By Ben Jones
On Tuesday, 25 November, John Wade published an article on this website stating “I’ve had enough of Bradford City”. It was heartfelt, pointed and sadly rang true for many. It attracted 38 comments – not a small amount – who’s opinions differed between him throwing the toys out of the pram to hitting the nail on the head.
Opinions are healthy. Opinions are good. Why support a team if you don’t invest heavily? John is a life long supporter who’s opinion matters. I agreed with much of his hurt, but personally will always turn up. A middle ground.
Yet today I am just angry. Do not bother reading on if you want the grace of Jason. The statistics of Tim. The rounded argument of Alex.
This is just a blunt instrument of truth.
City fans you get what you deserve. A young, well qualified and dedicated man in Ryan Sparks took up his dream role yesterday. And you categorically slated him for it on most social media outlets. It was brutal and frankly over the top. I do hope you are proud. If you didn’t want him appointed then ask yourself why no one else wanted the job.
An admission. I know, like, and have worked with Mr David Baldwin, Mr James Mason and Mr Ryan Sparks.
A further admission. As such I do have behind the scenes knowledge.
Admissions out of the way lets get down to brass tacks. Not one person had heard of Dave Baldwin before he was appointed by Mark Lawn. Dave had actually played for City as a young lad but many fans don’t know that either. He was quite revolutionary and turned the fortunes of the club. He went on to become the CEO of Burnley (the most successful in the club’s history) and the CEO of the EFL. He has a brain the size of Jupiter – believe you me.
When he was appointed I did not know him. I had no idea of his credentials I do not recall such vitriol aimed at him.
Didn’t turn out too bad did it?
I didn’t know James Mason when he was appointed. He oversaw, with complete aplomb, the most successful year in the club’s history. He wasn’t too bad was he? I think he’s got a rather impressive job promoting Yorkshire at the moment. Another CEO role. Boy done good. Did he face such vitriol?
Before that, the much maligned Shaun Harvey was promoted from a leading role at City to the CEO of the EFL.
We seem to have a track record.
Ryan is exceptional in modern times in that he has been promoted from within. Julian Rhodes made the concession in the Telegraph & Argus that he has been “leading the club on a day to day basis” and the decision was made “months ago”.
Having worked with Ryan for some time I can confirm this to be correct. I can also confirm that he is tenacious, ambitious, bloody minded and driven in the pursuit of success for Bradford City. He is very bright and determined. The only important factor you need to consider is that he will deploy this for the good of our club.
How many of those that slagged the appointment off yesterday have seen what he does or tries to achieve? How many have spoken with him? I have. And you are so badly wide of the mark.
He’s being castigated by folk who would struggle to run a bath, let alone a football club. As stated above, there is nothing wrong with opinions but quantify them, tell us why he will do a bad job. So far all I have seen is that he is a cheap option and he’s young.
Let’s assess this. He was appointed by Edin. He actually stood up to Edin – something I have witnessed with my own eyes – and told him some truths. He then saw the appointment of many managers. Tyrell Robinson. Relegation. The sacking of Bowyer. The appointment of McCall. Covid. Pay caps. A testing start for anyone. Where can you level any wrong doing at him? Where can you say he didn’t stand up to the plate for our club?
He has stuck by the club when many wouldn’t, and has yesterday made as bold a decision as one can make. Before the reader thinks I am a fan boy, or JR or SR in disguise, I actually disagree with this decision. But I am man enough to accept opposing opinions and decisions. I am certainly enthused someone has put their hands in their pants, found their mojo, and made a decision.
He is 29. So what? Do we not want someone with a desire to succeed? His mortgage depends on this. Isn’t that where you want your CEO? Not some fat cat old failure who’s been touted about elsewhere.
Those in support of Stuart loudly argue in support of continuity. Why employ someone who’s failed elsewhere when Stuart loves the club they shout. Ryan loves the club. He is yet to fail anywhere.
All City fans seem to want is the old. With absolutely no thought about it. Do you really think the departed CEO of a Premier League Club and the EFL would come back? Really? If so you do not understand wage structures, ambition and circumstance.
We have the old now and we are moaning in our droves that McCall isn’t good enough. He only got an extension because he is who he is. Those who want him sacked want Parky back. Or Gary Jones. Or Terry Dolan. They also moan that JR has taken the club backwards for 20 years.
Yet, when we employed a manager who worked us into play off contention who wasn’t one of our own we also chased him out. Yes, the football was bland, but get him out also. Brilliant stuff.
The fact is we have had few good years in many, many years. Those of late came about when we employed an outsider with vision. Who had an ethos and a plan. A man who built a ship.
Perhaps we need to stop castigating new ideas, the youth, and stop begging for the past. Because that’s what you get with the past. The same results.
And the way yesterday’s announcements have been met shows why we cannot attract the outsiders many so crave.
The club can only pull together if we assist. It’s chicken and egg. We need results to buy in, they need us to back them. This is age old.
Things are terrible at the moment. Yet many fans compound it. Cheer it on. Revel in it. We were once bound by our past and fate. We moaned and groaned but ultimately loved the club. Many now are attracted by slagging the club off as a pastime. Again, all opinions matter. Many raise serious food for thought.
But yesterday heralded a new era. We chose to slate it, not back it.
We get what we deserve.