A(nother) new low

Bradford City 0

Carlisle United 1

Bennett 57

By Adam Raj

23rd out of 24. 91st out of 92. Their lowest league position since 1966. Bradford City today dropped to a new and unimaginable low. Defeat to Carlisle saw City fall into League Two’s bottom two. A game in which the hosts failed to manage a single solitary shot on target was a fitting way to enter the drop zone.

Only financially stricken Southend United save City from the humiliating title of being the worst side in the country. The untimely “We. Keep. Fighting” tweet from City’s official account yesterday was understandably met with much backlash by fans who are yet to see their players start fighting. And today’s performance doesn’t suggest they were wrong in their responses.

Today’s visit of Carlisle United, a side boasting a number of former Bantams, proved another step too far for a City side lacking in everything from footballing intelligence to ability. Despite some promising efforts in the first half against Cheltenham in midweek, City reverted back to type in both formation and performance.

Stuart McCall made two changes from the defeat to Cheltenham with Harry Pritchard and Austin Samuels being given the nod over Kian Scales and Dylan Mottley-Henry, with City reverting to a 5-2-1-2 formation.

Carlisle started the better of the two sides with Omari Patrick going close twice. A long throw from Rotherham loanee Joshua Kayode was met well by Ben Richards-Everton, but as per this City side’s spectacular inability to win second balls, Patrick met the loose ball with a half volley which was well saved by Richard O’Donnell. Patrick was then allowed to come inside, too easily, on his left foot and hit a good low strike which O’Donnell again had to get a hand to. City, in contrast, could only manage a half-hearted penalty appeal.

The Bantams did manage to fashion a couple of chances as the half wore on. First, Connor Wood’s clever corner routine was met by Elliot Watt with a low strike that was goal bound, but cleared off the line by Carlisle centre half Rhys Bennett. Then, on the stroke of half time came City’s best opening. A long ball into the area was headed back across goal by Paudie O’Connor to Samuels, who only managed to scuff the volley wide for Carlisle to clear.

Six yards out, unmarked, wide.

City had managed to get to half time level in what was, in truth, a scrappy affair. City’s ball retention in the first half in particular was appalling with the half time iFollow statistics showing a measly 56% pass accuracy for the Bantams. But, they will have been content at still being in the game and Stuart McCall had to inflict some life into this performance at the interval.

However, as has been a common occurrence this season, City started the half as if they were still in the dressing room. This time, it was the visitors’ turn to miss a sitter. Centre half Aaron Hayden lost Clayton Donaldson at the back post and got his head onto a deep cross. But fortunately, his header lacked any power and it was an easy claim for O’Donnell. As was the case for Samuels, he should have scored.

Carlisle didn’t have to wait long for their opening goal, though. Twelve minutes after the restart and City were predictably behind. Anthony O’Connor chose to try clear an in-swinging cross with his wrong foot, only to completely miss the ball. The rest of his Bantams’ teammates were sleeping and Bennett snuck in at the back post to prod home.

A poor cross met by even worse defending and City were behind. They’re the sort of mistakes that are all too common in a relegation threatened side and the exact sort of mistakes you can’t afford to make when you’re in a team that can’t afford to fall behind.

It was a goal that signified the end of the game. City were utterly clueless as to how to score a goal, from minute one. The hope that we could hold onto a 0-0, just to stop the rot, was over and City, once again, had no answer to falling behind. If someone had tuned in late and was unaware of who was 1-0 up, they would have thought it was us. Eleven men behind the ball, strikers falling into midfield, booting the ball high and long, they were the hallmark signs of a side clinging onto the lead, not trying to find a way back into the game.

It was a totally unacceptable response to falling behind, but one we’re all too accustomed to.

Carlisle could and probably should have added to their lead. Shot after shot rained in on the City goal and if it wasn’t for O’Donnell, City could have been on the end of another hiding. And we’ve said that far too many times already this season. Carlisle, unlike their hosts, weren’t afraid to shoot. Danny Devine in particular seemed determined to score on his return to Valley Parade with a couple of long distance efforts and Patrick alongside substitute Gime Toure should have scored on the break.

City’s measly response was the all too familiar instruction of sending a centre half upfront and hoping for the best. After Richards-Everton’s failed cameos in recent games, today was Paudie O’Connor’s turn. Needless to say it produced the same result.

This City side is too easy to work out. It would not surprise me if the tactics board in the away dressing room doesn’t get wiped, week to week. “Press them high and they don’t have a clue” is likely what it says. Yet City continue to persist with long, aimless balls forwards that continue to return no success. Long punts are just an instant turnover in possession, playing right into the opponents hands. We don’t have the hold up play or pace capabilities for long ball football.

I’m still confused as to what our game plan is to score a goal. It may sound silly, but I don’t know what type of team we’re trying to be. Even under Gary Bowyer last year, it was a case of lump it forwards in the hope Dylan Connolly can force a mistake. We don’t even have something as basic as that.

City look every inch relegation fodder. Leaking goals and an inability to create chances every week only ends up one way. McCall has been adamant that players returning from injury will make City better. However, he seems to have more confidence than most of the fan base. Lee Novak will help in the fact that he is no worse than his fellow attackers, as will Billy Clarke, in that his inclusion seems to make sure that the ball spends more time on the floor. But that’s it as far as I can see.

We still lack pace, creativity, flair, mobility, athleticism and leadership. And that’s only with regards to the attackers. Which player returning from injury is going to help close the floodgates at the other end? McCall tonight sounded like someone who has said “they should make us better” so many times that he’s even starting to doubt it himself.

It’s encouraging to hear McCall mention a “third party” will be coming on board next week to assist with scouting and recruitment. It is unclear whether it will be in the shape of a Director of Football type role or someone purely on a consultancy basis. Either way, it’s a welcome and much needed addition.

The recruitment and methods of it have been shambolic since McCall’s last spell. Recruitment this summer was of his own control and again, it has been way short of what’s required. Players who have been signed or re-signed are not of the standard required and crucial areas and personality traits have been recklessly neglected.

It is the main area of emergency surgery off the field, and it is crucial that this addition is the correct one – to make sure January goes as well as possible.

Otherwise, Bradford City will lose its Football League status.

Categories: Match Reviews

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43 replies

  1. I just hope Ben and his ‘Blunt Instrument’ article is going to get real and see the fans might not be the reason this club is in the mire (and I am being a bit tongue in cheek Ben) 😉

    We are a shambles from top to bottom and we are running out of things to say and hope to cling to – I would like to say shame on everyone at VP for ruining our club but know it is not that simple and not everyone is to blame

    Cant say anymore tonight, keep chilled everyone – tomorrows another day!

  2. Bradford City 0 – 1 Bradford City Rejects

    The story of the day has to be that the goalscorer for Carlisle was a free agent signed in November! Yet McCall’s and City’s stubbornness is hindering us. McCall cannot use the excuse that free agents wont be fit enough when out entire squad isn’t fit enough. Yet again City blew out of steam with 15 minutes to go.

    Sign Morais this week. Hes better than DMH and offers something different than what we already have. Hed be an improvement on the rubbish we endure every week.

    DMH must have won a competition to be re signed by City. If City hadn’t resigned him in the summer, I dont think he would play any higher than National League North. I genuinely dont believe any conference clubs would sign him!

    It is appalling to think that Omari Patrick was the best player on the pitch today.

    Every week we say that we haven’t seen worse defending but AOC has really put a new challenge in for that today. How can a professional footballer genuinely miss the ball!!

    I’ve always had a touch of sympathy for AOC, however he is the constant over the last 3 seasons. He is quite frankly a loser and has no personality from the look of it, no passion.

    I understand McCall is stubborn, however it would be plain stupid to not invest in a free agent or two.

    Action is needed now

  3. I think its fair to say the next six months are the most important in the clubs recent history. If the worst happened, the players who would no doubt would move onto other clubs, have to think about the fall out left behind ie full time members of staff who could lose their jobs.

    • Not one shot on target not one. McCall stated he was happy with the commitment shown buy is players today. Baffling statement as was his pre season recruitment and his pig headedness not to go into the non contract market. McCall looked a lost man as he made his way down the track at the final whilst because there is nothing he can do or say to improve this crock of shite.

      I just haven’t been able to figure out what McCalls tactics and formations are and its plain to see neither do the players. Put simply the players are no where near up to fitness or standard to compete and win games at this level. The team under this present regime and ownership are heading into non league football and oblivion. To extend McCalls contract last week was complete madness.

      91 from 92 professional football teams for a club that sold 19k season tickets only 3 years ago, played in a major cup final 7 years ago and was 1 game away from promotion to the championship only 3 and half years ago seems like it happened to another club and is totally unacceptable.

      It’s a sad sad decline and I cant see how this group of players can get the 40 to 50 pts required to keep the club in this league. Unless McCall can bring in a number of non contract players in an attempt to change the teams mentality namely a winger, midfielder and centre half then I cant see this team winning another game this calebder year.

      • No striker? I predicted no goals in this side before the season started. The strikers Stuart inherited have no goals in them and Samuels looks far from ready to me. Its a dilemma. Do we try and toughen up the back 4 (which again Stuart inherited) but in reality need more goals. Then there is the lack of creation. its a difficult one for anyone and in reality always needed a few transfer windows to rectify.

      • Danny those 3 positions are just for starters. Could we let let Ismail go? Bre? Replace them with someone such as Morias and an experienced centre half? Doesn’t matter who we have up front as there is no creativity or wingers come to that. For me McCall cant be given the January window and needs to resign.

  4. Critical summary but who are you blaming ,in my view who ever his responsible for the recruitment the strategy and the planning for this season should not be at the club now I am responsible for a business if my performance was like the running of Bradford City I would not be in a job,Stuart on his post match interview basically said the club had no ambition the plan was to aim for mid table and the spent in January if we are mid table ,we are a club with a big stadium and it dose not make us a big club,Stuart you should haved walked away in the summer you were been set up to fail ,hence the signings in the summer we where shopping in the pound shops ,to the owner at this level of football we are a big club. It seems to me you are trying get your investment back , but it will cost you more in the long run because of the lack of investment , and to put things right it will cost you alot more if you are still here, that’s the worry.
    The fans remember them they will vote with there feet unless you the owner address the fans and say what you are about and where you are taking us and what would happens if we are relegated because looking at the games before January I think we will be in serious trouble .

  5. An excellent summary Adam and thank you for writing your article so soon after another miserable performance. Like many City fans I am at a loss to explain why we have become so poor in such a short period of time. A good gauge of our demise is to go back to the 26th of December 2019. Boxing Day and I was amongst a large and unhappy away following as we scraped a disappointing 0-0 draw at Carlisle. The game was poor and it was clear Carlisle who were near the bottom of league 2 were there for the taking if Gary Bowyer had shown more attacking intent. The City fans turned on Bowyer and he never recovered. Carlisle were 5th in league 2 before today’s game and they looked a very poor team 12 months ago. However we look far worse now. To make matters worse they have 4 or 5 of our ex players in their ranks, some of whom struggled to hold down a regular place in our first team. Carlisle do not look anything special now but like most league 2 sides they are organised and do the basics reasonably well. Every week at least one of our 3 Central defenders make a basic error that invariably results in a goal. Today it was Anthony O’Connor. (I appreciate He was lining up as a right back today). I won’t repeat all the teams other shortcomings as you have highlighted them clearly in your summary. Where we go from here who knows but this is getting serious.

    • I have come to a painful conclusion…Stuart cannot manage at this level. His standards are too high and his expectations are similar. He should never have been sacked last time..even with the interference from Herr Ego he performed miracles but he cannot polish a turd… the defence are passionless, clumsy and weak. None of those players were signed by Stuart and I..and provably he have no idea how to make it right. What does upset me is the joy some find in this failure…” we all love Stuart but…” a lot of people follow City purely because it’s cheap…they never saw Stuart play…they don’t really care about the club they just don’t want to be dragged around Dulnelm Mill on a Saturday. They have invented friendships with people they have never met via social media and opine about subjects they barely understand. Stuart walk away. Your better than this…

      • Its fact finding time again Martyn. Show me any evidence at all that anyone who supports Bradford City is finding joy in this failure. I beg you to find it because there is none, just your attempt to lay blame at the feet of fans with your thinly veiled digs at them. This idea that his standards are too high, please stop making excuses, i guess he failed at Scunthorpe in his last job because ‘his standards were too high’.

        Grow a set and look at where the real problems lie. And i’ll let you into a secret, it isn’t those nasty horrible fans on social media who aren’t clapping hard enough.

      • Hi Alan

        Martyn’s words were “What does upset me is the joy some find in this failure” He has not blamed the fans (“aren’t clapping hard enough”) for our failures, he has pointed out that there are some fans on social media who are finding joy in it. I think that’s a fair comment. I don’t know if you use social media, but there are some Twitter accounts who post very little but mocking the club. Is it their fault we are struggling? Absolutely not. Nothing to do with the club’s failures. But it doesn’t mean those tweets make for enjoyable reading for other people.

        It’s also important to say that there are lots of critical, angry Twitter accounts right now and that’s completely understandable. There is an awful lot to be unhappy about it. I don’t believe Marytn was referring to that.

      • Al, that group of fans who delight in their angry, boorish tweets are not the cause of the failings at VP and they didn’t cause the underlying problems. However neither are they helpful to resolving this state of affairs. You don’t hide your contempt for ‘gompers’ in your posts on this or other websites and openly ridicule others. The encouragement of such a hostile environment not only undermines unity among fans but makes it more difficult for anyone at the club to build support with the constant attacks and cynicism.

      • Just picking up on one part of your post Martyn, ‘ they never saw Stuart play’. In reality anyone under the age of 25 is highly unlikely to have seen McCall as a player for Bradford City and have a recollection of his commitment and skill. The memory and views will be of McCall the manager. The future of Bradford City as a viable club in the future, is at a dangerous tipping point. Quite frankly some younger people would rather be dragged around Dunelm Mill, rather than having to sit out in the cold, watching yet another moribund display. I take no pleasure in the current situation, but fear that what is happening, is destroying the potential future of the club. Stuart the manager, sadly is not comparable to Stuart the player.

    • Agree Steve that the key is to keep it simple and do the basics right. Beech had put a squad together quickly and from the bargain bin including some we could not get a tune out of. A lot of names there who have been kicking around the lower reaches for a while. Mellish (top scorer) has played most of his football at Gateshead. Bennett is the kind of no nonsense CB who would have been an improvement on what we have. As far as social media is concerned the constant negativity does not hinders rather than helps but folk will alus react to adversity in different ways

  6. Watching this team is soul destroying. The season has rapidly changed from “low expectations” to “no expectations”. That decision by Sparks (was it really him?), to extend McCall’s contract looks incomprehensible as one defeat surely follows another. I’ve tried to support McCall so far, but his team is clueless. As Adam says, we are relegation fodder. History has proved, when Stuart goes on one of these losing runs, he seems incapable of turning things around. He is floundering and, as things stand, we’re going out of the league. We simply cannot allow this to deteriorate further through December in the hope we’ll make some quality signings in January and make lost ground up. Which self respecting footballer is going to join us, with our recent history of failure and the spectre of non league football staring us in the face?

    Sparks is going to have to hold his hand up now and say “I got it wrong”, even if it wasn’t him. Changing the manager won’t guarantee survival, but not changing the manager is looking increasingly likely to guarantee relegation.

    Sorry, Stuart, it’s just not worked out and there isn’t the slightest glimmer of hope that it is going to work out.

  7. I said last week he needs help on the recruitment side. Stuart is in total denial. He believes he can stop the rot. I am now doubtful and the defeats are stacking up. He has a team that are use to losing. No matter who comes back from injury the defeatest attitude continues. Pundits and fans alike can’t wait for the transfer window to open. I have the view that this form will continue. Even if we can sign several new players, by the time they can make an impact we would be playing catchup.
    I honestly believe that we will not get a point between now and mid-January.
    The team is clueless with no real desire to fight collectively for a positive result. I pray that I’m wrong. I personally would sound out Parkinson for a possible return. I know it’s underhand but the club is so important to me and many others and WE cannot sit back and let this continue.

  8. “If you’re fighting a battle . . . you don’t stop shooting. You keep going until the cavalry gets here.”

    Thought this was apt for two reasons.

    First, all the talk about the cavalry coming in January. With each defeat the dependence upon the cavalry becomes that bit greater. But there are two big problems with this: a) we may be seriously adrift when it arrives and b) will it really make the sort of difference needed ?
    Secondly, City do seem to have stopped shooting…at least in terms of any target like the goal.

    Sparks is between a rock and a hard place. Sack McCall now and enter the last chance saloon with a new manager ? Unlikely. Stick with McCall ? More likely. But for how long if we continue the losing run, as looks very possible? And, of course, the longer it goes on the less the likelihood of anyone new coming in being able to turn this ruined ship around. On balance I think he will stick with McCall, deploying the ‘something will turn’ up strategy. If it turns out that he sacks McCall in mid January it will be the worst of all scenarios. The game of roulette with club’s future will be lost. I think he needs to be a bit more proactive in the short -term and insist that McCall signs couple of out of contract players now; the rationale being we have to try something a bit different to gain a few points before the cavalry arrives ….(and pray to God that it is worth waiting for). If it doesn’t work out have we lost a lot ? Agree entirely with Will (above). I cannot believe that 30 mins of Morais would not be better than anything DHM has to offer.

    Oh…and thanks Adam for rapid and sound report to kick off this next chapter in the woes of Bradford City

    • In my 56 years of watching, I do not believe I have ever seen a worse player than DMH, and Stuart has signed him twice. I burst out laughing yesterday when he set off on a run, and ran out of play on the Midland Road side. Joke.

  9. Besides the players not reaching their potential, the main problem is there are no leaders in the team. The better City teams since the early 80’s have had great leaders down the spine of the team – McFarland, Cherry, McCall, Campbell, Beagrie, Windass, Davies, Jones etc,
    This lot need a leader desperately.
    Andy Kiwomya said it today (again), their is no-one out there shouting and berating their team-mates or telling them where to go, what to do.
    Their fitness levels are a question too. But are they so tired towards the end as they spend so much time chasing the ball and opposition as they can not pass accurately enough?
    I want McCall to succeed but at the moment we are going one way and I can’t see how it can improve.
    I am hoping January brings new, fresh players to get out of this mess and we start moving up.

  10. Wake up, Wake up, Everyone. I include all contributors to this great site, casual browsers, City fans all over the world, young and old. Our beloved club is in a death slide out of the football league and time is short. Put it quite simply, tonight or over the weekend we need to start a vocal campaign for the clubs ownership to change hands, Stefan Rupp has utterly failed the club, the fans, and in many ways aided by the silent, apathetic stance of certain other individuals both recent and currently employed by him at the club, we have been lied to, deceived and totally taken for granted by the club on so many levels, talking the talk, then doing the opposite on transfers, plans, communication, the list goes on, promising so much and doing so little. The reality is that football matches are won on the pitch, with carefully thought player transfers, having a good backroom staff to coach, and look after a modern footballer’s wellbeing and to give it the funding it needs to function properly, and not on balance sheets. The deep truth is that an absentee owner, who is unwilling to fund our club to the level it requires, is driving us straight onto the sharpest rocks imaginable and it needs a united, concerted effort now by all fan sites, local press, fan groups, whatever the differences of opinion in recent months, to make the plight of our club and its ownership issues and mismanagement to a national level in the media, because we could just make a difference in keeping our league status if Herr Rupp’s position is made untenable and takes an offer from another interested party. [several have been rumoured recently] It breaks my heart that Stuart McCall is our manager at this time, and i know things may come out in time about constraints he may be working under, the utter folly of extending his contract this week beggars belief, when other clubs like Tranmere, Mansfield etc have changed manager and are moving steadily out of danger. Hand on heart, tonight do you ultimately believe, given his record in not turning around bad runs of form at other clubs, including ours, coupled with the poor decisions, and increasingly odd interviews he’s given, that he’s the man to turn this group of players around? I don’t, and i take no pleasure in writing that. At all. For his own health, and for the clubs future, he needs to resign, i won’t think anything less of him, he’s needs to swallow his pride and move aside. Nigel Clough and Keith Hill are now off the table, The Cowley Brothers, and others are still out there, should the owner be bothered to fund someone to steer us away from danger, and bloody well fund better backroom staff and all the rest we are sick and tired of discussing. These are dark times, and i believe only a change of ownership, will ultimately turn the club around, with a root and branch reform and fresh ideas for the future, and only a united effort from fans can make that happen. A change of manager now, with some budget to spend in January, to at least, move on and replace some of the worst group of players we’ve ever had, may just get us over the line by May, its a slim chance in my book, but one worth taking, even at the expense of a club legend, it has to happen, its the only way, because at the moment, we are going down without a fight, and its heartbreaking.

    • Thanks for breaking your silence James. However you miss a rather fundamental point that for the ownership impasse to be resolved it requires either Stefan Rupp to write off a considerable chunk of his investment or for some idiot with more money than sense to pay over the odds. Assuming we do find a new buyer will he/she then have the appetite to make good historical under investment and reconcile himself to ownership of a club that has no assets. Maybe not quite as easy to resolve as organising vocal protests. If the solution was quite so simple don’t you think our reluctant owner would have found it by now??

    • Stefan Rupp has put more of his OWN MONEY into Bradford
      City than any other owner EVER. It has been spent very badly and I bet he rues the day he met Rahic. To his credit so far , i think he could easily afford to write us off and live happily ever after. If he did who would take it even for free. The queue wouldn’t be half way up Burlington Terrace for sure.

  11. This breaks my heart to bring attention to this as SM is and will always be my hero for endless reasons but his record end of Scunthorpe reign, end of last seasons reign and this season is something like 25 games 5 wins. Ended at Scunthorpe in bottom 2 – I maybe slightly out but not far off. I know their are circumstances around it all but there always are in football. For your own health SM if not the sake of our great club it’s time to hold hands up and resign. Forget the “I’m not a quitter and will never leave City as a quitter” mindset mate and put us 1st here . It’s about us and not about your pride . I say this for the sake of the bigger picture only. Don’t let it get to Oldham away and be the 3rd manager to be fired recently after that defeat ( I think).
    I watched my hero virtually running off the pitch at the end on his own I’m sure with a tear in his eye (ironically – as always by our DJ – to a theme tune that captured the moment of “don’t leave me this way”)
    I have backed him and the long term approach etc all season on here but today just something finally told me that enough is enough. Something just isn’t right, it may not be SM – tactics motivation etc – but what else can we do other than change it .something doesn’t feel right especially with all the injuries etc as well – we’ve seen this film before and know the ending . It will be about another 10-12 games by the time we have any new players through the door and ready to start games. By then we will have 18 games left and be counting down (each games a cup final style )with dread as we have done only too recently. In fact the majority of business in transfer window is done at the end of Jan . Who knows what the state of this season will be in by then. It’s time to put our business hats on now and realise unfortunately this isn’t working and discus an exit plan for SM before he and we suffer anymore of this. We need new ideas new back room and quick. NO other club would consider letting this go on beyond this point. The definition of madness is expecting things to change but doing the same thing again and again. We need to sign a few men with professional pride who know how to organise on the pitch . Not rant and rave and bitch which is what this lot think is showing leadership etc. You’ve been given a hospital pass Stuart we absolutely don’t blame you and it will be an awfully good manager to get us turned around from here. Unfortunately it’s not worked and hasn’t once looked like it was going to during this last and likely to be final reign. With a heavy heart it must end here. Rich

    • Trouble is, this has been going on for 3 seasons now, and how many managers have we had and nothing has improved, starting with “I’m a championship manager” from Skipton.

      It has been DIRE, WOEFUL.

      This period has seen the worst football played on a pitch that I can recall, and a period where the club has become so disenfranchised from the supporters, that I fear many will not come back, (if they haven’t given up already).

      The whole team (bar the odd player), need culling when contracts expire, and I don’t think Stuart will still be here then, (resigned or sacked), because it will become untenable as the pressure mounts.

      I cannot see a win in this lot as the stats don’t lie – we have barely had a shot on goal in the last 3 games. Unbelievable Jeff!

      We have to get manager who knows the 4th division who can build a team to get out of this awful league.

      Easier said than done with our recent manager history.

    • Scunthorpe were out of the relegation zone when he was sacked

      • oh, and if your using your definition of madness reference does this apply to changing the managers all the time, which has only seen us go backwards since Stuart was last sacked? His critics seem to forget that he didn’t get us here in the first place and was doing quite well despite dealing with Rahic.

  12. Only one comment from me, this lot have not earned or lost the right to wear claret and amber and sully the recent achievements of past players. They should play in second or third change shirts until they have earned the right and fans respect

  13. Admittedly Stuart’s hands were tied to a certain extent with recruitment, but he still chose to build an unbalanced squad, with no natural defensive midfielder, no left winger, and crucially a lack of leaders.

    Even with it’s obvious limitations let’s not forget that we have still got some decent players at this level with the likes of O’Donnell, Hossanah, Wood, A O’Connor, Watt, Cooke, Pritchard, Novak etc and the manager should be doing a lot better with the players he has at his disposal, as we should be comfortably mid table.

    As alluded to by an earlier poster, Stuart has also not a good record of turning around teams when they are on a poor run.

    I think it’s naive to believe that things will be transformed in the January transfer window, when we are currently playing like a side that has all the hallmarks of getting their manager the sack.

    No disrespect to Stuart as we all love the guy, but trusting him to bring players in during the window, would be just as bad a decision as the one to give him a new contract, when he had done little to earn it.

    Sometimes it’s best to admit that things are not working out.

  14. This season smacks of Parkinson’s first season at VP. McCall has inherited a terrible squad and a club that seem incapable of any progress. I still believe McCall is the best man for the job and must be given time to turn this around. No manager could do well with this squad as it’s blighted by so many injuries. Once we get players back and beef up the squad in January, then we will improve. It’s an awful time to be a city fan but we have to bear it before things improve. We’ve been a mess since Rahic came and PP left. Stable clubs always do better. I will judge McCall by the end of NEXT season. Keep the faith

    • Not true. He inherited a squad that were sat just outside the playoffs. They were playing an awful brand of football and on a bad run.

      I still believe Stuart could have turned it round enough to get us into the playoffs last year BUT the facts are that squad has been restructured inadequately.

      I still maintain that our best 11 is a decent side but we have ZERO depth. Our bench is ridiculous and with a few injuries we effectively have to carry 3 or 4 players. You simply can’t do that.

      We need signings now or we are in serious trouble.

      • You believe McCall inherited a good squad? I’d argue we were very poor and we were already dropping like a stone before he came in.
        Swapping/Sacking managers has been a disaster since PP left. PP jumped ship, Collins was a joke, Hopkins quit, Grayson couldn’t wait to leave, Bowyer struggled and now McCall. I’d say that’s more about the club and behind the scenes than the managers. I’d give McCall time to build our squad up. We need a united and stable club to progress. Hopefully we can sign 4 experienced, quality players next month. Then with returning players, we can move up the table.

      • The squad Stuart inherited was far better than the one he has now. I don’t see that as being debatable.

      • I agree the squad is worse but McCall did come just before COVID-19 came and then the wage cap was introduced. We have a reluctant chairman too, so his choices are limited.
        I recall fans moaning throughout the PP reign. It’s impossible to make everyone happy at this club. They all wanted Rhodes and Lawn out and Rahic and Rupp in. Look how that turned out. I hope Stuart, who one of our own, is given time to build the club again. Another manager, another squad rebuild is not what’s needed. We’ve been in free fall for years, let’s support the club

  15. I’ve actually watched every home and away game this season and one problem stands out. There is no clear leader on the pitch and to me that is why the group cannot respond positively when City struggle. The captaincy is key and Mr O’Donnell cannot do the job as a goalkeeper. This is not a criticism of him because he is a potentially a very good keeper. However, it doesn’t feel he can command his own area never mind the team’s direction. Stuart can only do so much off the field but he desperately needs at least one lieutenant on it.

    • I agree entirely about the lack of leadership on the pitch, not only someone to marshal the team and lead by example but also a figurehead to inspire supporters – someone like Gary Jones or Stuart McCall. It’s been a shortcoming for the last three years at least and the absence has made it difficult for all the managers in that time. I agree that this is not the job for O’D, ideally it needs to be a midfielder. A strong leader in the dressing room is also what you need to maintain morale and team spirit when results are not going the right way.

  16. I really do not understand why we continue to put such faith in McCall. There is nothing in his CV as a manager that even vaguely suggests that he has the ability turn this around, His only successful spell in England was when he took over a club on the up and the core of a very successful team from Parkinson. Yes he may well have been sacked without reason but that was 2/3 years ago. We can’t continue with him because we are compensatimg him for something that happened back then. Bradford City is a business not a home for old players.

    Let this sink in. We fired Bowyer when we were 8th and on the verge of the play-offs. We are now 22nd on the verge of relegation.

    Ask yourself this. If the name on the managers door was not Bowyer, Hopkin, Collins et all would you think they deserves to be awarded a contract extenstion? Would you advocate that they be kept on?

    Sparks needs to step up. Acknowledge his mistake cut McCall and Black loose and bring in a real manager not an ex player masquerading as a manager.

    • pleas go check the squad that Bowyer had initially with the one he left Stuart and was culled by 11 players after that. Please look at the bench on Saturday. It had two youth players, 3 players who were loaned to non league last season and hardly a seasons worth of league experience between the lot. Stuart has had to play French for instance who wasn’t even on the bench for Bowyer. Bowyer had Vaughan and Doyle fand left Stuart with Guthrie and Novak. He was playing players just back from injury on Saturday and visibly tiring then he looks to that bench and what in reality could ANY manager do at one nil down to change it? All these Stuart critics never mention context ever, it just plain black and white and the need t blame someone. Then there are those with a lasting agenda from the last time here was here who supported Edin and his decision to sack Stuart and when this proved disastrous for the club as evidence and history has shown are desperate to be proven right in some way no matter the context or situation,

      • He had a transfer window to resolve the short comings. He let Vaughan go but did not replace him like for like. He has a tiny squad. Again Stuart’s choice. He has refused not to sign out of contract players. That’s the reason he is having to play junior players. He has got us in this position. Any other manager would have been shown the door. I like Stuart and I have watched him when he was a junior player and up to the time he joined Everton. His record as a manager has been poor.

  17. I read this morning that City are to appoint an experienced recruitment manager to help with identifying and signing new players and setting up a scouting network.
    This 3 weeks before the transfer window.
    Why on earth don’t we already have such a man and network? I assumed every club had one.
    How on earth can a manager be expected to do that job himself?
    What made McCall take on the job without such a network? And, presumably, Bowyer as well.
    If this is the standard of the management of City before Sparks took over,what chance have we?
    We cannot possibly be ready for the transfer window.


  18. How fitting that the final words of the post above are “I despair”.

    Anyone in any doubt, cast your eyes on the League One table. In seventh position, just outside the play offs is “little old” Accrington Stanley. How far we’ve fallen is witnessed by the envious eyes I cast in their direction.

    What’s their secret? Well, compare Andy Holt, the owner, and John Coleman, the manager, to their counterparts at our club and you’ve got the reason for the divergence in fortunes of the two clubs. Andy Holt is a local businessman, with the club at heart, who’s taken an active part in making the club sustainable by improving every area, despite their meagre crowds. John Coleman has a vast knowledge of the lower leagues and, with that knowledge, he comfortably doubles as Head of Recruitment. When a new player is needed John has the replacement in his head, not a filing cabinet, or the need to make calls made to greedy agents. You won’t find John changing formations every other match,

    Coleman signed a new four year contract in September. There’s no record of fan dissent at that decision!

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