Another dismal afternoon for Bradford City heightens the urgency to give fans something to believe in

Bradford City 1

Donaldson 11 (pen)

Oldham Athletic 2

McAleny 18, Rowe 47

By Jason McKeown

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”
― Randy Pausch, American educator  

After a week of off-the-field announcements advocating the virtues of stability, this dreadful defeat was another sharp reminder of the urgent need for Bradford City to demonstrate they’re not heading down the wrong path.

The current situation is only getting darker. Signs of green shoots of recovery are becoming increasingly hard to find. There was no let up on the recent misery. No prospect of a third round FA Cup tie to spark some much-needed excitement. Oldham’s comfortable victory consigns the Bantams to concentrating on the league. Where they desperately need to rectify their unrelenting decline.

And they’ll have to do it with the huge handicap of their best defender being ruled out of actions for months. Reece Staunton’s unfortunate midweek injury reoccurrence against Leyton Orient has done more damage than just costing City a share of the points at Brisbane Road. His now-confirmed long-term absence is casting another shadow over Stuart McCall’s side.

It is yet another injury that a thinbare squad lacks the quality to compensate for. And is perhaps the most crucial one yet.

Staunton is rightly winning plenty of admirers for his performances so far this season, and his value to Bradford City is truly amplified by their struggles to cope without him. At Salford last Saturday, McCall had tried to minimise the loss of Staunton’s influence by sticking with the same approach that was showing signs of promise, only for the team to fall apart without him. No wonder the manager had been so desperate to put Staunton straight back into the team last Tuesday.

Without the 18-year-old’s services again here, this time McCall opted to alter the team to compensate for the lack of an alternative left-sided, ball-playing defender. The 3-5-2 was switched to a straight 4-4-2, designed to make allowances for back-up centre back Ben Richards-Everton’s weakness in passing. But the move only served to neuter the strengths of others.

Billy Clarke, for example, was shunted to a left wing role that he is simply unsuited for. Pace is not amongst Clarke’s qualities, so he struggled to run past defenders or get back to provide defensive support to Connor Wood. Also asked to play a different role was Anthony O’Connor, who was pushed into the middle of the park and looked every inch a defender playing defensive midfielder. Ultimately, he and Elliot Watt were overrun by a vibrant Oldham. 

Still, for a brief few moments, it threatened to be an afternoon of positivity for City. They actually started the game well, with the more direct approach initially pushing Oldham back. In the 10th minute, Clarke’s cross into the box found Clayton Donaldson, who was tripped over for a penalty. The veteran forward calmly chipped home the spot kick himself, and City had their first goal in two-and-a-half matches.

But just like on Tuesday, the injury curse struck again – changing the outlook. Zeli Ismail was making his first start since he went off at half time of the Wolves Under 21s Football League Trophy game with injury. And after just 14 minutes, the Albanian winger pulled up again. Playing on the right, Ismail had started promisingly and was proving adept running at people whilst keeping the ball. Something that couldn’t be said of his replacement, Dylan Mottley-Henry.

Within minutes, Oldham were level. Conor McAleny cut inside from Bryce Hosannah – the on-loan Leeds defender was also making a return from injury, but looked slightly off the pace – and he struck a thunderous shot from distance that flew past the helpless Richard O’Donnell. 

It was Oldham’s first attack. And the goal seemed unjust at the time. Although it wasn’t long before they stamped their authority on the contest.

The effectiveness of City’s 4-4-2 approach faded without the outlet of Ismail to stretch the play, and Oldham began to enjoy more possession. Harry Kewell’s men kept laying in wait to counter attack in numbers and at pace. City lacked the ability to win the turnovers, with Anthony O’Connor, Clarke and Watt easily bypassed. And there was too big of a gap between City’s midfield and back four, leaving Paudie O’Connor and Richards-Everton struggling to judge whether to attack the ball or run back towards their goal. 

If you’re going to play 4-4-2 you have to be compact. The backline and the midfield four have to move up and down the pitch whilst maintaining the same distances between each other – as do the forwards. The ball has to stick up front. And when possession is lost, the team needs to have a clear shape to be ready to win it back.

None of these things happened. 

The Oldham chances began to pile up. McAleny got in behind Paudie O’Connor and produced a great piece of skill, only for his shot to fly just wide. From another counter attack, Wood was committed too far up the pitch and the ball was worked into the space behind him. A cross into the box left Brice Ntambwe with an almost open-goal, but he somehow prodded the ball wide.

McAleny produced a good save from O’Donnell, and then from the same attack hit the bar with a powerful header. Danny Rowe had effort that deflected just wide. Ben Garrity shot wide after another counter attack caused by Anthony O’Connor weakly giving the ball away.

McCall tried to stem the tide by moving City to a 4-3-3, with Mottley-Henry pushed forwards to support Donaldson and the quiet Austin Samuels, but they were hanging on for the half time whistle. Oldham pressed well. They were full of confidence and vigour. Fuelled by the boost of winning their last four away games.

The half time break could have brought salvation for City. They remerged from the dressing room several minutes after Oldham, as McCall looked to reshape his charges. He choose to return to 3-5-2, with Gareth Evans brought on for Hosannah. It worked better than the first half formation, but not until after the team gifted Oldham a second goal.

There was no danger it seemed, as Rowe held up the ball on the edge of the City box and began ambling back with it towards the half way line. But Richards-Everton followed him closely, moving himself out of position and leaving space that none of his team mates noticed. Rowe suddenly turned Richards-Everton with a great piece of skill, and was left with a clear run at goal and all the time he needed to pick a shot. The finish was superb, flying past O’Donnell. But the defending was absolutely pathetic.

Where do we go with Richards-Everton? He is not a McCall player for sure but the fact Staunton is the only other left-sided centre back option keeps giving him opportunities in the team that his performances do not deserve. He has let McCall, the club and us supporters down so many times already this season. And yet here we are, with very little choice but to persist with him. It’s a real problem. You can’t trust him. 

Davis Kellior-Dunn could have finished the game off shortly after, but O’Donnell made a fine block. This was the City skipper’s 100th game for City and – given what has occurred since his arrival in the summer of 2018 – it was probably fitting that such a landmark moment was marked by a dismal loss. But for all the critics of the City keeper over recent weeks, he played well here and kept the score down.

In fact, O’Donnell’s heroics meant City continued to have a chance of forcing an equaliser and extra time. Whether Oldham dropped off, or the Bantams improved, is hard to tell, but over the final 30 minutes the home side did force some pressure. Donaldson headed a Wood cross wide, and Evans should have netted his first goal since returning when a loose ball in the box fell at his feet, but he took to long and his shot was deflected wide.

City won plenty of corners and throw-ins in dangerous positions. They worked the ball back and forth across the two flanks, to try and get crosses into the box. But it was all a bit too slow and predictable. They lacked the sharpness to really trouble Oldham, with the pace in the attack a huge contrast to what the visitors offered for long spells. 

Ultimately, the quality just isn’t there. Mottley-Henry is trying, but he lacks the confidence, bravery and speed of thought to create chances. Evans did play pretty well, and the return of Callum Cooke – as a second half sub – offered promise. But in all honesty, did City ever really look like they were about to score? One shot on target all afternoon tells its own damning story.

With Staunton out for months, the problems are mounting. Just how does McCall set the team up from here? The 3-5-2 won’t work if there is only one centre half capable of bringing the ball forward – Anthony O’Connor – and the other two senior centre backs – Ben Richards-Everton and Paudie O’Connor – can’t defend when there is a gap in front of them. Meanwhile, the attack is too toothless to score anywhere near enough goals to make up for the fact the backline can’t keep clean sheets. McCall cannot afford to give Clarke such a peripheral role again

It’s hard to see how it won’t get worse before it gets better. But City cannot afford to go on like this. They are dangling too close to the relegation zone for comfort, and the potential cavalry of January recruits is at least eight games away. 

McCall has to find solutions right now. The club’s show of confidence in him this week – in awarding him a new contract – is very laudable. But without an upturn in results, it will do nothing to appease the growing group of supporters unimpressed with the way the manager is going about things.

This is a really serious situation. Bradford City cannot afford to be relegated out of the Football League. Supporters need reasons to feel calmer about the situation. That can only come with results.

The decisions announced this week – the promotion of Ryan Sparks to CEO and extension of McCall’s deal – have very understandably split opinion. As fans we have seen the club go backwards and backwards since the summer of 2017. The failures in leadership are there for all to see. The atmosphere and mood is getting more and more toxic. We need reassurance and positive answers to the ever-louder questions being asked. 

Right now, believing that Sparks is the right CEO and McCall is the right manager requires a leap of faith. Some of us are willing to make that leap, others very understandably are not. At least not yet. Only time is going to tell if the right moves have been made.

Ultimately the club is only going to be successful if everyone can get behind it. That’s only going to start happening if the ship turns before it hits another iceberg. If visible signs begin to emerge that City are taking the right path. If as fans we actually see something that we can believe in.

So the next few days, and next few weeks, could be absolutely vital in setting the tone for the months ahead. Bradford City has to start delivering now. Otherwise, winter really is coming. 



Categories: Match Reviews

Tags: , , ,

31 replies

  1. Good summary Jason. These players just seem incapable of any kind of spark, or of maintaining shape and concentration. We regularly look like we are playing with 9 men.

    Watt has been criticised a lot today, and he wasnt great, but he is one of the only players prepared to receive the ball under pressure and the only one willing to attempt quick first time passes. As a result we are incredibly pedestrian in possession. I noticed a number of occasions where Evan’s passed to Watt then wandered into a marked position. Meanwhile DMH inevitably stops and passes backwards whenever faced up by his full back, and Samuel’s remains anonymous.

    I’ve singled those two out but it just becomes more and more obvious that we simply dont have the quality to improve. No amount of tactical tinkering from McCall can counter the squads shortcomings. That the loss of 18yo Reece Staunton is such a blow underlines how badly this squad has been put together. Sadly that lies at McCall’s door. We have to hope Sparks plan going forward includes an experienced DoF who can identify and recruit a better bunch of players than those we have now.

  2. I wish people would stop going on about a DOF. We are a failing League 2 team, regardless of the money it would cost who the hell would come to BCAFC and take those reins. Lol.

  3. The alarming thing about today was, yes, it was a game that if won, would have guaranteed much needed finances. But, it was also a game without the pressures of league football. In some respects, allowing players to relax, play with more freedom and express themselves. Unfortunately they failed in all areas.
    What do they do in training for the defence on matchdays to resemble a lucky dip of competition winners coming together for the first time? Who’s organising, shouting, directing, cajoling?
    The lack of decisiveness from our midfield with the ball is all too familiar. Too slow to think, act or probe. Sideways, back or hopeful punt forward seems to be the way.
    DMH has obvious pace. Utilise it! Be direct and got crosses into the opposition penalty box. That’s your job.
    Our forward line is probably the worst I’ve witnessed, even taking into account those out with injury. Again, short of pace, lack of aggression and seemingly, lack of ability.
    I’m sure we’ll pick up a point here and there in the next few games, but the forthcoming January window is arguably going to be the most important in our modern history.
    Get it right and we can build upon it. Get it wrong, then we’ll be clinging on to our league status.
    How’s it come to this?

  4. Like all city fans Jason you are worried I agree with everything you have said,it’s not all about January ,Stuart needs to get us tactics right with players not playing out of position.If we can not attract the right players we are in for a long winter ,which may last years,and my worry is if we couldn’t attract players in the summer how will we attract them in January when all the good players are under contract especially with the constrains of the salary cap and the position we are in the league,in my view the club are hanging there hopes on loan signing this is a massive gamble especially if they go for inexperienced young players ,in my view we need a new investor or group who have experienced in running a football club one man springs to mind is someone one like Mark Lawn who we all know and respect who would come in to change the direction we heading towards which if not altered could kill the club off, can you imagine the club in the conference with our overheads it doesn’t bear thinking about.

  5. Does anyone really believe that this squad are capable of putting in performances that can stop the club sliding towards non league football and oblivion?

    Absolutely embarrassing performance that gets worse week in week out. We back off and back off and give opposition too much time and space and we are just easy pickings.

    Where are goals coming from? We need 4 or five new players through the door to give us a fighting chance. But will they come? Can we attract anyone through the door? In the meantime out of contract players look like the only option to boost this ailing and desperate squad of players.

    I dont think there is nothing that hasn’t been said about how bad this squad of players are. The loss of Stauton is a massive blow. In over 40 years following the club this is easily the worse assembled crock of crap I’ve seen. I’m struggling for 1 positives from today’s showing and will take a massive effort in recruitment in January to turn this sinking ship around.

  6. At this point in time I honestly don’t envision City being relegated this season. Also, thanks to the salary cap I am confident in predicting that next season the quality of League Two football will drop closer to City’s current standard of play. I look forward to a level playing field where management of the Club both on and off the pitch will be exposed and easily compared to other clubs.

  7. I watched City with a tear in my eye against Swansea when my team, my team, played in a major Cup final. We were completely and utterly outplayed and could have lost by any number, and the reason was that they were a top Premier League side and we were a League 2 side – it was understandable. Today I sat there with horror in my eyes, a side 17th in League 2 completely and utterly outplayed us to virtually the same extent as that day at Wembley. If it had finished a 5 goal deficit, you couldn’t have argued.

    We want McCall to succeed. What could be better than City led by our hero doing well. He needs to sign some players now – a couple of free agents if possible- as we can’t wait 8 matches – and then we need a good transfer window!

    • Hi Rob,

      I think many fans agree that we need some better players…the problem is three-fold:

      a) If they are free players in November why are they still free? Odds are most wont necessarily improve on what we have

      b) If they are better players out there…would they want to come to a club thats struggling and seemingly in free-fall over the last three seasons? They won’t be chosing clubs where managers come and go and you risk being frozen out shortly after joining because the new manager doesnt fancy the cut of your jib

      c) Taking on free signings for the sake of it (assuming that there is not going to be much quality out there) just reduces the budget available for January when we might be able to pick up some better players through loans or full transfers etc

      I agree that we definately need better players in a few positions – I just dont think we are going to find them before January

    • I agree with all you say 100pc until your last paragraph. Free agents don’t come free but they do come unfit. Like you I watch City all the time and take note of opposing players but I can’t think any who would be released by there current club. I also note that quite a few players who I was more than willing to go at the time are holding their own in sides above us in the lg. Worrying times.

    • Regarding free agents, I think we need to remember that football is a job to the players and therefore money is key. Players could be available because –

      a) Nobody wants them because they are not better than what they’ve got.
      b) Clubs won’t pay the player what he think s he can get.

      So player in category (a) – no we don’t need any more of them! I am talking about players in category (b).

      Let’s take it to the normal workplace. Bob earns £60k a year for contract work. His contract ends and they offer him a permanent job for £30k a year. Does Bob take the permanent job or does he wait for a better offer on contract terms? The theory is that even working 2/3 of the year, Bob earns more than the permanent role. Clearly, the longer no offer comes along the amount he’ll take gets closer to the £30k as he has to keep his CV up to date and has bills to pay. However, a club that needs players fast, may mean he doesn’t need to drop his rate.

      Now, I can’t say I know anything about football business but I can’t see why it would be any different in football. That’s why you have had players like Hiwula and Caddis waiting for the best offer. They know their value and they’re still available.

      There are players out there apparently and whilst they won’t be 100% match fit, they won’t be far off.

      I’m hoping that the extension of Stuart’s contract will give him the confidence in his position to able to work this market.

  8. The one good thing to come out of Reece’s injury is it will stop other clubs from coming sniffing around him in the January window.

  9. Sadly Jason your bang on with all of the points you make. Surely French or Sikora have to be drafted in as centre half options now. It’s not just BRE performances that are problematic it surely must worry the other players when he’s in the line up. I feel for the lad it’s not fair that we keep playing him for his own self worth of nothing else (yes it’s got that bad)! The amount of goals week in week out for 2 yrs now where opposition run at the edge of our box and score is quite honestly unbelievable and embarrassing. Imagine the opposition team talk after watching last 5 games videos! They won’t track runners so let’s run at them for a hardcore 20mins from all angles in first half and win the game. Oh yeah and between halfway and edge of box centrally run at them and shoot . Cue no tackles and unlikely a keeper that will save from a long range shot…! If we were to strengthen that specific area (decent CH and DCMs) bin this pretty football approach overlapping this that and the other for a while then we will have enough to stay up. If we don’t then the pretty patterns formations etc etc will be irrelevant. Get solid 1st – stop the blindingly obvious issues and go from there. It’s ok saying out of contract players need weeks to get up to speed etc but in reality in the positions we are in most need then fitness isn’t that big a deal. Oh and plus over half the squad are playing either unfit ie recovering or about to pull something or just not reliable fitness wise so where’s the problem or difference? If we sign some ugly players who just want to do the ugly stuff that will do me goals will come – but let’s not pretend Watt is anywhere near a defensive type midfielder or Cooke so basically leaves Lexi Sutton as our only defensive midfielder in the whole squad! Woops! I back SM and RS long term thinking etc. So long as they see the obvious stuff from here on in. He and Kenny must have more around him coaching wise scouting wise etc. Something tells me that we are still paying Martin Drury a wage rather than paying him off and other daft things like that behind the scenes. Our fitness coaching and general attitude towards matchdays isn’t right. We come out with tracksuit tops on then meekly run to the subs bench and take them off and labour towards our half in dribs and drabs! Meanwhile the opposition are doing a quick step drill with the ladder thing then getting into a huddle probs saying look at that lot over there. Zero intent – and then……9 times out of 10 we start slowly or let the other side start quicker! Sorry but it all counts towards the mindset. Which today and on various other games recently has been compounded by us being 3-4 mins later than opponents in being ready to start the second half. We come out not as a team but in 2s and 3s ambling towards the starting blocks while opposing team have done a little drill etc and look ready attack us from the get go ! We fuel our opponents mindsets time and again! Ben Rome sort the intent out at least. Intent and mindset is mental fitness which helps the body – even I know that! Change stuff around and just see. Don’t not do this through stubbornness because even Andy Kiwomya has suggested some of it as well. Do it because we need something to change and quick. I can’t believe not one of the management or leadership has seemingly not even bothered to suggest the obvious unprofessional look to our matchday basics. ! I can handle us being crap I have done for 25 seasons out of 35 what I can’t handle is our club losing any identity, self worth and :or self respect especially for everything that’s gone on for good and bad in our history. Have some pride please it’s should be a given no matter how good you are. Even more so now as we have those who love the club at the helm. Come on…Really lads..you can better and simply must.

  10. Stuart swallow your pride and try to recruit out of contract players. Sparks new CEO support or coax Stuart to consider this option. Clearly we have an active squad that would struggle in the national League. We have a list of injuries that we cannot cover with those that are fit. Under strength we are! We can see that! Why can’t you (Stuart and Sparks)? Don’t p*ss about do something about it! The way the club is going we are going to be relegated. You cannot make a silk purse out is a sow’s ear! Get real and act. There are out of contract players out there so recruit now. Eight games before the January window and if no action is taken now it will be too late.

  11. I have been on the city fan websites reading the thoughts of all and it doesn’t make good reading it seems everyone is thoroughly depressed no one wants the team or Stuart just a few perking up with old strikers of ours getting a goal or two and why we haven’t got them now, Well the past is gone and either they didn’t want us or we didn’t want them.
    City fans we are going to have to forget about the past for now just to help get us through the present and that does mean getting used to failure, crying and supporter depression and instead of slagging off the team and manager at every opportunity do the hardest thing and try see something good (yes i know that’s very hard right now) Stop playing into the opponent’s hand and show some confidence in the manager he’s doing his best, And maybe if we go back to basics then so should the team Learn to pass the ball Oldham showed it works Stop hiding and accept a pass and use it and when near the goal have a shot you might get lucky a few goals and confidence will come bouncing back IF you don’t Try you get nothing and that’s what we are getting Nothing. We are all part of the team so lets pull together and start some Well Being Support for the team it may well pay off ………One thing for sure being depressed doesn’t

  12. I have watched nearly every game (Ifollow permitting) and two things have occurred to me.

    In the past even with teams and players that at the time were mediocre, if they fell behind you could almost guarantee that in the last few minutes City would bombard the opposition, sometimes clawing a goal back.
    You left VP thinking “why couldnt they play like that earlier in the game”
    Today as the 80th minute passed I thought “This will be the time where we spring into action and if we are lucky get an equaliser that would taker us into extra time”.
    Nothing.
    No urgency.
    No Passion.
    Nothing, Nothing, Nothing.

    City came out late at half time today.
    I do not know why, maybe SM was giving them a rolloking, or preparing them for the second half.
    I am not a fan of the current Radio Leeds commentary team which you have to endure if you watch the I follow coverage, but one thing that Andy Kimwomya has highlighted is true.
    City do not seem to feel the importance in warming up either before kick off, or at half time.
    Other teams do.
    Would it have been more pro active for City to be out before Oldham. Sort of saying “Right we are sorted now so ready to have a right go at you lot”.
    Two minor points maybe but we keep being told that these are games of small margins.
    For the next game how about the players showings signs of some urgency and by their body language an indication that they up for fight.

  13. Sadly Jason your bang on with all of the points you make. Surely French or Sikora have to be drafted in as centre half options now. It’s not just BRE performances that are problematic it surely must worry the other players when he’s in the line up. I feel for the lad it’s not fair that we keep playing him for his own self worth of nothing else (yes it’s got that bad)! The amount of goals week in week out for 2 yrs now where opposition run at the edge of our box and score is quite honestly unbelievable and embarrassing. Imagine the opposition team talk after watching last 5 games videos! They won’t track runners so let’s run at them for a hardcore 20mins from all angles in first half and win the game. Oh yeah and between halfway and edge of box centrally run at them and shoot . Cue no tackles and unlikely a keeper that will save from a long range shot…! If we were to strengthen that specific area (decent CH and DCMs) bin this pretty football approach overlapping this that and the other for a while then we will have enough to stay up. If we don’t then the pretty patterns formations etc etc will be irrelevant. Get solid 1st – stop the blindingly obvious issues and go from there. It’s ok saying out of contract players need weeks to get up to speed etc but in reality in the positions we are in most need then fitness isn’t that big a deal. Oh and plus over half the squad are playing either unfit ie recovering or about to pull something or just not reliable fitness wise so where’s the problem or difference? If we sign some ugly players who just want to do the ugly stuff that will do me goals will come – but let’s not pretend Watt is anywhere near a defensive type midfielder or Cooke so basically leaves Lexi Sutton as our only defensive midfielder in the whole squad! Woops! I back SM and RS long term thinking etc. So long as they see the obvious stuff from here on in. He and Kenny must have more around him coaching wise scouting wise etc. Something tells me that we are still paying Martin Drury a wage rather than paying him off and other daft things like that behind the scenes. ?

  14. If we are not at a nadir where the only way is up and keep falling it will become a very worrying time for the future existence.
    In situations as this with such poor lacking in understandings for each other or ability to even get basics right as to how to defend its difficult to see that all important thing.that helps results, confidence ,returning.
    A couple of backs to the wall grind out 1 nils can usually kick start that confidence factor.
    Are they capable?
    A good coach would.
    By sounds of Jasons assessment we changed formation about 4 times.
    1 plan with everybody knowing whats needed is about all the brains of this lot might take in.
    MH did not possess nouse skill or ability to not run directly into troubled water 4 years ago 3 league’s lower.
    He has not the mental capacity to take in whats trouble and realising his shortcoming now looks back.
    Marshall 4 years ago you felt comfortable that spraying it wide to him even surrounded by 4 he would not lose it and give all important time for support.
    He could also cross and shoot.
    Whatever is he doing now?
    Those 1 nils need to come from somewhere quick but today sounds like wave aftet wave of carve up could easily have seen 5.
    We need 2 centre backs in the Andrew Davies Rory Mc mould.
    We need a midfielder in the Micky Kennedy mould.
    Finding a centre forward who can hold it and score .
    Sounds like the talented ex Wallsal lad is another sick note.
    Only when we have players who look authoritive at least 5 can there be hope.
    Did not see the game but Shearer is not picked as Oldham cannot afford his 4 grand a week.
    Wonder how much we are paying for this Motley ( henry) crew.
    Feeling sad.
    4 year’s ago Stuart was a Billy Clarke 2 seconds earlier shot and Mc Mahon not losing his head and squaring it for Wyke from the glory of the championship.
    It’s been a long ride down since.

  15. There’s an old saying, you can’t polish a turd, but you can put glitter on it.
    Unfortunately for BCFC even the glitter jar is empty!
    We are in very real danger of becoming the next Chesterfield or Notts County and dropping out of the league altogether.
    The majority of this group of “players” are nicking a living.

    Could whoever is in charge at BCFC.
    GET IT SORTED.
    We HAVE become the laughing stock of West Yorkshire football.

  16. I’m hoping…. now that we have appointed a CEO at the top and Stuart has extended his contract that we will have stability and can crack on.
    However, I doubt the players we have are cable of doing better than what we’re seeing at the moment. For the first time I’m really worried about where we might end up in May. I didn’t feel this negative when Parkie avoided the drop. Then, I always felt we would do it but now…. I’m not so sure.
    Just my thoughts that’s all.

  17. The team has no confidence- no confidence in each other to defend, score or play a simple pass forward and retain possession.
    Our manager has no plan on how to set this team up, motivate them and how to get them doing the basics. 3 different formations today?
    Our players are not fit but are playing – Evans against Salford, Staunton against Leyton orient and Bryce has not lasted 90 mins on a number of occasions.
    This is a desperate situation based on lack of confidence ability and leadership we will not win another game. I doubt we will get a point.
    What is Stuart’s plan? What are we doing about the fitness of players, confidence? All we know is… there maybe 2 loans in January… we need a overhaul in January we can not wait for the summer transfer window if we are going to retain our league status. (We need to find ways to ship players out like BRE, DMH, Ismail, Paudie) and replace them with leaders.
    The sad thing is I just do not think Stuart has a plan and his approach to recruiting is poor he can’t afford to wait for agents to call him, he can’t wait for his contacts to become available or rely on their advice he needs to develop a plan identify who fits into that plan and go get them. Stuart had the squad since February how are we in this position?

  18. Good article, Jason although one point needs correcting. Paudie and BRE can’t defend when there isn’t a gap in front of them either!

  19. Following the announcements during the week of the extended contracts of the management team, the players were told if you want to be here beyond this season you need to start to perform. Yesterday they clearly haven’t grasped that they are playing to remain professional footballers either at VP or elsewhere. I have never seen such an unfit, confidence lacking bunch of players. They look shot to be honest, like a team who has played a long hard season already. Stuart McCall admitted that he has players he can’t count on lasting more than 30, 60 minutes resulting in players rushed back 1/2 fit leading to long term injury lay offs. The decision to go with a smaller squad has bitten us already and we are not even halfway through the season. Our one glimmer of a half decent player, an 18 year old now out for months looking at a long hard route back to fitness.

    With the decision to go squad short on numbers & quality from the start of the season, the January window is given as a shining light of hope, but given how well these have gone for us in the past few years, do we have any confidence that January 2021 will be any different? The club is fighting for not only its league status, but its total existence. Let’s not beat about the bush a drop to non league and this club has no chance to continue. Even I and countless others, who know nothing about running a football club (allegedly) can see that the future of Bradford City is on the line here, but where it matters on the pitch there is no one we can trust to battle to save it.

  20. Unspeakably bad. Time to tuck into the full Bowyer and try to grind some results out untill the cavalry arrives? Respect for ruining your Satdy night and writing that up.

  21. I’ve been a fan for over 50 years and have watched some rubbish in that time. This has got to be one of the worst squads ever. Poor defensively and a non existent midfield, players that seem incapable of doing nothing other than get paid.Only O’Donnell stands out and it’s thanks to him our defeats haven’t been heavier. Thankfully we won’t be in the draw on Monday because if we’re to be drawn against a Premier League or Championship side we’d be an annilated.
    I know we have injury problems and this seems to be as regular as clockwork at City. Yesterday the players lacked pace,unable to take on defenders and slow to defend. It begs the question of the standard of fitness training. I know we’re playing 2 games a week but so is everybody else.
    I love my club and will continue to stick with them no matter what. I used to enjoy going to Valley Parade and away games but at the moment I’m happy to be socially isolated.

  22. When a team is playing two games a week, at this stage of the season, there shouldn’t be claims that the majority of them look unfit. Perhaps it’s a case of mental fatigue, the acceptance, before a ball is kicked, that they’re going to get beaten?

    How many of these pulls and strains are genuine and not merely an excuse for some players who just can’t be arsed?

    Every team has off days but ours are so regular that there must be a deep rooted issue. Lack of talent is one thing, but a lot of these players are also displaying a lack of interest.

  23. All I am going to say is, as I did the other day, dont clobber the City fans as one article and subsequent comments did the other day on here. I respect this site for its talented contributors, but forget and ignore the keyboard warriors who are just after attention or cant vent their feelings without resorting to abuse – we were murdered yesterday and the club is currently a shambles. True fans are totally fed up, bewildered and out of patience with a truly inept team and it is hard not to include all aspects of the club in this.
    So dont take the high morale ground and have a go at the many City fans who will give Ryan and particularly Stuart a further chance (myself included), but can you honestly question why a large majority feel this weeks announcements are not what is needed.
    We need to do what we can to get to January, pick up what we can points wise, but we then need to start the cull and bring in some characters who wont roll over the minute something goes against them. Stuart needs to put a positive distance between him and the players (I sense this is already happening) and I am certain he would release many of them if he could (together with amending his decisions on keeping certain players)
    We have been sold so short by the club it is time for then to start to deliver – a vision, a plan on how we are going to get there and just some bloody hope for the future.
    I do feel for Ryan and Stuart but they now seem up for the fight and the extent of how poor we are – time for all other aspects of the club to grow a pair, things are now critical

  24. Can I claim against the club for anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, marital disharmony and mistreatment of a defenceless animal ?

  25. I agree entirely with the sentiment expressed by Simon. The discussion about how the club has got into this state has been done to death and the call for scapegoats has got out of hand. Nothing new is being said and there is nothing new to say. We need to draw the line.

    Irrespective of the fact that not everyone agrees with the decisions made this week, the club has appointed a new CEO and put its faith in Stuart McCall to deliver. They have to be allowed to get on with it.

    The hysteria is not going to make a difference even though we all feel pretty hacked off at the circumstances. Ryan Sparks has a tough job and should be given our support to provide the leadership and the cool head that is now needed.

    • If Stuart is popular with the players, I would have envisaged, with the recent uncertainty over his future removed by this week’s announcement, we would have witnessed some kind of “bounce” yesterday.

      Irrespective of the fans reaction to the news, the team’s downbeat performance could be regarded as speaking volumes for the views of the players . The new era hasn’t started well – and that wasn’t down to fan hysteria!

  26. Watching the sunday FA cup games today , shrewsbury won 1-0 , the shrewsbury striker DANIEL UDHOE i think his name is , commented at end of game interview , we practised one touch striking at practice , i think ALL city players take note , you dont score if you dont shoot , Get some practice in !

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: