Another predictable defeat keeps Bradford City in deep trouble

Oldham Athletic 3

Bahamboula 10, Piergianni 26, Keillor-Dunn 74

Bradford City 1

P O’Connor 85

By Tim Penfold

I should’ve written this report in advance of the game, and saved myself the time. As the game kicked off today, I made the following prediction in the Width of a Post WhatsApp chat:

This isn’t exactly a bold prediction, as it’s how City games go these days, and it proved to be the case again. City, lining up in a 3-5-2 with Lee Novak returning for Austin Samuels, played some nice stuff early. Callum Cooke was showing up well in midfield and Bryce Hosannah had some promising moments down the right flank.

Before the inevitable happened.

A City attack broke down on the edge of the Oldham box, and with the midfield overcommitted forwards the hosts countered through Dylan Bahamboula. He ran forward unchallenged, with Ben Richards-Everton deciding to have a nice afternoon jog alongside him rather than try to stop him, and it was 1-0 to Oldham.

What happened next was also entirely predictable. I described this side as one that gives up a couple of months ago, and they keep proving me right. At the first sign of adversity, half of this team hides, and the promising attacking play from the first ten minutes vanished. Oldham looked the more likely team to score, threatening several times from set pieces before Carl Piergianni headed the second from a corner.

Stuart McCall’s response at this stage was to substitute the hapless Richards-Everton, with Tyler French coming into the back three and Anthony O’Connor switching to the left of the three, and City did look a little better, although it’s much easier to do that when the opposition is 2-0 up and not playing with the same intensity. They should’ve got back into the game when Connor Wood headed a Hosannah cross to Clayton Donaldson, but with the goal gaping and the keeper helpless the veteran striker somehow contrived to miss the ball completely.

The second half began with another City change, with Levi Sutton replacing the injured Bryce Hosannah, and City started much like they finished the first – with the upper hand, but not dominant. They had one big chance when Paudie O’Connor had a header cleared off the line, while Lee Novak’s fine touch and finish from a long ball out of defence was ruled out for offside, but then City faded again, and Oldham retook control. Their decisive third came when substitute Keilor-Dunn wriggled into space on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner.

The last few minutes were enlivened when Paudie O’Connor headed in from a corner, which suddenly sparked City into life – albeit far too late. There was a sudden flurry of chances – Donaldson had a shot deflected behind, Connor Wood volleyed over at the far post, Anthony O’Connor had an effort cleared from inside the six yard box – but no extra goal to worry the hosts, and Oldham wasted a couple of good chances on the counter.

The intensity of the last few minutes begged the question of why this hadn’t happened earlier, but the answer is obvious. City were passive until getting a goal out of nothing – they needed the good moment to happen to them, rather than anyone taking the initiative to make it happen. There’s no Gary Jones against Crewe or Sheffield United here, forcing a team to get points even when things were going against them.

Our last two defeats away at Oldham have led to the departure of the manager, and it would not be a major surprise if this record continues. This is now Bradford City’s sixth successive defeat in all competitions, and managers generally don’t survive that sort of run.

Stevenage’s heavier defeat means that we remain out of the drop zone on goal difference, but surviving on goal difference was not exactly the aim of this season. It’s fundamentally not good enough, and when results aren’t good enough in football it’s the manager who normally pays the price.

Categories: Match Reviews

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31 replies

  1. We haven’t spent any money on a decent squad of “players “, I doubt we will chuck it down the pan after giving the manager a contract extension .
    Unless there is some clause, or Stuart wants to walk away.
    Just unfortunate the season doesn’t finish today as there are two teams worse than ours.
    Next season we might not be so lucky!

  2. Desperate times. This can’t continue. It can’t be doing much good with Stuart’s health. He has to go. I would guess that 90% of the supporters would probably agree. All the defeats we have had, most goals scored against us have been defensive errors which could have been prevented. Stuart has done nothing about this major issue. WOP just need to keep last week’s report and just change the name of the opposition.
    We are a big club in stature but in reality we are are the 3rd worst team in all 4 divisions.
    I suspect we would struggle if all players were available.
    Stuart has to do the right thing and go.
    Parkinson or any new manager would struggle with this team. Who ever takes over will need a miracle to change our fortune.

    • Honest question. You mention Stuarts health then stick the proverbial ‘boot in. You say that every manager would “struggle with this team” and would need a “miracle” to change it . Yet you also say nothing has changed the defensive mistakes?? Thats an oxymoron. And by the way Stuart isn’t on the pitch making those mistakes.
      So finally if “whoever takes over…needs …a miracle” why are you wanting a change?

    • McCall cannot get a single tune out of this squad. We are so easy it to beat its untrue but it’s all so predictable and obvious for all to see but McCall.

      We are not even set up to make us hard to beat or breakdown. 442 with 2 banks of 4 would be a start. But no let’s keep playing 3 shocking centre halfs which back off and back off, concede early then fold. No lessons ever learned and no change of formation or strategy to improve things.

      McCall is a dead man walking and no manager can survive defeats week in week out. 2 more defeats will take it to 8 on the spin and McCall I feel will have to resign.

      I just cant see this squad of players winning a single game until 4 or 5 new players are added to the squad. Yes the club is mess and yes it’s not all McCalls fault but recruitment as simply not been good enough and that’s the responsibly of all the hierarchy at the club but especially McCall who has recruited, coached and trained these players. Very sad times for the club and as a lifelong supporter I find this situation absolutley heartbreaking.

  3. Please name the “half of the team that hides” it would be interesting to see where you are heading. Arguably 20 plus chances says your wrong but the result points in the articles favour obviously.. Indeed apart from the scoreline most of the stats were in city’s favour. Its true that pathetic defending cost us but so did missed chances. AS Stuarts brilliantly honest and passionate interview on radio Leeds states we were top 10 going forward and bottom 2 defending. In the same interview he intimates stuff that has gone on behind the scenes that haven’t helped recruitment but also highlights exactly what we need going forward. He didn’t miss Claytons and others chances and neither did he let a player run the length of the pitch before side footing beyond a pathetic attempts at saving it on the inside post (Again). Look at the bench for his options. Indeed he managed to get a team totalling 1 shot on target in the last game to 20 plus this. In short he deserves another transfer window and one that is actually backed as much as league rules allow. The recent historic demise of the club is not Stuarts making, indeed it could be argued his last sacking was. Indeed compare the squads of every manager since his sacking and then honestly say who got the short straw. I heard more passion, honesty, context, and reality in his radio leeds interview that a large portion of social media contributors could learn a lot from.

    • Such a sad radio I nterview and he is clearly hurting, but as you say, he indicated that there is more to this (recruitment) malarkey than what we know. He had to stop himself at one point from saying more than he should have, being as honest as he is.

      I just hope (and pray) that if he is kept on, he turns this round, because this is not good for his health. If only some of the (younger?) keyboard warriors were able to remember Stuart’s playing days, they would pay him a bit more respect and realise that he hurts just as much as us, without calling him disrespectful names and slagging him off.

      If he doesn’t turn it round, then I guess it’s inevitable what will happen – either though his choice, or, the clubs.

  4. According to Stuart’s post game comments we can expect in the coming days the announced hiring of a recruitment manager. In my opinion, an appointment that is long overdue. Avoiding relegation this season does not involve “rocket science.” However, their recruitment planning does need to be kept “stupid simple.” Good defenders are more readily available versus experienced goal scoring strikers. Therefore, City need to focus on defenders. I would also recommend recruiting a couple of young under 21 strikers on loan who have good wheels. Who knows we may get lucky and pick a gem.

    This is a very simple approach and focused on improving City’s defence. Note, we can only recruit 3 “senior” players. Surely, they will be better than what City currently have and should be easier to find.

  5. My, that Jamie Raynor on Radio Leeds sure knows how to get under Stuart’s skin! I wouldn’t be surprised if Stuart’s gone on Monday. His “if I’m still here” slip might suggest he’s given the game away.

    His record is dominated by bad runs that he finds difficult to turn round and result in a parting of the ways.

    I’ve no doubt he’s done his very best and is hurting badly with how his third stint has gone. Ignore the excuses, his team is failing and he’s failing. His prickly responses to the excellent probing of Jamie Raynor suggest the stress of the job is getting to him. For the sake of Bradford City, and his own well being, I’m sorry to say “it’s time to go Stuart”.

  6. Sick of commenting on defeats so I won’t. Bringing in a recruitment manager in December? Is this a lower league super agent? A director of football without the grand title so that SM doesn’t look out of his depth ? If this aligned to the club taking more control on signings with the managers input so that regardless of who the gaffer is we don’t end up with a load of players from 1 mans idealism onto the next etc I see some merit in that . But let’s call a spade a spade . A director of football or a Assistant manager even but fudging it waiting for a grand announcement etc is just indicative of the way way roll as a club since Rupp came. There are things going on that just aren’t adding up and SM, Ryan and JR have had to put a brave face on it and keep quiet over the last few years. Rahic obviously was a clown we know that but I absolutely do not think Rupp is some innocent party in all of this. Clearly his power over decisions is either baffling to those at the club or not in line with reality at this end. He is presiding over a truly awful period of the clubs history and playing his part in spoiling a couple of great men of Bradford City in SM for a 2nd time and JR virtually twice. I feel we have all kept a little quiet because he’s the guy who has the money to dig us out of our mess but the time is brewing away when we WILL be protesting outside the club doors and to whoever will listen to us for his lack of duty and care. We all know many many clubs who simply wouldn’t have let him get this far yet we have for some reason ? Can you imagine Sheffield clubs for instance or look at Charlton’s efforts ridding of the foreign owners. Protesting in May when it’s too late would be typical end to it all from top to bottom – he gets away with it and we end up suffering yet again. If he was Mark Lawn or David Simpson or Stafford H we wouldn’t have allowed it to get this far, no way. He brought Rahic in for goodness sake and got away lightly then. This time he can’t get away with such utter negligence for our great club. One more failed farcical transfer window and come the end of January trust me we will have had our fill with it all! I hope I’m wrong but lets have it right he is the one constant in all the crap and SM finally broke on his interview today of the carnage going on behind the scenes on every decision. Recruitment is one thing under funded then there is our academy also under funded. Over the years it has produced some gems here and there over the years and we have a few talented lads on the fringe now which is a glimmer of hope in the current darkness and credit where it’s due for this but I’m truly staggered that we have zero academy striker anywhere near possible for a place on the bench. It’s not just now but for 2-3 years in the whole of our reach across our region there isn’t one lad anywhere near the first team over 6ft who is an out and out striker. I know other academy’s pick up the good ones etc etc but we are talking about getting a game at league 2 level not Champ-Prem level! We have by the looks of it 2-3 attacking midfielders coming through plus 3 defenders which is nice but actually a striker would be a huge asset at any time but If we had 1 he would be in and around it and playing without a doubt. We are being made mugs of as fans on all levels but by Rupp and I for one cannot just sit back watch us go out of the league and let this owner get away with it any longer. It won’t make a difference if it’s SM or Fergie, the same issues will arise. Enough is enough.

    • To be fair to Rupp he has underwritten a budget which should see us comfortably in the top half and given patience with canny allocation of resources competing at the top. He knows virtually nothing about the football business and zero about matters on the pitch. There is no doubt he will bitterly regret his “investment” and being schmoozed by Rahic. We are stuck with him and him with us for now unless or untill someone else is prepared to come in and throw their money into a black hole.

      • Hi Paul .

        So he should be underwriting etc – he’s the bloody owner of a great club! If he knew nothing and still bought it he’s a clown. He’s covered his costs given a few hundred grand here or there. By the way he’s got a fair few million which to me makes it even more galling! I’ve been patient from day 1 with him but the facts are the facts. New owner new ideas new everything needed and quick.

      • I’m an active investor who sad to say have had several 5% losses on my equity portfolio. I consider the loss “par for the course” in other words, the cost of doing business/speculating. Paul, I’m fed-up of you and others in the media patronising the guy. Rupp’s investment in City was naive and gullible on his part. I seriously doubt he considers a 5% loss to be a big deal. He’s a businessman not a saint!!

      • Yup. €180 million worth of clown. Not blameless by any means but he is not responsible for any operational decisions.Pretty sure he would bite the hand off someone who would take us off his hands at a reasonable loss. Good luck finding a buyer for a perennially loss making business with no assets in the worst economic crisis in living memory.

  7. Mboro Rich.
    So you are not going to sit back and just let the club fall out of the league
    What do you propose to do because I feel exactly the same and been urging those within the club to act now for weeks.
    We can not just standby and watch the club ‘sleepwalk’out of the league and in possible oblivion.
    There must be enough of us who are passionate, intelligent and articulate enough to do something.
    Could we be the first city to.lose two FL club?
    Could we become the first ex to fall out of the FL?
    I too am of the opinion particularly after hearing SM that there is much more happening behind the scenes than we know about which is still affecting everything within the club
    I have always advocated that wholesale manager sacking is not the answer is not the answer but there is something fundamentally wrong which has combined to put us in the position we now find ourselves in
    Those of us who feel the same way should now join together to determine a strategy

    • Why did Rupp buy the club in first place? Why is he stubbornly adamant he doesn’t want to sell and is under the illusion he wants to right the wrongs when he has absolutely no idea how to mend what’s gone wrong? How much is the club worth on the current market? Certainly not the 6 million paid for it 3 years ago.

      Park Avenues decline was a slow death that saw the club voted out of the league after numerous bottom placed finishes. City’s decline is much more alarming given we were 1 game away from the championship and a club actually making a profit before Rupp and Rahics involvement.

      Is there buyer? Will Rupp sell? All I can see is club going out of business come the end of the season if relegated which is becoming a bigger and bigger reality after every defeat. Action is needed but it’s not that simple when theres so little information from Rupp on why the club is so badly run both on and off the field and why he continues to own the club with no blueprint or real interest in taking our club forward.

    • Hi Mark

      I was outside the clubs old ticket office probs with you awaiting news that our club had been wound up in 03 with about 300 others . Literally awaiting the outcome after handing our buckets in. Thankfully we were kept alive and a stay of execution. I absolutely believe that the sight of some fan power outside the ground has an impact, raises awareness and profile starts a ripple effect. It would likely be seen by Rupp even in Germany but also possibly highlight to any potential buyer of our club at home or abroad. I know we are in COVID times and wouldn’t be a great thing right now but quite frankly if we can’t organise something then nothing will change. If at the bare minimum it allows Rupp to hand over decisions that can be made quickly on transfers alone for now then that could help. Playing brinkmanship at the last hour of transfer windows again will simply be too late for us and at this level especially doesn’t end well. Kurtis Guthrie for example. We need to throw the kitchen sink at this window in week 1 in fact we should be doing deals now like most clubs will be. Rupp needs to take responsibility for the shambles he’s allowed to happen on his watch. If it isn’t going to be SM then he needs to throw the sink at a properly paid manager the best we can get. From what I know there is nothing wrong with a 1 man protest at the club so 1 man at a time each hour for a week solid with a banner lighting a candle or whatever I’m not fussed on the detail but something that is able to draw attention to the plight we are in, get Nova over or someone to video it. Get something online a silent social distanced protest whatever – Not only because we might be heading out of the league but quite honestly even if we were mid table we should be bloody livid at how this is going. He presided over many things as I’ve mentioned in previous post but also under his watch heart was ripped out of the back room team at training ground , and stadium . Wendy- John Ducks and many more. Ryan Sparks I’m sure wouldn’t ignore such a protest. We need a dose of realisation to where things are at under this guy. If we were at games we absolutely would be doing something before during or after games by now. We can hammer the players all we want but we’ve got what we’ve got and they are capable of what they are capable of . 75% simply aren’t anywhere near. We can’t get blood from a stone. I love our club – it’s like watching someone you love who’s gonna kill himself through drink who keeps drinking everyday and not stepping in until the end when it’s too late. I’m not going to be wishing I had at least tried when it’s too late and the lights have gone out.

      • In 56 years attending, this is exactly how I feel. Sad beyond belief.

        This is not just a bad run of results ((Parkinson’s 20 odd winless run), and us having a depressed feeling because of a few bad results. This has been going on for 3 years and it just happens to coincide with Rupp and you know who taking over.

        It cannot be overlooked or dismissed.

        I have never, ever, felt so disenfranchised from the club, never seen such rubbish on the pitch, and so much wrong/lacking.

        It is killing me to see this and will be killing everybody else – Stuart included.

        I am old enough to remember the pitchside bedsheet coin collections, but this was about lack of cash.

        Stuart’s honesty (let slip??) that it looks like there is loads wrong behind the scenes and that must transpose itself onto the pitch (surely)? What chance has Stuart got (yet again) if he has the shackles on him.

        However, this shower is not going to turn it round.

        I am morbidly worried about my team, and the future.

    • All the talk of the club going out of business if we we get relegated is very upsetting for everyone I think Stuart has got to go either resign or be sacked by Rupp ! I think its now time for the fans to get organised and set up some kind of bond scheme to buy back Valley parade ,afc wimbledon fans raised 5.5million pounds towards their new plough lane stadium and they are a much smaller club than us .If they can do it then so can we .Its not some fantasy Mark it can be done .
      Its looking like Rupp has no interest in buying back VP Jack Tordoffs company has put millions in sponsorship over the years and he is not willing to put lots of his hard earned money into a run down area of bradford .So I think its left to us fans to sort this 450000 a year problem out .I’ve contacted Manny at the supporters Trust about the wimbledon situation but not had a reply yet.
      My other big problem with the club is the cheap season tickets they are just too cheap we need to start paying the going rate to compete !

      • The existing stadium is a large financial burden whilst we rent it. Agreed. However If we owned it the financial burden would not be relieved completely. It’s an ageing asset that needs a lot of maintenance repair and investment. Let’s not even start on how badly the pitch deteriorates every two years.
        Nobody wants to face this fact but to truly modernise and move forward City should start again in a brand new, purpose built stadium, with modern engineering and therefore significantly lower running costs. A 25/30/35 year finance plan would likely be achievable but again a new stadium is gonna cost 50m. Even a slightly more modest one of say 18k capacity. in other words it’s gonna cost triple the annual cost we currently have. And we don’t have the investment for that vision. The club is run hand to mouth year by year. And you can understand why. Who is willing to put up the 50m plus. Only fans. As they are the ones who will stick around a generation or two down the line. So Wimbledon and their 5m is one thing. But we need 10x that to be realistic. I don’t have any answers for our way forward that don’t include, in Bradford terms, a huge investment

  8. Stuart out? Stuart resign? Rubbish.
    Who’s going to come in and do a better job? Name me anyone with more passion, desire, determination and loyalty for the cause…? He’s one of us!
    The issues were there long before his return. We’ve already swapped and changed managers – and to what success? None.
    We need stability. Fair play to Ryan Sparks for recognising this.
    Stuart inherited a failing squad at a club where funds are minimal, and tied with long term contracts.
    Then COVID-19 happened.
    Then the EFL buggered about with a salary cap.
    Stuart tried to get decent players in. Ian Henderson etc., who only had eyes on terms the club clearly couldn’t afford. We are then left with rookies such as Samuels to fill the void.
    Stuart of all people deserves time. Give him a chance. Chance to build his own squad from scratch.
    This is a time to stick together. We’ve bounced back before and we’ll do it again. A long term plan will get us there.
    As worrying as the situation is right now, the season is far from over. Keep the faith, play your part and support!
    What’s the alternative?

  9. The alternative is we do nothing and regret it for ever

    Covid is a problem
    We cant go to Rupp and he cant come here (without quarantine).
    But we live in technological age and surely we can do something before it’s too late.
    And January and the arrival cavalry might be too late and even then.might not work.
    We cant take the chance
    If the club goes down it will fold!
    I have that on extremely good authority..
    Some of mboro richs ideas are worth exploring
    Who is prepared to do nothing and then regret it?

  10. Unfortunately I think there are 4 compelling reasons why Stuart has to go:
    1) Results – that’s 6 defeats on the spin now.
    2) Performances – recent ones have not suggested we are going to turn the corner, and recent score lines have also flattered us, i.e Carlisle, Oldham in the cup, Exeter.
    3) Unfortunately Stuart does not have a track record of being able to turn around teams who are on poor runs, as he left his job at Motherwell, City 2nd time round and Scunthorpe after a series of defeats. Let’s also not forget our implosion in the 2nd season in his 1st spell with us.
    4) Poor recruitment – It was fairly obvious last season that we lacked a proper defensive midfielder and some leaders in the team, but he did nothing to address this in the summer. We also have an unbalanced squad with no left winger.

    Given his poor track record of not being able to turn teams around on bad runs, I don’t think he is going to be able to do it here, as also suggested by recent results and performances, and regrettably given his poor recruitment in the summer, I also don’t believe he can be trusted with the transfer window next month.

  11. The only hope we have, is that there are two clubs in this league, which are in a bigger mess than City, and that they fail on the field in an even greater way than us, by the end of the season.

  12. A great initial prediction Tim. Equally shared by probably Ten Thousand others. No need for a crystal ball there eh !

  13. We’ve had 7 managers within the last 3 years. Brilliant idea to sack Stuart and get in yet another manager who will be managing someone else’s players. Just stick with him and for pity’s sake let’s have a period of stability.

  14. Two very strange and possibly pertinent comments.
    A O’connor joking during the game with kewell.
    Mccall tried to get rid of bre last summer.

    Does not this tell us something about the attitude of city players.

  15. Heart and Head. Heart says lash out, blame someone, change it now. Head says hang on a minute….complex problems are rarely resolved with simplistic solutions. What I do think we might fight for is greater dialogue with the club. An online forum ? A live interview with Sparks ? … with Raynor and/or Jason etc asking the questions. I ask, through this forum, if Jason would be prepared to seek such an interview. I will email Raynor this afternoon with a similar request. And it needs to happen asap, ideally before the Crawley game. Again, my head says this is probably unrealistic but we must encourage Sparks to open up, to listen and not retreat into a bunker. If he refuses such a request then I’ll join the protest – just tell me where and when.

  16. I decided, for the first time this season, not to waste a tenner on watching our miserable team on iFollow. I listened to Radio Leeds; I watched Oldham’s highlights on Quest. I feel vindicated. No discernible improvement- no structure ,no shape, no effort, little skill and totally clueless from the stands to the goal line on how to compete with, let alone defeat an Oldham side with an execrable home record. It’s all right people portraying Stuart McCall’s latest feisty interview as “honest” but in my book it was nothing of the kind. There’s a world of difference between being convinced that something is the case and that objectively being the case. McCall stated we’re a top ten team going forward.
    Anyway, no point in writing more as he’s gone according to the BBC. So now I think we have a slight chance of avoiding oblivion.

    • Sorry but all the game stats say different. e had 20 plus chances and Oldham had 4. The difference was in application from the players. The manager had done his bit. Doesn’t matter now but even the new manager cannot put the ball in the net himself. Stuart had one transfer window. Thats it. If we carry on in that vein we will ultimately go out of the league.


    Keyboard warriors were not around as much in 2007 when I first started going to watch City with my 7 year old and that was painful, watching through your fingers as opposition teams just put the ball into the line of Matt Clarke and then you had the option to watch or look behind you to see if you could look for someone you knew in the stadium to then hope when you turned back around it had it the post.

    What I am trying to say is that back then we did not have pot to p*## in and that man Stuart McCall who is YES in a bit of trouble with results, actually went out and bought a toaster for the training ground so the players could have a bit of breakfast in the mornings, now do you think that is a man who does not care ?

    COVID has played a big part in all this and as a club we have gambled on recruitment from the start of the season with the salary cap added into all this as well, probably thinking maybe the season could get cut short then you have not bust the budget, with the option to strengthen in January if required, I do not think for one minute anyone including SM & KB thought we would be in this hole we are in and the injuries have contributed to this, and YES He likes to work with a small squad and that’s the price you pay, lessons learned there then.

    The post match interview, SM was deeply HURT, no question about that and He nearly said names on recruitment as He was backed into a corner with His frustrations. Now do we want Him to say player’s names that are possible targets, who for me looks like the ink is wet ready to sign for us to get GAZUMPED from another club, if He had let the Keyboard Warriors know who targets were then at least they could be quiet until we lost the targets due to saying too much, then whose fault would that have been, I think we have to look at the movement behind the scenes now and SM looks like He is getting the backing.

    Or will the KEYBOARD WARRIORS be HAPPY with McCall getting the SACK ???????

  18. Well, all the conjecture is over, and Stuart’s gone. What now, in the soap opera that’s Bradford City.

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