By Mark Davis
Originally performed in 1967 – the year Bradford City finished 11th in Division 4 and was forced to hold a crisis meeting in St George’s Hall to save the club from folding – Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch probably still resonates in these parts more than elsewhere. Parodying old friends catching up and reminiscing about their shared humble beginnings and difficult childhoods, as the conversation progresses, they each try to outdo one another in just how tough they had it.
One wonders how the same sketch would play out if you gathered together the last four Bradford City managers. If we skip the interim appointments of Trueman and Sellers, and whatever the Michael Collins ‘era’ was meant to be, that would be a conversation between David Hopkin, Gary Bowyer, Stuart McCall and Derek Adams.
McCall: “Aye, there’s nowt like a bouncing Valley Parade!”. Bowyer: “Ohhh, we used to dream of a bouncing Valley Parade! It were more like an angry library for us”. Hopkin: “Hmph, you were lucky to have them angry – all we had was a silent library!” Adams: “Luxury! I used to dream of a silent library…”. I was reminded of the sketch while witnessing us meekly surrender for the fifth time this season to Exeter City, with everyone around me in the Main Stand either bored or quietly grumbling.
Complaining at Valley Parade has long been its own reward. We Yorkshire folk love a moan and on Saturday – as on far too many other occasions this season – there was plenty to complain about. Boy, it was dire! But the logic of it was also often contradictory, demanding one thing from the manager or players, only to complain when it then happened.
One example was a call for Adams to change the system and get some height up top, Exeter overloading us and beating us on the grass. “Get Elliott on and let’s get up at ‘em”. Elliott arrives, and the same group shout, “What’s he brought that useless lump on for?”.
For a few months now, there’s been a troubling sense that a minority in the crowd on match days actively want the situation for City to get worse, not better. That in the extremity of a heavy defeat their complaints are justified and proven correct.
Adams certainly alienated the fanbase, but it is surely to give the man too much credit to long for a more extreme defeat just so one can be more extreme in complaining just how tough they’re having it?
Somewhere along the lines – five years descending from the heady cup runs of the Parky era, through an iFollow-led detachment, and year after year of over-promising when season tickets need renewing to then under-delivering when the season kicks off – have we somehow forgotten what it means to support Bradford City?
For all the reasons to do so, sacking Adams is the victory of impatience over patience. If the club is not going to stick with a manager with Adams’s track record on paper (you might have heard him mention it!), then it isn’t going to stick with anyone. Which begs a more important, if harder to hear, question: what is our role as supporters in the alarming realisation that, since 20th May 2017, Bradford City have had 10 different managerial set ups?
Losing to Millwall, McCall was followed by Abbott, Grayson, Collins, Hopkin, Drury, Bowyer, McCall, Trueman and Sellers, Adams and now Trueman again. Half of those were caretaker positions, and some feature more than once, but with an average of six months in charge we are not giving anyone the chance to plan long-term.
Any manager coming in knows he has around 100 days to show improvement to earn our patience, and so will plan accordingly for short-term temporary fixes. When that doesn’t work, we get the February cannon out. Adopting this approach, the club has fallen from 5th in League One to 12th in League Two. I’m really not sure, as supporters, if we’ve yet gotten over that defeat at Wembley.
Returning to the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, our four non-caretaker managers in that time have had plenty to complain about too. Hopkin: “They said they wanted ‘one of their own’, but that I was dour and only had a half decent record in Scotland”. Bowyer: “Oh you were lucky! They said they wanted a professional, but that I was boring, and my football was boring, and they called me Gary Bore-Ya”. McCall: “They love me as ‘one of their own’ too, but said I was too emotional and only had a half decent record in Scotland. And I once bought them a toaster!”. Adams: “Luxury! They said they wanted a professional, with a proven track record at this level, but that I was boring, and my football was boring, and…”.
As the above illustrates, we have demonstrably tried every type of manager – involved and passionate former player who ‘gets the club’; detached and dour professional driven by results. We have tried every type of strategy – give the young players a chance; go for experienced older-heads at this level; go direct; no pass the ball, pass the ball. Aye, it’s all very passable!
We swing from one extreme to the other. A too-involved McCall must be followed by a more detached Adams. A detached Adams must be followed by an involved Flynn, Jones, or Carbone. Someone who ‘gets the club’. In February 2023, when that isn’t working either and Oldham (away) looms on the fixture list, we’ll be loudly demanding a more detached, professional approach.
So, as we now search for our eleventh managerial set up in five years, what is it we supporters of Bradford City actually want?
Ask most of us and I bet you a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier that you’ll get the same answer: we want success (of course), and not to tolerate mediocrity (I mean, obviously), but if we’re honest with ourselves what we really want is a team we can identify with. Give us entertaining, attacking, front-foot football in the upper tier of League Two, rather than dour, boring, grind-the-opposition-down sideways ball in the bottom tier of League One.
Across the generations of City supporters, the teams we have loved – truly loved – have all shared similar characteristics: hard defenders, thunderous midfielders, skilful strikers alongside big target men, and wingers, wingers, wingers… I’d get up out of a shoebox at ten o’clock in the morning, half an hour before I went to bed and work twenty-nine hours a day down t’mill to watch a team like that again! But try telling that to young people today… and they won’t believe you.
Of all the stats he repeat-quoted at BBC Radio Leeds’ Jamie Raynor in his post-match robo-answers, Adams categorically failed to convince enough City supporters that his football was worth watching. We’re honest folk in Yorkshire. We don’t suffer fools. Tell us your XG, transition and rest defence stats… but if what we’re seeing is garbage, we’ll say so.
We don’t see the point of being top of the XG table if we’re losing games. We know that another way of reading the same data is that the team is rubbish at scoring. There’s no point saying the team concedes the fewest chances per game, if it only takes the opposition one chance to score. That just means we’re rubbish at defending. We know all this.
What type of manager do we actually want? And are we any longer prepared to be patient with them? James Pieslak’s brilliant article for WOAP this week captured the sadness many are feeling at a recent loss of connection with the club, as his young family decide going to Valley Parade on a Saturday is just too wearisome to bear any longer.
In the long-term, apathy is always more destructive than anger. Loyalty is being tested across the fan base – and yes, because the Adams era was such a difficult watch and Adams himself too detached and analytical for many – but supporting the club means having faith.
This is what did for Adams, I think. We don’t need the science. We want to believe. If an optimist is someone who believes the club is already in the best of all possible hands, and a pessimist is someone who dreads the optimist being right, then most of us reside in a third position: hope.
Whoever walks into the Valley Parade barely-warm seat next, maybe it’s time for our collective attitude as a fanbase to change. We have to give being patient a go. We have to rediscover that sense of hope. And that means seeing something tangible that we can genuinely believe in as a smart, fiercely loyal fan base that truly cares… not ‘a vision’ we can ‘buy into’ because consumer analytics suggest it will be optimal for season ticket sales every Spring.
Changing managers every February, doesn’t work. Giving managers a budget for January then firing them, doesn’t work. Throwing any type of manager into a football club seemingly hell bent on tearing down whichever strategy and identity they try to implement, doesn’t work.
As supporters, maybe it’s time for us to try something completely different… or heading to Valley Parade is going to keep on resembling cleaning Midland Road with our tongues and then eating half a handful of frozen gravel.
Patience being the central point to your article, Mark, could be interpreted as indifference or lacking in care. And thats where I have found myself this season after 60+ years of support. I have not stood when we have scored, applaud yes but not stood. Why beacause the football we have played just doesn’t seemed to have deserved that goal. (I might have stood for one or two) And then I could hear Adams talk absolute garbage after. This season I have been up and down more times than the proverbial but mostly down in reality at and after Valley Parade. This was absolutely no time to be patient and it annoyed me to read and hear people preach patience when the exMorecambe wizard served up tactics typical of an apology, forelock tugging to village teams and insisting breakaway football was the answer. We were warned at the beginning of the season weren’t we?
The patience you speak of should have been given to “football” managers not a failing self gratifying mr fixit manager. Glad he is no more but the next manager needs to be a football manager, one who can talk to the fans about his methods and be supported in his (or even her) approach. Patience has to be earned and a manager has to be respected. I am a Stuart fanand it saddens me the way he was treated with the lack of patience when it was needed. That was the time for patience, certainly not Feb 2022.
By the way, a clever construction of the Monty Python comparison
Great post Mark
The main issue we have at City is we’re are a unique and tightly bonded club. I think several of the past mangers have been way out their depth, they talk the talk but actually once in the seat it’s a completely different proposition. Derek Adams for all his records and boy does he talk a lot about those, completely missed our ethos from the second the ink was dry on his contract, both Gary Jones & Filipe Morais have criticized him on BBC Radio on several occasions this season so it’s not just the fans that had issues with him
Gray Jones has also questioned some of the players attitude towards games as well…..
I have to say I think we as fans yhave to agree with them, because we see the same, both players have lived and breathed it…!! When we look at our team now only Paudie would come close to being in the same mold….! I’ll be interested to see if he stays beyond the season if he gets an offer from the league above….!! So where does this leave us….
We need an experienced manager with Gary Jones number 2, Jamie Lawrence & Andy K to look after fitness etc. Move Truman back to the academy.
With the above said 1 man stands out a country mile, is available can pass on his knowledge to Gary Jones over 2 1/2 seasons then for Jones to take it on himself….. step forward Neil Warnock.
With the above we have a set plan which would bring the fans together. We have heart in the dressing room and a Manager able to pass on his skill set to a club legend & then mold a team with the same work ethic, build the team around Walker & no snowflakes….!!
Ryan if you do read this, please take note.
Nice idea. But I believe that Gary Jones has made it very clear on several occasions that he has no intention of going into management. Warnock as Director of Football is a good shout though.
Neil warnock is out of our league. Also director of football is not his cup of tea. The main man is.
I hope I’m wrong as he would be my dream manager right now
I totally agree with your sentiment Mark, we all need to show a lot more patience than we have done over our recent appointments, whoever gets the job. It must have been agonising for Sparks during the last few weeks of Adams tenure, but I was surprised at the timing of his decision. Does he really think that the play offs are a realistic target? I think that ship left the harbour week’s ago. More worryingly has he reacted to fans pressure? If that’s the case then what chance have we realistically got of achieving the continuity that we all crave. By sacking his own appointment so early, he is effectively saying I will stick with you, but only if your results match the high expectations of our fan base. I hope that there is more, but that is for Sparks to say so we may never know. “The club wishes to thank (insert the managers name) for his efforts and hard work but we have decided to part company “ blah de blah de blah. That appears to be all we get.
I accept that we haven’t got a pot to piss in, others don’t. I am amazed at some of the names being banded about. Sacking Adams and replacing him with Chris Hughton! Well who wouldn’t? Accepting where we were in the football pyramid, Adams appointment last summer made a great deal of sense, given his reputation for achieving success on a limited budget. I must admit I thought it was a good choice, Sparks had a plan, it was an appointment made with his head rather than his heart, but in the end that came back to bite him. Dour and unattractive football and poor results just don’t mix, it is a volatile mixture. And despite best intentions Sparks proved that he is no different to the majority of us. There is no patience in modern football, fans around me got on Stuart’s back way too prematurely, I moved seats one year just to get away from the moaners, it did me no good as they far out number the more realistically minded. So if the majority of us can’t cut a club legend like McCall some slack, then what hope did the charisma devoid Adams and his dour brand of football ever have? If Sparks has learnt one thing from this disaster then I hope it is this, his next permanent appointment needs to be done by using his head and his heart. Football is part of the entertainment industry and we want to be entertained. Whoever gets the job, let’s hope he also gets the time, and it’s important that we all realise that it’s us that control this variable. Managers get sacked by the CEO, but fans decide on the timing. By sacking Adams, Sparks is admitting he got it wrong, let us give him and his next manager the time that we all know he needs.
I think that Gary Jones is a non starter.
I believe he is happy in the job he has which is in a caring role and his work pattern fits around personal circumstances.
So whilst I personally would welcome him back in some capacity I dont believe that it is likely to happen.
In fact I often wonder about some supporters and their idea that former City managers or players just sit around waiting for City to ring them.
Paul Jewells name is often trundled out. A, He has a job the last time I heard and B from people i know who do know him, he has no appetite to work for Bradford City. He has an attitude of “That was then”.
Its unfair to keep calling for these past players and managers to suddenly down tools wherever they are and immediately take up the Bradford City mantra. They could give everything up and be out of a job at City within weeks or months. We all have bills to pay
At last the Penney has dropped.we need to give managers the time of the contract to get things right. Then look how far we’ve got if that’s acceptable we go again.Stop being boo boys,and back the manager. We can’t go on like this every year.This year is the last year I will buy a season ticket,I didnt like how Mr Adam’s was treated so I’ve got of the merry go round for the last time.I wish Bradford City all the best for the future,and hope the next manager gets a fair crack of the whip.
I’m all for patience me and giving the right man time. I just thought Adams was the wrong man to give time to for many reasons.
Personally I don’t expect instant success, i very rarely call for a manager to be sacked. I’ve always thought stability gives you success with the right people involved and that it’s impossible to build a great team over night unless you fall extremely lucky.
I think when the club/Sparks feel that they’ve got the right man in charge then they are going to need to stick with him, even if it does mean a percentage of supporters not renewing the tickets, they’ve got to realise that everyone as got different opinions on football so they will never please the whole fan base, it’s probably impossible to do that.
Maybe with Adams the club just felt that the percentage of fans that would not renew would be too large to take that gamble and rupp wasn’t willing to subsidize the club to such a large extent next season.
Enjoyed the article Mark. An amusing angle with some serious points amongst the smiles.
Persevering with a structure does require patience. But when that perseverance just enhances division and negativity, a change of some kind has to be made .
We saw and heard no prospect of a change IN the manager so we had to face the prospect of a change OF the manager.
To broaden your reference somewhat Mark, we need someone with more life than a Dead Parrot .I’m not sure who it will be but if the Big Foot of Steve Evans ever steps into our Manager’s Office then my patience is done. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition !
Totally agree there Ron – Evans is a non-starter for me and I’m afraid Mark Trueman too after a brief caretaker role only. I might be reading too much into the T&A stories this week but they smell of buttering us up for a second run for MT and that’s not going to get me excited even with a good start like last time. He says he’s learnt a lot since then but learning from DA really worries me as don’t they favour the same ideas, footballing principles and team formations? That won’t do the trick for a fanbase so cheesed off right now. As others have said – I’m not sure we’re in buyers market after our recent succession of sacked managers i.e. City are likely not the catch we’d like to think we are these days!
Unfortunately for Manager continuity Rupp bought a fan base.
That’s all he purchased.
That’s the only asset.
The bcafc brand is the history and Valley Parade but the only tangible value is the fans.
Rightly or wrongly we the fans probably have as much influence as a fan owned club.
We always say this BUT the next appointment is seriously critical on all fronts.
Also the price of our season tickets and not owning the ground adds even more weight to the power of the fans. Because of them two issues it probably hits the club a little bit harder than some others if fans don’t renew in numbers. We need to sell a fair few just to pay Gibb his rent.
Lower season ticket sales also make the club less attractive to sponsors. Your paying for your brand to be seen by as many people as possible, the lower the crowds then the less eyes to see.
Finally it’s probably the worst time in years to lose money on season ticket sales, inflation and rising bills will affect the club just as much as everyone else. I bet them floodlights cost a fair bit to run for s start.
Who would you like to see?
My Top 3 choices would be
1) Warnock, but we are very unlikely to get him, with his age would be short term but think hes got the passion, the contacts and the experience to succeed.
2) McCann again not sure that he would drop to this divison, but just seems a solid candidate with Promotion experience.
3) Wild, Maybe lacks the league experience of the other two but looks to be doing a great job at Halifax. do feel like its a slightly riskier appointment because he hasnt won a promotion yet. But also think the rewards could be greater if it goes right because we could end up having one of the best up and coming managers in the country if it worked.
I’m not in any way trying to say I told you so. Just that I wouldn’t have sacked bowyer. McCall (Pt.3) I think he was the master of his own downfall and had to go. We were too close to the relegation zone. Adams I didn’t want him to go but again he talked himself into the sack. His approach with the media, fans and club meant without results and league position, he had nothing. We can all put up with a colder character if we’re winning and in the promotion slots.
As for where next. Well I said this last season I don’t envy sparks. It’s so tough to get it right. Because for us “right” means guaranteed promotion and let’s all
Start to be honest. It seems no one can guarantee that so maybe you have to take that target openly off the table and replace it with “progress” and I’m sure sparks could use his marketing mastery to define progress is a suitably ambiguous way to keep fans on board.
Whichever way we go I hope 🤞🏼 it works out (obviously) and I think whether we like it or not a club like ours is better with a manager / coaching team with links to the club because we will always forgive them as long as they’re giving it a go ( did I just make a case for McCall part 4!? 🤣)
Seriously getting the “right” manager at a club like ours probably does mean someone with links somehow. Even though that hasn’t always worked out for us in the recent past.
Good luck Ryan
Loved the article – really made me smile.
I hear a lot of people singing the praises of the ‘smaller’ clubs in the division like Harrogate and FGR and the stability they have enjoyed over a number of years whilst bemoaning our situation. They often use phrases like ‘poisoned challis’ and ‘who in their right mind would come here’ when talking about City.
And yes, FDR, Harrogate, Morecambe and Fleetwood have performed brilliantly but we have to remember they are operating at the very limit of their potential. I don’t want to sound patronizing but for them this level is a little like City playing in the Premiership. Getting to the next level for them would be near impossible and possibly disastrous – just look at Yeovil.
I don’t want to get into the ‘big club’ Vs ‘tin pot’ club argument – its not relevant. There are only two types of club – successful ones and not so successful ones – and at the moment we are the latter but what we do have is potential.
To unlock that potential we need a manager with imagination. Someone who is brave enough to ask the ‘what if’ question. ‘What if’ we could get this place bouncing again, ‘what if’ we can awaken this football. What would that look like, how far could that take me?
Parky literally asked that question, and got the answer.
So, OK, things are not great now. I realize City is not the plumb job for many managers out there – and we do have to be realistic. But lets not do ourselves down either. There’s potential within VP, we’ve seen it relatively recently. We just need someone brave enough to unlock it.
It’s a difficult call, I think an earlier comment captured it, we need a decision based on head and heart. The club has such depth related to its history, we have to hire someone who can relate to that. However in a stats dominated world we also need someone with a sound track record. Sparks comes across to me as a CEO who is still learning the role, he is fortunate that Rupp is allowing him the space to learn, but eventually he needs to produce a successful team that matches the expectations of the crowd. I accept the notion of a proven manager and apprentice as a viable option but I would also suggest Sparks needs to use his network to acquire a mentor, at least for the next season and half.
Let’s be honest, the managerial merry go round is usually a case of a previously failed manager, filling the shoes of a failed manager. We just seem to be very good at hastening the process.
At our level, if a club unearths a successful one, he’ll get poached and then the merry go round of failures re-commences.
For that reason, I don’t have any sense of anticipation at the next appointment. Life was ever thus and we’re a classic example if it.
Thanks for the light hearted article it was a good read and very true!
Just to carry on this theme, it’s a bit worrying to me that now that Adams has gone, lots of the T&A articles and fan forums seem to be whipping up the “who’s next” chat, as though the club will definitely be appointing a messiah and it’ll bring instant success.
Whoever the next manager is, let’s not overhype this that he’s going to be a messiah! Otherwise we’re just repeating the mistakes of high-expectancy/entitlement of the last few years!
Trueman last season took us on the best run the club has been on in years, in touching distance of the playoffs. Inevitably it ran out of steam as the players had been flogged and playing for their livelihoods avoiding relegation!
To me the players seemed happier and more productive when Trueman was boss, so I’ll be interested to see the difference in these next few games and we can get a sense of whether the fans frustration with Adams was shared by the players. That should be a good guide as to what type of character is the right fit to be the next permanent manager.
I certainly think we have to go down the path of appointing a manager who tries to play good football, because I think deep down the club has always had a reputation for this, but at the same time appreciate this is League 2 and we are not going to play like Man City every week.
Perhaps therefore this is the reason why pragmatic managers seem to normally struggle here, like an Adams or a Taylor, but also surprisingly those with experience, as I’m going back to the time of even a Lennie Lawrence.
By my calculations, of the 5 promotions we’ve had in the last 40 years, 4 of them have been in their 1st managerial jobs; McFarland, Cherry, Kamara and Jewell, so it would suggest the opposite maybe applies.
I know it would be a gamble, but given our history and everything else seems to be failing, this might be the route to go down, and I think what you see with a lot of young coaches these days, is their style of football is a lot more progressive than their counterparts from 10/15 years ago.
If we do go down that route, then the CEO and owner have to be strong and remain committed to this plan, resisting the calls from those calling for the manager to be sacked like they do every season, if results are not going exactly according to plan.
This has been my line of thinking since Adams was sacked, Rob, so just you and me then?!
The periods under those managers was probably the best I have witnessed in my 60 years as a supporter if you also add Terry Dolan to those names. We’ve been down the experienced route with impressive CVs and it just isn’t working. So maybe now is the time to think outside the box and appoint a top level player coming towards the end of his career who has been doing his badges towards management but would be able to take on the role of player/coach working with an old head like Warnock initially?
How about James Milner who is taking his badges and whose Liverpool contract is not likely to be renewed but wants to keep on playing. Maybe he wouldn’t be interested but there again as a Leeds lad he just might be! If we never ask the question then we’ll never know the answer.
Great pro Milner, but last I heard he was going to be offered another deal, although you’d think he has all attributes to be a good manager one day.
I think first and foremost we need someone who tries to play good football, wherever that might be someone who has coaching experience, but has never managed before, then maybe.
Great piece- I love that sketch & have had the great joy of performing it in a charity cabaret night (done later by Python, it was actually written by Tim Brook-Taylor).
I think this is a very shrewd & insightful bit of thinking, I agree with 98% of it. I DO think we need to keep on & develop the sport science- physical performance of each player in a match, personal diet/ physical development plans (although that must be mostly smoke & mirrors given that we never look the fittest bunch on the pitch). I do agree though that xgoals stats don’t tell the real story when the over-riding stat is mid table mediocrity.
It really would be interesting to hear what all of them ex-managers would honestly have to say to each other about City, the players, staff, fans and club over a few pints.
Great article Mark. I was determined to be patient with Adams appointment back in the spring, but I had my doubts even then, although I would have been more than happy to have been proved wrong. When Stuart McCall was our manager, it genuinely ruined his weekend if we lost. When Adams was our manager, I think he just convinced himself we had won, & not lost after all. No passion for Bradford City, no empathy with the supporters, no idea how to play attractive football, & actually win football matches. It’s simple, give us supporters hope, & we’ll be more than patient.
By the way, the Halifax Town manager, Chris Wild would be an excellent choice.
Up the Bantams!
Is Chris Wild your ideal clone of Pete Wild and Chris Wilder? Why don’t we push the boat out and try for Pep Klopp instead!
Someone earlier mentioned that we need to use some “Marketing Maestro” skills. Well I think Marketing is all about giving the customer what they want and by doing so, make a decent return (financial or otherwise).
It seems to me that what this customer (i.e. Bradford supporters ) wants is to watch an attractive style of play from a team that tries its hardest. Not a big ask you might think. Clubs do get promoted from this division playing attractive football and maintain that focus to take themselves to an even higher level; Brighton and Brentford are great examples, but it never happens overnight.
I don’t want this endless spiral of manager after manager of chasing a short term goal to get us out of League 2. I want an attractive style of play from a team that tries its hardest. I also want the club to take a longer term view to achieve it and accept that to get where we want to be, may take a while. The supporters need to do the same.
Recruitment of the next Manager should be guided by this longer term view; not a constant stab at seeing if the latest “success story manager” can get us to the next stage as quickly as possible.
This will not be easy, but a “Marketing Maestro” would trust in their judgement to put something longer term in place and if they were not sure of or did not have the experience in the speciality of recruiting good managers who could deliver the brand of football the customers want, then they should take the advice of a football specialist who could help them. There are plenty about.
As CEO, Ryan took the decision to appoint the last three or so managers and so must therefore accept the responsibility for where we find ourselves. If we are to back him to get it right next time, then I think he needs to accept and demonstrate that he will turn to specialist football help at a very crucial time in the clubs history to ensure we get a chance to do something for the longer term and appoint the right manager to develop an attractive team. I would still back him, but my club is hurting and sick right now and it needs more than a sticking plaster to put it right; it needs some long term care and development to get the patient fit and strong again, and then prosper.
Like the Four Yorkshiremen would say “We’ve had it tough!”
Oh dear, and there was me forgetting my own mantra for “Marketing maestro”… a call to action. i.e. what do you want the audience to do as a result of your marketing communication?
Well, I take it as read that Ryan reads these posts on WOAP (or if he doesn’t, someone who does can get a message to him and ask, politely, if he would like to respond).
He can respond either here or anywhere else that his customers (i.e. City supporters) are likely to see his response.
That way , the whole thing is transparent and constructive and collaborative and keeping communication channels open with the supporters; either he can share that the idea to consult a football specialist is a good one, or give reasons why it isn’t. I am sure most City fans would be interested in Ryan’s views on this conundrum.
After all, to quote the Four Yorkshiremen; “We’ve had it tough” and we want things to improve.