I have other priorities and football is something that needs to be justified in terms of time and cost.

    To be honest, the way football is in general isn’t helping. The 24 hour coverage that bombards you, the culture of the Instagram player – even in L2 some of ours boast about their other businesses – and the sheer reliance of money and the amounts involved are just a turn off to be honest. Not what I got interested in all those years ago.

    I can see myself just ooking out for results in a few years time, maybe going to the odd game / day out in London away game. But the time and cost commitment – arranging whole weekends and family activities around football as I’ve done for many years – probably will come to an end to be honest.

  14. Blimey.. there’s some merit in this but in a time when we need to stand together this is perhaps the most depressing post I’ve read. Not blind faith from me, there needs to be accountability but positivity breeds positivity and this article has the opposite effect. ⚽️👍

  15. A thought provoking read, thank you.
    I’ve been a Bradford City supporter for just over 31 seasons and after going to my first game, the ill-fated 3-2 defeat at home to Ipswich Town, I didn’t realise then what impact Bradford City would have on my life. Yes, during the past three decades, there have been plenty of defeats witnessed but I’ve also the happy memories of Blackpool, QPR, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Burton Albion, Leeds United, Sunderland and four visits to Wembley (I couldn’t get to Everton and Chelsea in the FA Cup due to commitments). There have also been a defeat seen at Peterborough under a very poor John Docherty team, the fighting at Hull City, the 6-0 defeat at Old Trafford, a home defeat to Wimbledon, a Friday night defeat at Southend United, defeat at Yeovil Town a week before the Chelsea FA Cup win and my last game, at Salford City in March this year when we were awful and lost 2-0. Would I change anything? My answer is no. You have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs.
    I’ve only watched one game this season on television and that was the FA Cup win at Tonbridge Angels so I am not in a position to make much of a comment about matters on the pitch this season. However, what I will say is that Stuart McCall and Julian Rhodes will be hurting at this moment in time. Forget the fact that Stuart is rightly a legend for his playing days with us, the club needs to show faith in him right now. We’ve chopped and changed our manager too many time since McCall was ridiculously sacked in February 2018. There are plenty of games left this season to move in the right direction in the league table. I admit that because of the current lockdown, my appetite for Bradford City has dropped from its usual high levels because for me, the joy of football comes from attending games with friends and family. However, I didn’t spend the summer of 2004 helping to raise much needed funds to keep my football club afloat. Hopefully, when we are able to safely watch and support Bradford City again at grounds up and down the country, supporters will feel differently to how they may be feeling now. Come on City!

  16. May I point out that I didn’t complete the sentence in my above comments. It should read as: However, I didn’t spend the summer of 2004 helping to raise much needed funds to keep my football club afloat, to see it all washed away less than 20 seasons later.

  17. I think these terms ‘plastic’ ‘newbie’ ‘hater’ and “happy Clapper’ are the territory of our younger fans and in the context of as many opinions as fans really mean nothing. Applied to the original poster is disrespectful
    I have ‘done’ 55 seasons and intend to go out of this world supporting City.
    I dont accept being any of the terms hurled about without thought by the younger fans.
    They ain’t seen nothing yet!!!!
    I do subscribe to growing feeling that the lack of leadership.at the top in terms of a reluctant owner and want away CEO is the key to an apathy running through the corridors of VP maybe even as far as the dressing room. The players need to be reminded that when they pull a City shirt.on.they are doing it on my behalf. I was never the best at playing and now I am unlikely to get in even.this squad. So the players have a responsibility to us, but equally the men at the top need to be showing leadership and also communicating with the fans. That to me is key.

  18. In 2004 when I saw the financial state of the club I genuinely thought it was a lost cause and that it was futile to continue. If I am honest I was surprised that Julian Rhodes was prepared to commit to the club at the time because the odds were so heavily stacked against. I do sometimes wonder whether the club would have been in a better position now had it been liquidated and started afresh.

    In the context of where we were in 2004 it was a remarkable achievement to get to Wembley in 2013 and to have had the momentum that existed as recently as 2017. Julian Rhodes made no secret of the fact that he had taken the club as far as he could and he had been trying to sell it long before 2016. We all knew that if the club was not sold to someone with wealth it could not progress and had the club not been sold I suspect that there would have been exactly the same frustrations and criticisms about the way the club was run. Julian Rhodes was damned to sell, damned not to sell.

    Ultimately the club could only be sold to someone prepared to buy it. The credentials of the Germans in 2016 looked respectable and they were welcomed by the vast majority of supporters in contrast to the scepticism surrounding other interested parties. It seemed too good to be true that foreign investors were prepared to throw money at BCAFC and with the benefit of hindsight, the naivety of Stefan Rupp is astounding. It all went wrong under Edin Rahic and the place in the sun that we aspired to has disappeared.

    Ironically the man who has spent the most on BCAFC in all of its history is Stefan Rupp. Had prior regimes had such wealth and been prepared to commit it to BCAFC – Heginbotham / Martin / Heginbotham & Tordoff / Simpson / Richmond or Rhodes – then I suspect we would have had a much different history and a far better outlook. Richmond of course spent other peoples’ money that he could not afford to lose.

    In our lifetimes there have been very few people willing to throw money at BCAFC. Remember how Ken Morrison always opted to look away? That has ultimately been the constraint for those in charge at Valley Parade and will continue to be so.

    No regime at Valley Parade can escape criticism for the ways that the club has been run in the past 50 years and Julian Rhodes is not the first to be criticised. He has not helped himself by being invisible although I can understand why he has been averse to being public. On the other hand, the financial management of the club under his tenure has been far better than that of any other regime and deserves to be recognised.

    We deceive ourselves that BCAFC is a big club or that investing in Bradford is an attractive proposition for people with wealth. Until a benign millionaire comes along to buy the club from Stefan Rupp we cannot expect instant transformation and it is equally unrealistic to expect Stefan Rupp to significantly increase his exposure. Sadly, as John Wade has acknowledged in conversation with myself and others previously, this is very much a Bradford affair whether we like it or not. The heart say one thing, the head says another. Notwithstanding we are in a far stronger position now than was the case in 2004.

  19. Wow what a depressing read! Also i feel a bit of a lightweight having been going to Valley Parade for “only” 45 years compared to some of the much lonher serving “sufferers” on here😉
    City certainly arent helping their fans dealing with the current depressing pandemic, lots of fans across the country are looking to their clubs for some inspiration, Leeds are certainly cheering their fans up, but we just continue to slide down the league which is heartbreaking to see.
    Keep the faith John(as I’m sure you will) I’m sure we will turn a corner soon
    Beating Oldham on Satdi would be a start so at least we can have the weekend to dream about a good cup draw(before drawing Bristol Rovers away!!) and hopefully have more money coming onto the coffers, so come on City give us summat to look forward to again!!

  20. Just like you John I have watched City for seventy years . If you think you can switch off so easily I will be surprised. I know that some of the younger generation can switch clubs at the drop of a hat . Liverpool or Man U. etc depending on who won or lost last week. I hope underneath your understandable dismay you believe A Dog Is For Life Not Just For Christmas.

    • You and John Dewhirst are absolutely correct. I shall find it impossible to walk away mentally. Whatever happens I shall probably be too old next season to drive to Bradford to watch. But City this season are making me feel depressed and I cannot allow that.
      But I do repeat that they do not deserve our support.
      I salute those of you who disagree with me and hope you get the success you at least deserve.

      • I haven’t been for 3 seasons but still buy a season ticket. I used to go home and away so this season being able to watch on ifollow has been great for me ( the performances apart ). I hope something similar can be sorted when the world is back to normal.

  21. I’ve had many thoughts like the ones written above.Thoughts like buger them I’m not going there again.sack the manager.get rid of so n so,all from the heart not the head.When you think with your head,things look a bit different.We all criticise and think we can do better!but can we? Don’t any of us make mistakes at home at work I know I do. What I’d love to see is Rupp washing his hands of city and giving them to the community to run. Could that be any better.

  22. As a long suffering supporter of Bradford City I always look forward to reading articles on Width of a Post, these make for excellent reading. In common with the majority of posts I am still passionate about the Club after 62 years since I saw my first game v Scunthorpe United in a “Must Win Game” which was lost 2-3 before an 18 thousand plus crowd. The winners to be promoted to the old Second Division from Division Three (North). Following City is a roller coaster ride with both good and bad memories. Growing up outside the Bradford area I was often ridiculed by my Burnley/Leeds supporting friends, but I am proud to be the third of 5 generations to follow events at Valley Parade.
    I recall in the days of the 1960s City playing in front of crowds between 3 and 4 thousand and applying for re-election on 2 occasions.
    The country is in economic crisis, therefore it is highly unlikely that someone is prepared to invest a large sum of money into the Club. There is criticism regarding recruitment but perhaps the Board are reserving monies for January or to ensure that financially we still have a Football Club at the end of the season!!
    The ordinary supporter is not aware of what goes on in the corridors of Valley Parade, therefore, we as City supporters should remain faithful to the Club and trust in the Boards judgements.
    City has had many low points in their history but have pulled through with their loyal supporters always behind them.
    The next three games are very important to where the Club is going in the future and lets hope they can restore confidence with a FA cup win against Oldham. Hold on tight as the Roller Coaster ride continues!

  23. I too have had the same thoughts of packing in and ditching City.
    Unfortunately after 40 years of support it’s just not possible!! It is now in my DNA to follow and support City whether I want to or not – and this is the price I pay for the unbelievable highs of the Premiership, Arsenal and Villa in the League Cup and Chelsea in the FA cup. Most league 1 and 2 supporters have never and will never experience the like.
    We need some sense of perspective and bags of positivity. League football is very fluid and City have no divine right to do well, we need to earn it in the face of adversity – most of which is self – afflicted. Just look at how Luton and others have reacted to extreme adversity. We are not a sleeping giant which needs waking up. We are a lower league club with illustrious beginnings and some more recent flashes of success.
    Once again we need to pull together and get moving in the right direction.

  24. Been supporting since birth and attending since 1962, so Ive seen everything including the Hereford home game, Gary Shaw’s 4 minute hat-trick and the fire of course. It’s a difficult year on many fronts and the emotion is high naturally. If we can recover some form and finish mid-table this season (assuming it finishes), be solvent, and have a relatively new and energetic CEO and squad then I’ll buy that now. Keep the faith all. Ooh and when I win £144 million on Friday night I’ll sort it out.

  25. I myself am a long life city fan never in my 50 years have I ever seen a poor team its heart breaking to see this great club been run like this I will always support city but its getting harder

  26. This year has been a total write off and anyone who is looking to Bradford City as some form of salvation from 2020 is a fool 🙂

    I love me club, but I’m certainly not relying on them…I need some kind of reason to allow myself to do that and for too long I’ve not been supplied one.


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