New year, same City

Carlisle United 2
Gibson 45, Patrick 87
Bradford City 0

Written by Adam Raj (images John Dewhirst)

Cast your minds back to Boxing Day 2019, where Gary Bowyer, in typical fashion, served up a dire 0-0 result at Brunton Park. It was a cold winter’s afternoon, Bradford City were backed with a large travelling support, despite a season that had brought about underachievement and frustrations with those in the dugout and in the boardroom. 

Fast forward 25 months and today’s trip to Cumbria feels like deja vu. Zero goals, zero shots on target, a defeat and 14th place in League Two. It doesn’t make for encouraging reading does it? Last week’s performance against Barrow wasn’t particularly great, but City showed grit and determination to win the game in testing circumstances – characteristics you can applaud.

But today, the 1,200+ travelling faithful didn’t even get that. The bare minimum City fans expect, or fans of any club for that matter, is hard work, determination and pride for the shirt. If the players cannot produce what should be a prerequisite of any City player, then we have a bigger problem than we thought.

Last week, I commented how a New Year’s Day victory posed promising signs for a new version of Bradford City in 2022. Today, it was very much a case of the same old Bradford City that we have come to expect over the last five years of regression and failure.

What started off as a relatively bright performance, rather typically descended into a comfortable afternoon for the hosts. Oscar Threlkeld should’ve scored within the opening minutes after Lee Angol squared 10 yards from goal, but the right back decided to shoot with the outside of his right foot and blazed over the crossbar. Yann Songo’o then had a goal ruled out for a ‘foul’ on the Carlisle keeper Mark Howard, which looked particularly soft. Although it may have been disallowed for offside.

Aside from that, both sides looked like the goal-shy sides that they are. A lot of neat build up play but then the inevitable breakdown in the final third. For City, matters were complicated when Andy Cook had to be replaced after only 29 minutes due to a dead leg. You could sense the enthusiasm dissipate out of the away end as the City number nine hobbled down the tunnel. There is no replacement for Cook, there is nobody who can step in no fill his boots or challenge him for a starting spot. At least one striker needs to arrive at Valley Parade and quick.

I suppose it was inevitable that a side riddled with former Bantams would have at least one on the scoresheet. On the stroke of half-time it was Jordan Gibson who decided to get one up on his old side. He was afforded too much time and space just inside the box before unleashing a fantastic curling effort past Sam Hornby to give the hosts the lead. Whilst the finish was unstoppable, the fact Gibson was even in that position in the first place was symptomatic of City’s off the ball approach under Adams. 

The 30 seconds preceding the goal was very much a case of Carlisle patiently driving the ball forwards and interchanging short, sharp passes without a sniff of a City challenge. The line of engagement is far too low.

What I mean by that is City are too passive in their defending. They don’t attempt to make a challenge high up the pitch, instead preferring to drop off and back off and fall deeper and deeper. The end result is exactly what you see for the opening goal today. Eventually, if you allow a side to pass it around your back line and midfield in the final third, without applying any pressure or making a tackle, then they’re going to punish you.

From an attacking perspective, City were just as hopeless. The front line is simply too static and offer no option to the man in possession. On one occasion in the first half, Elliot Watt had possession midway inside the Carlisle half and Cook, Gilliead and Angol were virtually on top of each other. Watt had no options and had to go backwards. The groans from the crowd were aimed at Watt, but when he needed his teammates to show for him, they were hiding behind one another. 

Watt is seemingly a player who divides opinion amongst the fan base. He copped a lot of stick for his performance today, and whilst he was poor, it seems as if he’s becoming a bit of a scapegoat. His midfield partner Songo’o has been just as poor, if not worse, since he arrived at the club and it’s somewhat unfair and inaccurate to single out Watt for the current midfield’s failings. 

Songo’o received cult hero status when his much anticipated signing was confirmed in the summer, seen as City’s and Adams’ major piece of business. That popularity has maybe clouded some fans’ judgement as his performances haven’t received the same amount of scrutiny, but in reality he’s been distinctly underwhelming. 

Whilst Songo’o was a high profile arrival, it’s fair to say Fiacre Kelleher’s signing was met with confusion and scepticism. The defender was released by National League Wrexham yet managed to secure a two year contract in a division higher with a club who had supposed aspirations of promotion to the third tier. 

Three minutes from time, Kelleher displayed why he was deemed surplus to requirements by the ambitious Welsh side. Another former Bantam, Omari Patrick, won his 50/50 duel with the Irishman, left him on his backside in a foot race and raced through to slot past Sam Hornby. 

Patrick, along with Gibson and Kelvin Mellor then ran the length of the half to celebrate in front of the City fans. It’s a shame they didn’t show that level of effort or quality when they were wearing Claret and Amber. But it’s more past employees of Bradford City who go on to be successful elsewhere and then laugh in our faces whilst we’re still at rock bottom. I for one am sick and tired of it.

If it wasn’t already, that was game over. City wouldn’t have scored if they were still playing and Carlisle had gone home. 

The scenes at full time were unsavoury. The players (at least those who had the bottle to approach the away end) were met with chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt”. I hope you’re listening Ryan. 

*If* City thought they could relax somewhat in the transfer market after last week’s victory, today’s result and performance should be a stark reminder that this squad needs serious work.

And much like that day for Gary Bowyer, Adams received his fair share of criticism. The much used “Gary Bowyer, your football is ****” chant was replicated, this time directed at Adams. I hope you’re listening too Derek. 

Although, in typical fashion, Adams showed no appreciation for or acknowledgement towards the travelling fans and headed straight down the tunnel. The City boss isn’t helping to endear himself to the City faithful and it is perfectly understandable that some still feel frosty towards him. And that’s before you discuss his ability as the manager of this football club.

The cold truth is that we’re a side who lacks quality, quantity and character. Of the back four and goalkeeper that started today, only two are good enough. Those two being Paudie O’Connor and Liam Ridehalgh. The fact that when Threlkeld went off injured, Adams favoured left back Matty Foulds over Finn Cousin-Dawson tells you what you need to know with that situation. As well as a striker, right back absolutely has to be second on the shopping list. 

We have a central midfield who are incapable of dictating a game, wingers who don’t produce enough goal contributions, a strike force where only two members are good enough but are injury prone and next to no options to change a game from the bench.

But whilst we’re in January, there’s not a lot more you can discuss and dissect. You can only hope the club are capable of recruiting three or four players of real quality. Not squad players, players who walk into the starting eleven. Because at the end of the day, it is fine margins. As bad as City were today, Carlisle weren’t any great shakes and a better side would have won that game at a canter. We can only hope that come February 1st, City are in such a position.

Categories: Match Reviews

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49 replies

  1. Adams is getting far too much of a free pass. 8 of those either starting or coming on today were HIS signings. And let’s not forget we know he had a hand in the retained list. His tactics, mana management and motivational skills must seriously be coming under scrutiny now. All well and good doing it for little Morecambe with no expectations….but I think the club and expectations might just be too big for Adams in this evidence. This isn’t giving the players a get out of free card either …they were woeful, to a man. Some of them will find their next career stop is in the conference, or worse and deservedly so. They were a disgrace and Gary Jones’ analysis was spot on. If we don’t add serious quality then God help us….if we don’t go down this year, we’re in for a scrap against the drop to non league next season, no doubt in my mind. And my message to Rupp….either s#*t or get off the pot. Serious investment is needed otherwise your investment will soon become worthless.

  2. After another wasted day..never mind over £100 on the trip, you have to ask the question why bother again. Derek Adams isn’t bothered, the players never looked bothered, is the club even bothered? Are you listening Ryan?

  3. Quite apart from the performance and the result, the actions of Gibson and Patrick was quite disgraceful.
    Mellor too for joining in.
    They had both scored in a mid to low table League Two clash against their former employees.
    It’s hardly the Champions league lads.
    Remember that City used to pay them and they never really contributed anything whilst with us.
    So it was a bit sad to see their reaction. No class and to be honest a bit chavvy.
    Having said all that and without excusing the behaviour one has to ask why former players seem not only do well against us but seem to really enjoy it.

  4. Very good summing up Adam, thank you.

  5. Definitely not the only player to blame today, but Watt was again an absolute passenger. In fact worse. I’m not entirely sure how you could defend him on today’s showing – in fact all but one/two showings all season. His body language and effort is all wrong.

    I can count on one finger the amount of players I would keep out of this squad.

    Yet another mass clear out needed.

  6. Once our fans chant that there is only one way traffic. DA is deluded in his comments and incapable of connecting with the heart of our club the fans. The players will get him the sack regardless. They’ve seen many off and will continue to do so. Anyone who signs then plays every week knowing what level of performance he will give each week having had him before in OT and YS is deluded. Anyone who thinks EW is going to stop giving away possession in crucial positions and has the legs and fight to be a league 2 almost ever present is deluded. (If we get a fee for him the world has gone bonkers) Anyone who says we played well for the 1st 20 mins today is not just deluded he is liar. We played well for 8 mins today not 20. We get blagged by him every week. He is not fit for purpose rattling off nonsense each week. What an earth are we doing having 1 number 9 in the whole squad who’s never stayed fit for 40 games a year. ? I can’t be arsed with it all to be honest. We are being blagged by the owner, CEO, manager and players. Last week we were dire and extremely lucky to come out with a draw never mind a win yet we accept it as “an impressive battling result” we have been groomed year by year by BS rhetoric all stemming from above. I said it a year ago I will say it again – why aren’t we kicking and screaming to the owner for help or new ownership? Have we given up and accepted abjectness as being ok now?
    Gary Jones / Jamie Lawrence please get yourselves to BD8 and give this lot a lesson in what it means to be a professional at BD8. Or oust this lot and get in the dugout somehow!

  7. I watched the game on IFollow. I could at least turn it off. This team were poor against Barrow last week so what does Adams do he picks the same team. Sutton sits on the bench clearly not Adams type of player. When he plays he gives 110%. He is central in all things good. Yet he is not selected. I sat at home watching feeble challenges, atrocious ball distribution and lack of tactical awareness. It was a hard watch.
    I’m not sure if Adams will bring in eye catching signings. If I was investing my cash into the club, I would expect value for money. Players that will improve the results and performances and provide solid foundations moving forward.
    As supporters we deserve hard work on the field and a desire to win. Not just turn up, play poorly without heart and get paid. I was disgusted today with City. I would put this game down has one of the worse performances in the post Parkinson era. Adams, Sparks, Rupp and the team should apologise to the supporters for what they are having to watch week in and week out. Rant over.

  8. Good report Adam and spot on regarding our defending. You would have thought we were defending a lead rather than chasing the game when allowing their goalkeeper to roll the ball out to the defenders with ample space and time to carefully and precisely pass their way up to our first line of defence, around 35 yds or so from our own goal. We should have cut out the option for the keeper to do what he was doing and made him kick long so we could have won the aerial duel and then being aggressive in winning the second ball.
    OK, the quality of some of players we have is limited, but what compounds the lack of quality is the tactic of defending deep when in a losing situation and thinking/hoping we will catch our opponents on the break. We don’t and we wont. And that’s because we don’t have the players to be able to do that. Until we we have better quality players at our disposal we have to start defending much higher up the pitch, force the opponents to hit long balls, give them less time on the ball, bring them down to our level and hope we can force them into mistakes -which shouldn’t be too difficult at this level- and take advantage of those mistakes. Any new signings should be capable of walking straight into this team and making a positive impact. And Adams needs to start playing to the strengths -or weaknesses- of the players we have, rather than trying to force players to play a system that they are clearly not capable of successfully being able to play.

  9. I’m embarrassed to say I support the club these days after 42 years a fan. Absolutely cluless and rudderless. The club has no direction or identity anymore. What is this regime trying to achieve? Can anyone enlighten me?
    The leading lights preciding over this shambles certainly can’t.
    Between Adams, sparkes and the third rate playing staff I have no faith in what the club are trying to achieve apart from sending the club into oblivion. Rupp has to find buyer and bring his sorry tenure to end.
    Gary Jones was spot on today and called this spineless team out for what they are.

  10. I picked out that piece about who’s up to the required quality and who’s not. We have about 50% of a decent side when you think about it. And frankly that’s nowhere near good enough. For every cook, Sutton, Canavan there’s a threlkeld, songoo, kelleher
    I’m not trying to single individuals out for specific criticism. The entire team has been below standard. But there are 50pc of individuals who aren’t performing anywhere near good enough
    Hopefully we can improve and cling into the hope of a playoff spot+a late run of very good form+ some other teams collapsing.
    Let’s see

  11. How long can Adams hold on to his job?.

  12. I’m fed up of this club gaslighting the supporters. The rubbish you hear mid week about how we’re improving, how the mentality is there, what a great group they are, the chances we’re creating is just insulting when they go out and play like that.
    Can’t bear to listen to the post match interview with DA. It’ll just wind me up more.
    We deserve so much better. 10,000+ buy season tickets every year and whilst you could opine that that their low cost contributes significantly to this figure that argument does hold up when you look at the big away support we take everywhere – all over the country. The only people who don’t turn up on a Saturday are the players.
    Derek not engaging with fans is just not good enough. Not by a long way. McCall had his faults but at least he understood us, at least he was honest with us.
    What makes me really angry is that I just don’t know where to begin with this club. We lost yesterday not because of recruitment, of training facilities, of performance analytics, of playing budgets. We lost not because of the manager, he’s done it elsewhere and it’s not even player quality. You could build a decent team around players that were deemed not good enough for VP (Rowe, Doyle, Crankshaw, Gibson, Patrick et al). We lost yesterday because Carlisle wanted it more and that’s simply not acceptable.
    We’ll hear about needing to rebuild, about giving DA a few windows blah blah blah. How many times have we heard that?I’m not interested in the next window, in next year, in the new signing who can’t wait to play for this club because we all know the young lad, bright eyed and bushy tailed this week will be celebrating their goal against us in a few seasons time. I’m only interested in next week.
    Get rid of Rupp, Sparks, Adams, the players. Produce a high playing budget, buy the ground install a director of football it’s not going to make one jot of difference if the prevailing culture allows a City team to be beaten buy a team which simply wants it more.
    I simply can’t deal with this level of disillusionment year on year. There has to be a limit. What’s the point if being so invested in club if nobody else is.

  13. Can you explain why my post has not been included. This is the 4th time.

    • Apologises I’ve been asleep and just woke up to a large batch of comments to publish. It is now published

  14. To quote you Adam ” we need 3 or 4 players of quality ” whilst I don’t disagree where are these players coming from. We all know just about all the players in the lower leagues but names in the hat are light on the ground. Where is there a Jones , a Darby, a McCardle , a Meredith or a Wells who we signed for nothing. Even the better players which clubs wouldn’t release don’t come close. It’s a massive problem.

  15. The pity of this abject defeat is that it might just dissuade the owner from splashing a little cash and encourage him to write off the season. It might well put off prospective signings and embolden selling clubs to hold out for more. On the other hand, it should have made it beyond dispute that we need more than just a couple of creative players. It’s a mess of our own making. We should have signed better players in the summer and not made false economies. If Adams can turn this round, he is worth all of what we are paying him but it may be beyond him – or anyone stuck with this lot. In fairness to him he did not get the ones he wanted. He alluded to that very early on in the season when mentioning fifth-choice players.

  16. Rupp supposedly wants 10-15m to sell. Aside from the fact we don’t even own our own stadium, training facilities or have any playing assets of any serious note, how can the club be worth double what he paid when he bought the club, in a division below? And this is a supposed savvy businessman?!!

    • Would he be savvy to sell at a loss? Suggest that’s not he made his money!

      • Its going to cost him more to keep us in the league isn’t it, money he’s not prepared to spend. If he’s not going to invest, eventually the asset he paid £5m for is going to be in non league football. And he won’t get a bean. The very most he can expect is around 3m.

    • Anyone know if Rupp is paying himself from the club coffers? Might explain why he doesn’t/didn’t want to sell.

      • I don’t believe so based on John studying the accounts in full. Given his overall wealth you would question why he would need to. City would hardly give much of a return for any investor

  17. I bought 2 season tickets, and paid £10 to watch ifollow yesterday.
    My son and 3 grandsons drove to Carlisle yesterday to watch City.
    It was a depressing and yet familiar experience for us all. A display so bad that my wife actually walked out of the room with 15 minutes to go. A display reminiscent of the mid 1960s.
    Nobody makes us watch and support City. We do it because, for some strange reason, we love them.
    I won’t comment on the dreadful lack of effort ,the apparent lack of fitness, the lack of ability, the inept referee, the disgraceful behaviour of Gibson and Patrick, or even the fantastic loyalty of our supporters.
    What I will comment on is the behaviour of our manager and players, but mainly our manager, towards the supporters at the end of the match.
    It is his duty, his job, to go over to his supporters at the end of the game and thank them. If they boo or jeer him he must accept that. Ryan Sparks needs to tell him, and the players, that this gesture, however much it hurts, however embarrassing it is, has to be made.
    If he, and they, do not do this they are truly ” not fit to wear the shirt”. Sparks and Rupp, must act.

    • Totally agree…

      Derek will say something like “it’s not a popularity contest” but the fans don’t deserve to be snubbed every away game like this. We take a massive support everywhere, the team might not turn up but the supporters always do

      It will cost him nothing and it puts a little credit in his account – credit he might very well need in the coming weeks.

  18. Well, after 30 years living down south we have finally moved home and so what better, in the absence of any home games, to travel 2 hours through the fog, belting rain to Carlisle. Let’s get rid of the good bit first, I spent the day with my 3 lads who will all be back at Uni by the next game.
    City were absolutely diabolical. I’m not in favour of sacking managers so it’s Adams’ job to sort this out. What are we going to get if we sack him – same old circus, so trust the initial judgement and stick with him.
    There was basically nothing in the first half and we should have gone in 1-0 up but for a weak referee (who looked about 70 and gave everything to the home side). Gibson scored a worldy after being abused loudly as a c*** for the entire game. Quite why the City fans should feel outraged at his gestures back at them is beyond me.
    Then City just didn’t turn up second half. They all seemed to play the same position- no width at all. Watt was awful but then again who has he got to pass to. Angol tried hard, Gilliead put a shift in but the rest were pathetic. Cooke is good when it’s going well but is a sulker, Vernam- did he play 2nd half? It was summed up by Gilliead running backwards and forwards across the middle of the pitch with the ball with noone ahead of him moving – pathetic. I don’t want to single people out because it’s a team game but they just played so narrow there was no way forward.
    We never won a header in the game up front, Watt can’t take a corner, Threlkeld is a long throw expert who can’t throw it long, O’Connor’s first instinct is to foul.
    I know I have singled people out but it’s the whole team – the attitude, the response to adversity.
    I just want to finish on a moan at the ref. I don’t think we can blame him for our performance or for the result, even though I think we should have been 1up but Patrick running the length of the field to celebrate in front of the away fans is a booking. Mellor taunting the fans during and after is a booking – do your job man! The booing of the ex City players was very tongue in cheek I’d say, almost done with a laugh. If you can’t take it, maybe sums up why you couldn’t play well for City. As I said Gibson was different, he was abused and he put in a man of the match performance, not recognised by his own club – how did the lad up front get MotM?!
    That became a bit of a rant but anyone who didn’t watch on ifollow or go, don’t let anyone tell you different. City were diabolical.

  19. Thank you Adam and all the contributors above who by and large speak the truth to City’s woeful performance yesterday and the wider malaise within the club as a whole.
    I find it hard to control my anger and frustration after yesterday’s abject display. Despite holding the view (before Christmas) that another change in manager is not in City’s best interests I am seriously questioning this now. Adams’s selection, tactics, manner and attitude all make me seriously wonder if we have made a very poor choice. Undoubtedly we are going backwards. Carlisle look to have acquired a real bit of quality in Omotoye from Norwich (can we not identify and attract such players?) yet our signing remains on the bench, along with arguably our best player in Levi Sutton. When, thankfully, Threlkeld, as right back, is substituted he is replaced not by Cousin-Dawson (in my view better than Threlkeld) but by a left back. And this raises some big question about Staunton, Scales and the other promising youngsters. It seems to me that not only is Adams incapable of managing this first team squad but is denying the club the opportunity to bring on the talent that it has in its younger players.
    I understand there is a fans forum on Tuesday. I hope that whoever is chairing this will allow tough, challenging and penetrating questioning to both Adams and Sparks. They cannot be allowed to sidestep the harsh truths and get awav with banalities, waffle and the tripe served up in post match interviews.

    • Adams made it clear post match that Sutton had been one of the players who suffered the most from the lurghy. The enforced changes meant that he did not figure at all.
      It seems more than likely that we have a significant number of players who do not expect to be with us much longer by choice or otherwise. Not really a good recipe for a winning mentality.

  20. I’ve read all the posts this season and there is rarely a critical remark about Rupp and Sparks. Why???

    You certainly can’t blame Adams for Valley Parade continuing to be a dysfunctional mess!!!

    • No-one can say that Stefan Rupp or Ryan Sparks picked the team or coached the players. As for claiming there to be a dysfunctional mess at VP overlooks the genuine progress that has been made behind the scenes. You also ignore that Stefan Rupp has spent more of his personal money on keeping BCAFC afloat than any of his predecessors but that is beside the point.

      As regards Derek Adams I am firmly of the view that we need stability and cannot afford changing the manager every nine months but he is doing little to convince me that he is the solution. However before pointing the finger at the owner let’s not overlook the fact that the vast majority of City fans welcomed DA’s appointment last year. It was not exactly an unpopular decision made by Stefan Rupp or Ryan Sparks and imposed against the will of the fans.

      The outcome of the Salford game is almost predictable. Mistakes will not be forgiven by the crowd and the moment we concede a goal we might as well all go home. The City players ended the game as the Carlisle players began it with little composure and minimal confidence. How the team can lift itself for next Saturday and get some self-belief is beyond me. Gary Bowyer knows all this of course because he’s experienced it for himself.

  21. Going back to the days of Hanson, I’d love to know the win percentage when our target man is injured, so we have to play without the likes of a big Jim, Wyke, Novak, Donaldson, Cook, as I bet it’s less than 25%.
    Playing with a big man up front who can hold the ball up, is a massive part of most league 1 and 2 sides attacking armoury, so it baffles me why every season we just seem to have one target man; they then inevitably get injured and we struggle.

    • We got relegated when we had no target man all season. We are abject with just 1 on the squad have been for years. Don’t get me started on the failure to bring through a striker of 6ft plus through the academy. MCBurnie was the last one and that didn’t go too badly. No it’s ok we will bring through technically gifted 5ft 9 number 10s instead and hope to sell them on ….but won’t be as they are ten a penny throughout the game these days.

  22. Can’t believe I was actually contemplating travelling from Cornwall to this match. Carlisle away is a game I still need to tick off my “list”. In the end common sense prevailed and I ended up bundled up in the WiFi shed at our caravan site watching on iFollow which for once behaved itself. Where o where were those chunks of blank screen when I needed them most. In all my 60 years of watching City, yesterdays game was up there with the most abject displays of couldn’t be bothered by so called “professional” players. Would rather see the youth team put out. At least they would play like it mattered. Only highlight for me yesterday was the summarising of our former captain Gary Jones. His summarising of City’s performance as “Inept” said it all.

  23. I have just watched on twitter the video of city supporters after the match. Remember these are the true genuine fans.
    I hope Adams and Sparks watch it and learn from it.
    The team’s display yesterday shamed the club.

    • By the same token there are different ways of showing support as opposed to venting your spleen. Frankly a lot of the reaction has been bipolar.

      There’s a lot of virtue signalling on social media about mental illness and not bullying people but seemingly anyone employed by BCAFC is exempt from restraint. There is no wonder the players look like mental wrecks and the confidence drains away. For now we have to get the best out of the players and it is counter productive to be making them the focus of venom. Hardly surprising so many ex-players thrive elsewhere or revel in scoring against us? I suspect the phenomenon is widely known in football circles and not the recipe to attract decent players to come to VP and develop their career.

    • I’m not blaming the fans for the performance on the pitch, in the same way that I’m not blaming Stefan Rupp / Ryan Sparks for selecting the team and coaching the players. However I am making the point that the ranting is not helping the situation and potentially making things worse. Why is it that ex-players thrive elsewhere and take delight at running the length of the pitch to stick one up at our fans?

      I think Paul Westcott hits the nail on the head when he says that a good number of our players know that they don’t have a future at VP. Whether new players and talented youngsters will be prepared to risk their careers joining BCAFC this month to replace them is anyone’s guess but I’m sure it’s common knowledge in football circles that City fans are ‘not the most forgiving’. The sense of entitlement and belief that we are a big club is frankly a handicap that makes the job of DA or whoever eventually replaces him all the more difficult.

      • Agree Gary. At some point everybody involved with the club will have to dial back the level of expectation. Switch the mentality from entitled “Big” fish in a small pond to something more positive and realistic. Everybody has to pull in the same direction to win.The periods of success we have had over the past forty odd years have tended to have grown from adversity. We have to find an identity in the underdog spirit of the 80s or Jaggers teams in my view. The reality is that we have a well supported team but one which is hamstrung by the VP millstone. It is going to take some luck, patience and some half decent management of limited resources to succeed

  24. I posted a week or so ago saying that the manager needed backing in the transfer market in this and the summer’s window. A year ago we were genuinely looking like relegation fodder, and due to lack of investment from our disinterested absentee owner we are still there. We just have not moved forward at all, some basic minor tweaks off the field that most half decent professional clubs would already have in place in the backroom. The kicker is, without a reasonable investment in the playing staff, he stands to lose all if we do go through that trapdoor. We are not “consolidating” or ” Sustainable” or any of the crap that’s being pedalled by the club and its CEO, we were basically lied to in the summer, promised the earth and have been hoodwinked, because we are nowhere near good enough. I look at some of the folk’s names above and rightly venting their views on how they feel about the state of the club, and they all long-term supporters, becoming very angry and disenfranchised. We’ve had nearly 5 years of regression under Stfan Rupp and the campaign to oust him as owner cannot be far away, he’s the common denominator. Just a final point that needs to be made clear, I work with Gary Jones’s ex brother in law, Gary walked out on his first day of his Uefa B licence course some years ago because it just wasn’t for him. Gary currently is a self employed personal trainer on Wirral peninsula, and occasionally plays for his boyhood teams veterans side at Ashville FC in Birkenhead, so to reiterate he has not got any qualifications to be employed as a coach etc at any decent level including non-league. Hope that clears things up as regards Gary’s position, as I’ve seen on a number of sites today, people think he’s a good choice for coach/manager. Let’s hope for some decent players soon.

  25. It was a horrible watch…. Both teams struggled, and it’s probably fair to say the least bad team won. My guess is the players came off as dissatisfied with their performance as the fans were. It seems unlikely that a group who were fully committed and grafted their way to a victory last week, suddenly decided that they couldn’t be bothered, and just wanted to take the money from the club without giving back any commitment this week.

    That leaves one to question what can the cause be of this lack of effort? It may be that some analysis done by The Economist can help – not the normal source of sporting insights, I agree, but bear with me – here is a reference that you may find interesting from this weeks edition:
    “ Our data team mined the record of professional footballers to show that catching the virus causes a lingering fall-off in their form. In the 100 days after an infection, they are less likely to be selected, to spend less time on the pitch and to complete fewer passes.”
    The analysis was done across positive cases reported in the Bundesliga and Serie A. The full article is available here:

    The key point is that the after-affect of Covid could be with us for some time – if only 6 players were available over the Christmas period, that means only 6 players are not suffering the after-effects of Covid. Telling these players they are not fit to wear the shirt is probably not the motivational chat they need as part of their recovery programme.

    • Thanks for the article. Interesting reading. Problem is we can’t believe a word that’s said from anyone at VP. Maybe we had 6 maybe we didn’t. This sort of performance has been seen 3/4 times this year at least and 15-20 times over the last 3-4 years.
      One common denominator over that period unfortunately….and that’s where it starts.

  26. The huge problem is how do you get rid of the dross in order to accommodate new players – always assuming we have the resources and knowledge to bring in better. Covid uncertainty will not help and neither will our seeming inability or unwillingness to pay top wages for top players. There is now enormous pressure on the management to do in three weeks what we haven’t done in three years – assemble a good squad.

  27. For me, the real issue is that the football is rank and ineffective. Under McCall it was often pretty but not effective (though I was happy enough with that). Under Parky it was often rudimentary but effective. This group of individuals is the worst we’ve had since Peter Taylor’s tenure (I’d actually say the worst in my lifetime – born 1983) and we seem to somehow be worse than the sum of our parts.

    We were sold another Parky but he hasn’t been effective. Personally I think we need to buy into a two year vision and I wouldn’t bother with sacking Adams. But why don’t the club just say that? The point about Gaslighting was spot-on. The club have taken the fans for granted, at best, for mugs at worst.

    I enjoy my pre-match kebab. The people I see. And a few minutes of optimism. Since McCall left (his second tenure), I’ve derived no pleasure from what’s on the pitch. And I’m sick of the nonsense (however well-meaning) that comes from the club.

    Either entertain us or win. Of course both would be nice.

    • Whilst I agree with the essence of what you say about watching and enteetainment, this group of players is much improved on the squad from pre Xmas last year – we were getting hammered by everyone and were going down fast. I also didn’t find that pretty!

  28. Rupp is doing what I would do if I had made his investment into the club; back what he thinks is a winning team but be cagey with funds committed. Back what you think is a winning team; too early to tell on Adams but he has a decent track record here and so do not do the usual short term response.Back him to the end of next season and then if he has made no progress, jettison him for a better option ( though that list is getting miserably shorter as the clubs leadership becomes more and more detached) Not heard a peep from Mr Sparks recently.
    Changing managers as we do, is proven not to work, so discount that from the thinking. I do think Adams must respect the away support and at least acknowledge their presence. Why on earth would you not do that? Derek, go over, put your thumbs up and applaud them… because they deserve it.
    Ryan is a different matter. At times like this, the club needs visible leadership. Silence from him.
    I have personally offered him free advice on commercial/marketing/communications matters and as an industry player and with over 30 years direct experience, thought I might at least get a “thanks, but no thanks response”… but not even an acknowledgement of my email.
    Good luck Ryan. I hope you appreciate and value that despites the name on the door, this club is owned by the fans. In the absence of decent leadership I think next year may mean that for the first time in many years, the season ticket take up will go into serious reverse.
    The offer is still open; I have many ideas as to how you might improve matters.Please contact me if you are interested.
    Commercial sponsors, vital though they are , will not save the club.
    A better match day experience, though much needed, will not save the club.
    Better communication, though really important, will not save the club.
    Withdrawing from communication at crucial times like this (and I really thought you might say something after this latest disappointment) will not save the club.
    What will save the club, is a return to the real Brand values; openness, transparency, regular communications through the good times and the bad and a believable vision not based on “vanity projects” and lack of appreciation of what we are; a League Two club with realistic ambitions. Real fans could swallow another 3 years in this division if they could see a realistic plan and form of communication; that is sadly lacking.

  29. I dont think Adam’s sees that part of his job is explaining decisions to the fans.
    With the exception of Docherty and possibly Jefferies, managers have generally been quite popular at VP.
    I find it difficult to like or warm to Adam’s because I find he has little respect for the fans, and has an almost arrogant treatment of them. He seems to show the same arrogance and contempt to the media.
    Sorry Derek but you are ultimately in the entertainment industry.
    I believe the City job is too big for him. He cant handle it.

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