The misery continues as Bradford City slump to another dismal defeat

Oldham Athletic 2
Hope 19, Keillor-Dunn 24
Bradford City 0

By Adam Raj

I’m slowly running out of ways to describe this Bradford City side. Whenever you think they’ve hit rock bottom, the next game always manages to be somehow worse.

I didn’t think I’d see many more feeble attempts at trying to play football as in last week’s dismal defeat to Exeter, but today managed to top it. And for that, I suppose I have to hand out some credit. It’s quite the achievement to be able to display consistently bad performances, one after the other, with huge deficiencies in effort, commitment and ability. 

Even with the departure of Derek Adams in midweek, this performance was very much in the Adams mould of defeat. Perhaps it’s unfair to expect someone who has spent the last eight months shadowing and supporting Adams to be able to produce a side deviating from the Scot’s principles. 

Mark Trueman still picked the same formation, same underperforming players and therefore the performance and result had an air of inevitability about it.

Of course, Trueman’s hands are tied somewhat with regards to team selection due to not only the general quality of the squad, but also the ever growing injury list. Reece Staunton, given his first taste of league action this season, is the latest to be laid up in the physio room with what looked like yet another hamstring injury. 

Away from matters on the pitch, City’s injury record this season has been appalling. Whilst Lee Angol’s injury is not remotely a surprise given his history, others such as Charles Vernam and Abo Eisa have no such history, suggesting the problem is City’s rather than the players. It’s another area, on a long list of areas, that require substantial improvement and expertise.

The remnants of storm Eunice were still being felt, with the journey over the Pennines being made particularly difficult for the travelling Bantams, many of whom arrived after kick-off due to the disruption caused by the snow. Right now, I think we all wish we hadn’t have bothered. The effort taken to get to Boundary Park was more than the City side displayed all afternoon on the pitch.

The early, positive atmosphere in the away end slowly dissipated with every passing minute after three o’clock. A poor start to the game predictably led to the hosts taking the lead. Nicky Adams’ in-swinging corner was met by Hallam Hope whose glancing header at the near post found the back of the net. It was hard to tell whose poor marking was responsible but Andy Cook and Yann Songo’o had quite a visible argument whilst the hosts wheeled off celebrating.

And it was to be Cook’s error that led to the second of the afternoon. Another Adams set piece caused panic as Cook’s wayward header flew across his own goal and landed at the head of Davis Keillor-Dunn who had an easy tap in at the back post. It was the sort of goal that wouldn’t look out of place in the park on a Sunday morning.

But they’re the exact sort of soft goals that we’ve been accustomed to seeing this City side ship. Easy goals, with little craft required to open the Bantams up, often with a helping hand from the men in claret and amber for good measure.

As is the norm these days, City offered next to nothing from an attacking perspective. There was visible frustration from Cook whose pain of seeing long balls booted at his head was felt in the stands. Luke Hendrie and Alex Gilliead also had a verbal slanging match as the pair conspired to lose possession one too many times. 

Just to compound matters on a miserable afternoon, Paudie O’Connor’s off the ball tangle with Hope resulted in a straight red card for the City skipper. Given that the Bantams’ back line is leaking goals as it is, it’s a particularly unwelcome time to have your best defender banned for three games. The prospect of Songo’o, who continues to disappoint, as well as Fiacre Kelleher as the centre half options for Tuesday night’s visit of Harrogate Town is not particularly pleasant.

City did think they had fashioned a lifeline in the dying stages, as substitute Tom Elliott headed home Elliot Watt’s corner, only for the referee to rule it out for a foul on keeper Daniel Rodgers after consultation with the linesman. It did look a rather soft decision but a consolation goal would only have flattered City in terms of the score line. City had been well beaten.

The second half switch to 4-4-2 that many had called for had little impact. The makeup of the striking department leaves you scratching your head in finding an appropriate partnership upfront for starters. And that’s before you look at the wide options. Vernam, Angol, Eisa as well as Jamie Walker and Dion Pereira are all unavailable leaving only Gilliead and Nathan Delfouneso as options to fill those roles, with the latter producing a worryingly disinterested performance.

4-4-2 may be the choice of a new manager with a better quality of squad, but I struggle to see that formation being appropriate for this group of misfits.

News that Steve Evans was in attendance at Boundary Park this afternoon isn’t exactly promising news either. He may think that he’s capable of having City finish inside the top seven, but the reality is that this squad is light years away from what is required. 

Trueman and Ryan Sparks were quick to state that this season wasn’t over. They’re right in that regard, we’re only 12 points clear of the drop zone and all but one of the sides below us have at least one game in hand.

But they also claimed that this City squad was capable of promotion. I’d say their beliefs are delusional. 

Paul Jewell’s assessment of the squad was more accurate – “they’ve bought too many who are at the wrong end of their career”. Too many players who are the wrong side of 30 and who have repeatedly failed at their previous clubs. Is it any wonder that they continue to and collectively fail here?

If only promotion and league titles were won with sound bites and empty promises. We’d have been up by Christmas.

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36 replies

  1. Playing only one striker cost Trueman his job first time round. Adams used the same system and garnered even fewer points per match. He was sacked. It defies belief that Trueman given a second opportunity would do exactly the same – but not at all surprising the result would be identical.

    • Thank you MD.
      You hit nail on the head. It cost me a small fortune for me to be at match today and I could not believe the set up. esp. for a team that wants to get promoted!
      Trueman making same mistakes as last time and then wonders why he doesn’t get the job!
      No Sparks – do not give him the job.

  2. I said it on Tuesday and Ill say it again, City are a shambles run by clowns.
    And we are now in self-destruct – slag the players off, sack the manager, sack the next manager, sack the owner. It’s so sad. We haven’t seemingly got anyone who understands football or even sport for that matter.
    We appoint a bloke who has twice been promoted and sack him. He got promoted twice, both times in his second season. But of course he doesn’t get a second season with City.
    Felipe Morais said towards the end of today’s game a few notable things that were pertinent –
    1. “City haven’t got anyone who can play wide” – this is the bloke who has publically criticised them for not playing with width but now maybe it has dawned on him that the reason is that they’re all injured and that sacking the manager hasn’t changed that.
    2. “I thought it would be different today” – why it would be different? – we sacked our manager and appointed a youth coach. Noone can take away from T&S what they did last year but we were a shambles on the pitch when they took over. This year, it’s different – we are a shambles off it. Adams wasn’t doing great but we were hindered by injuries. What we never do is show any patience. McCall (Mk2) first bad run was out, Bowyer bad few results – out, T&S form dipped – out, Adams bad run – out. Give someone a chance! And that goes for the supporters too – turning on Trueman today, turning on potential new managers too. But we show patience with Sparks – who let’s face it, has got virtually everything he’s done football-wise wrong. Well that’s not true is it, because they might have been correct decisions if he’d given them time to be.
    3. “You get what you deserve in football” – that’s definitely true, we are getting exactly what we deserve. City fans genuinely believed that today would be different because they’d hounded the manager out.
    What we need is someone in charge of the football decisions at this club who has at least a semblance of an idea what he’s doing.
    And finally for those saying RuppOut – what’s your alternative?

    • The club is now hostage to those who shout loudest at the game and on social media. It is depressing and frankly pathetic. No doubt Sparks and Rupp will be next to find themselves in the cross hairs.
      If there had been a decent appointment in hand then maybe ripping up the strategy again might have made some sense. As it is we are digging around once more desperately in the lucky dip with our reputation shredded. Collectively as a club and fan base we will get what we deserve. Right now I would not bet on a positive outcome

      • Are you seriously suggesting that we are in this situation because fans express opinions on social media and at the ground?
        So it’s not Rupp taking money out of the club for nothing? (Before you retort, he took the McBurnie money to recoup his outlay to cover Rahic’s spending spree). It’s not Rupp appointing, on Rhodes’ recommendation, a social media officer as CEO? Its not Rupp expecting that inexperienced social media officer to somehow have the ability to run an entire football club on his own? It’s not Rupp overseeing a worse league finish every year since 2017? It’s not consistently doing things on the cheap? It’s not Sparks setting out a recruitment strategy 12 months ago then ditching it for Adams in the summer then sacking Adams 7 months later? It’s not Sparks saying he won’t tolerate mediocrity then delivering exactly that? It’s not Sparks giving McCall a contract extension, then sacking him, then appointing Trueman and Sellars, then sacking them, then giving Adams a 3 year deal, then sacking him? It’s not signing 30 something non-scoring strikers?
        It’s all the fans fault?

      • Read the post again the club and fan base COLLECTIVELY will get what it deserves.

      • As a collective we get what we deserve? How does that work exactly? Nearly 2,000 loyal fans turned up yesterday to watch a team take the field with no idea what they are doing? The least we deserve is a club with a strategy that allows us not to be outplayed by the second worst team in the football league. And guess what? It wasn’t the fans who picked the side coached the side, brought the players to the club. Nor did they fitness train them or put plans and strategies in place to ensure the lads going on to the pitch at 3pm had a half decent chance of winning.
        All those things boil down to the owner, CEO, manager, scouts, fitness coaches etc. It isn’t the fans that aren’t doing their job, they turn up in numbers. It’s Time the ones responsible accepted as a collective they’ve been failing. Maybe then we can move forward and the fans can begin to show some trust.

    • Leon – I think that’s more or less what I did say! The football club is being run by non footballers. We have 3 people of importance – owner, ceo, manager – do you think that the fact there is ZERO hours of professional football experience between them contributes to the utter mess we are in? Is there another club with no pro football experience in its ranks?

    • Leon – the McBurnie money didn’t repay the original loan by Rupp. It payed the additional loan of £0.2 million. See Dewhirst’s article on here from a year ago. Rupp taking 300k out is only to repay his £1.8 million interest free loan back. So as much as fans want to dig at him for that, he’s doing nothing wrong.
      I personally would like Rupp to sell but only to the right person. I am sure Rupp is wanting to sell, but he’s not going to sell to crooks and con-men (hence the rejection of the NFT lot).

  3. The club is in a complete mess ; it all started when the club was sold to people who simply didn’t understand football. The club is crying out for new owners who understand the club and know how to run the club .From lack of experience at the top to the recruitment of players, the training methods, and what’s going on with all the injuries .The supporters have had enough ;we really do need to see someone come in who knows the club who will be backed with a director of football and a budget to match which the supporters can believe in no more false promises

  4. I was expecting a reaction today from our players.
    It seems we did not get one and Paudie showed his Achilles heel.and why he is playing at our level.
    He let down the club, team, fans and himself with a costly sending off and suspension.
    Results are now crucial as we look over our shoulders rather than hoping to sneak into the play offs.
    With Steve Evan’s being there a further distraction is in the mix.
    One would assume he was either invited or if he had attended out of his own choice, he was making a point.
    No, please no!
    Dont even think about it City.
    We now face several cup finals until the end of the season.
    Defeats in the next few games which include Hartlepool and Harrogate would crank up the pressure.
    Mid table mediocrity.
    Who said that anything other than promotion would be unacceptable and mediocrity had at Valley Parade?

  5. It is forever surprising that football managers don’t read fan forums and learn that 4-4-2 is the answer to every side’s problems. Why do they continue to fail to learn from such footballing experts?

  6. Trueman clearly doesn’t want the job playing the exact same formation and practicslly the same team that wasn’t enforced. He is a product of the ‘over thinkers’ ‘analysts’ in the game today. We actaully played better with 1o men when we went long. To play a systrem regardless of the players ability or strengths to play it is folly. Taylor did this, Adams did this and Trueman does this.
    Now to the players. I’d be like Paudie getting sent off when i have to watch a 6 foot Gillead getting gently bumped of the ball, Delfounso pretending to run back, and an unfit andy cook blowing again after 10 minutes, getting put through with a good pass only to be to unfit to get to it. I’d be shaking Suttons hand and perhaps Watt (2nd half) for getting stuck in. I appreciate in Cook’s case he has a good goal ratio and does not get the service and back up he needs but from starting the season in better shape imo he now looks unfit.
    We have no width due to poor recruitment. Yep Vernam is injured but who else have we got for out wide. We have 6 forwards mostly at the age of 30. Yet, we do not play to any of their strengths. We actually looked more dangerous with 10 players and going direct with Elliot on the pitch than before. There is no identity on the pitch other than negativity.. And despite the seemingly defensive nature on here this starts from Rupp and Ryan. Untill football people run the club who know what they are doing, and even on a more limited budget, then we can progress. otherwise the tactic appears to be LUCK. And for all Ryans love for Trueman (which tbf he has for everyone he has sacked in just over one year), it was the same old mistakes today and Adams may have well been there. In fact the first half was worse than Adams. And the least surprising thing is that he did exactly what most of us expected him to do.

  7. Trueman had a free hit today but continued the same cautious approach that he showed when we had an outside playoff chance last year,
    What was the point?
    Another one trick pony.
    Another woeful midfield 5 with the exception of Sutton who at least shows some energy.
    Our fitness has been abysmal all season.
    S’Songo can hardly walk never mind run and barely gets by despite his big heart.
    Callum Cooke has become a pale unfit shadow of the footballer he once was.
    Andy Cook has gone back to his career type carrying too much weight as he struggles wrestling against back 4’s on his own.
    And don’t get me started on hamstrings!
    I enjoyed the last few minutes where we pumped the ball up to Elliott and we actually looked like scoring. Then I realised how little I’ve enjoyed watching us all season. Even the peak of the season Stevenage at home was a one half performance.
    Seriously worried about the future of our club. Next season we’ll have two more highly funded NL teams with passionate involved owners.
    I’d settle for mediocrity at the moment Mr. Sparks. We’re a long way off that!

  8. There is a saying you get what you wish for. Surely Sparks had a strategy for replacing Adams with someone who knew about football. I thought Trueman was wrong for Adams. Yet he was appointed as caretaker manager. We are in a terrible state. I cannot see another win. I am fed up of the T and A parading stories of how we are going to go the extra mile. We are confident etc. It’s all bullsh*t. If you have nothing to say don’t say it. January was supposed to be a transformation in our fortunes. So far it’s been a total load of crap. Walker apart, we have recruited badly. We have lost a decent defender in Canavan. We have lost O’Connor for 3 games. Staunton has been added to our hamstring virus. It just couldn’t get any worse. Surely, Sparks should have Had a replacement in mind when he decided Adams should go. If he didn’t he should have held off from sacking him. Trueman is not a suitable option. We are spiraling into an abyss of self destruction. We will we find ourselves playing against Scunthorpe to stay up. Things are that bad. P Sparks pease tell us what you intend to do with this club. I suspect Evans will be appointed until the end of the season. It may work. If there is an ar*e to kick he will kick it. Sparks do something but do it now.

  9. Everyone can see (apart from a succession of present and recent managers) that we need to go 2 up front. It is no coincidence that when we have twice gone down to 10 men (Sutton United and Oldham yesterday), we have looked more threatening when we have had no choice to bypass our misfiring midfield (Levi Sutton apart), and go more direct. For goodness sake we signed a 6’4” target man in Elliot and he sits on the bench whilst Andy Cook becomes more isolated and frustrated every match. Without the quality of Vernam and Walker we have little option at the moment but to be direct with 2 up front. The only way I can see us playing with any width until Vernam is fit is to play with wing backs. Hendrie has looked decent apart from yesterday when he had an ineffective Gilliead in front of him and he can cross with both feet. Either Ridehalgh (When fit) or Foulds when not ill could play left wing back. Select your own back 3 and midfield 3 from the best available! It cost Trueman his job previously when he played negative tactics with the play offs beckoning. He says he has learned his lessons from that experience. Yesterday’s tactics didn’t indicate he had.

  10. I genuinely fear for our Football League status if Stefan Rupp continues to run this club his way for another 5 seasons.
    Every promise he has made, he has broken. I don’t trust him to run a bath, let alone a once-professionally run, if imperfect, football club.
    I used to be angry, now I’m mainly apathetic about it.
    I used to make a 400-mile round trip on public transport to attend VP.
    Now I can barely muster the mental strength to make a 4-mile round trip.
    Thanks Stefan. Thanks Edin. Thanks Mark and Julian for doing due diligence and only selling to people who could take us forward……

    • I have a horrible feeling Hugh that it will not be 5 years. There is so much wrong at our club it’s untrue. Our only hope is to oust Stefan Rupp like Charlton fans did with Roland Duchaelet etc, force him to sell at a lower, more realistic price than he’s believed to be wanting. We have no infrastructure like a lot of other clubs behind the scenes, such as a board where wise council prevents bad decisions being made or repeated. Rupp has left it all on Ryan Sparkes, and he’s not coping to put it kindly. I’m sure he has good intentions, but he’s out of his depth at this moment in time. The complete lack of proper investment on and off the pitch is killing us, Jewell, Morais, Jones have all been vocal in this respect over the last few weeks and they are absolutely correct. I believe most of the physios have a Rugby League background and not football, hence we are seeing lots of soft tissue injuries with poor recovery times etc, possibly not being treated as well as with someone with a football bias would. Put Adams reported style of fitness training in the mix and it’s been a catastrophic mistake. It’s things like this that make a difference. Proper investment in medical staff, scouting, fitness, nutrition, coaching, has been lacking for years, and the sort of thing that well run club would appoint director of football for. I believe we could be looking over our shoulders before the season is out.

      • Hi James. I wish I could disagree with you!
        What worries me is pretty much everyone, fans, ex players, ex managers, journalists can all see this lack of professionalism and structure yet we never hear what the short, medium and long term plans are from the men who should have a plan.
        If at the start of the season Sparks and Adams had said ” we’d like to get promoted, but we need a big clearout and restructure in summer ’22, so please be patient, this is a 3-year project.” I and I think many fans would’ve accepted that. To promise promotion with a bang average squad mixed with yet more dire football was naive at best, a lie at worst. Our best CB and captain is a liability and he wouldn’t have got in ahead of Carl McHugh some seasons ago in L2. Our best CB and captain is not as good as our third choice CB from some seasons ago in L2. Our best CB and captain is no Carl McHugh – and he wasn’t amazing! – that’s why we’re likely going to finish bottom half of L2. Again.

  11. After reading the ever thoughtful twitter posts post match today I can only be expecting mass protests in which city fans grab the medias attention to tell them how awful rupp is.
    Be careful what you wish for – rupp has provided stability to a club who was in financial free fall, tetering on the edge of insolvency. Yes, he’s not providing huge funding the like of the premier league but why should he? He provided a big interest free loan to get city out of the complete and utter mess left by rahic back in 2018. Its alright saying sell up but to who? We don’t have any assets, so what investor is going to want to buy us. There’s only one kind who would take the punt on an asset less club, whos not a rich fan, the RAHIC kind. I would much prefer stability than have a crook!
    I am by no means suggesting Rupp is the ideal owner, not at all! I would much prefer an owners who puts in huge money. But I’d rather have an owner who doesn’t turn up rather than one who gets completely involved in the club by employing his own family to every role, sacking long-serving employees and telling the manager and legend of the club how to do his own role.
    I could not understand the fans today, not that I ever do. What did they expect to be different. The caretaker was the assistant who has the same philosophy as the previous manager with the exact same players playing the same formation. Not to forget that we were missing 4 of our best players, and not many teams in the efl can cope without 4 of their main players.
    As for the new manager, it’s alright fans slagging them off but they have no choice but to get behind them. If it’s Evans, then we’ll just have to get behind them.
    City need to commit to a manager…I would argue quite strongly that the last five years have proved that sacking managers every year doesn’t work. Please just stick with one.

  12. I’ve just learned that Evans walked away from Gillingham without a payoff. This is extremely rare in modern football. and would explain why he wants to get back in so quickly.

  13. In an ideal world the club would have a new owner, a situation that would suit Stefan Rupp as well as his critics. But in order for the club to get a new owner it means that someone has to step forward to pay the asking price. In turn the only person likely to do that is either (a) nuts; (b) dubiously wealthy; or (c) a combination of (a) and (b). To suggest that this would be the recipe for stability and success at VP is questionable to say the least but it’s got to the stage where certain individuals banging the same drum are convinced that anyone other than Stefan Rupp is preferable.
    Of course, Stefan Rupp could be persuaded to write off his investment although that is his prerogative to do so (and we have no right to tell him what to do with his family’s inheritance). He could also simply walk away and we could watch the unfolding drama as the club went bust.
    Seeking scapegoats for the ills of BCAFC has become fashionable on social media and hence Stefan Rupp and Ryan Sparks have come into the firing line. Unfortunately it overlooks the fact that the club has been under-invested for decades and that it never truly recovered from the six weeks of madness by Geoffrey Richmond.
    It overlooks the club’s modern history during which it has essentially been a lower division club struggling to get from one week to the next. It also conveniently overlooks the fact that Stefan Rupp has injected more of his own money than any other chairman / owner at Valley Parade.
    Likewise it overlooks that there isn’t a queue of would be investors snaking round the corner of Holywell Ash Lane. Messrs Rhodes and Lawn knew that they didn’t have the money to take the club forward but discovered for themselves the shortage of credible purchasers long before they finally sold out in 2016.
    Equally I suspect you would struggle to find someone willing to give up a decent salary to step into the firing line and thankless task as CEO at VP but in the meantime good luck to Ryan Sparks. What fun must it be to get rants and abuse texted to him by people with the best interests of the club at heart.
    For all the shouting and ranting there isn’t a magic solution even though some people would like to believe and have convinced themselves otherwise.

    • Bottom line is any club needs financial investment. We don’t have it & Won’t get it. A reason why missing that promotion in 2017 was disastrous for our prospects Dismantling that team was absolute madness and you reap why you sow. There can be no surprises as to where we are based on the investment we have had and the decisions that we’ve made as a club.

    • Bottom line is any club needs financial investment. We don’t have it & Won’t get it. A reason why missing that promotion in 2017 was disastrous for our prospects Dismantling that team was absolute madness and you reap why you sow. There can be no surprises as to where we are based on the investment we have had and the decisions that we’ve made as a club.

    • Some true comments, John. However, when you build up the fans hopes with pre-season hype, and then fail, miserably, to deliver, you reap what you sow.

      It’s not only the league where we’ve under delivered. Weren’t we knocked out of all the cups at the first stage?

      Right now, it’s difficult to defend anyone at VP, top to bottom.

      • If you go back to the start of the season and read the WOAP pages you will be reminded of the praise being heaped upon the manager and the club (ie I think we all genuinely believed that this was going to be a successful season and you can hardly claim that Ryan Sparks was being dismissed as out of touch or unrealistic when he made those comments. Injuries and the fact that it became so easy to predict our tactics soon ended that momentum but it wasn’t until the end of September that people began to have major doubts. Besides it wasn’t just Ryan Sparks talking about promotion but the manager himself. Was RS supposed to publicly contradict him???
        If you look back through the club’s history there have been plenty occasions when directors / owners have been criticised for failing to bankroll the team. In fact I can only think of two periods in its modern history when the club has been particularly active at signing players. The first between 1978-80 when Bob Martin gambled the proceeds of the new club lottery and then between 1998-00 when Geoffrey Richmond gambled to secure Premier League status (itself funded to a large extent by the Rhodes family). Both episodes ended in insolvency and ignominy. (NB The spending spree 1988-90 is another but this was funded by player sales.) In between there were not many seasons when the club could be said to pay among the highest wages in its division and yet arguably that is what can be said of the last five years. Whilst we have not had mega signings it certainly can’t be claimed that Stefan Rupp has starved the club of funds to recruit new players. The fact that we have failed to make the most of that funding is another matter.
        Given the constant churn at VP in the past five years a lot of people will be reticent to put their career on the line at VP – managers, coaching staff, scouts, prospective directors of football and players alike. It’s not helped either that BCAFC is not a glamorous club. Other factors, among them the training facilities and the location of the ground or just the Bradford factor have not exactly been in our favour. All of this may explain why the club has struggled to attract promising young players and why it has had more than its fair share of has-beens and mercenaries (although this didn’t start in the last five years – ie remember Richmond failing to perform his miracles with John McGinlay?). Maybe BCAFC struggles to attract the best coaches or fitness assistants for the same reasons.
        The other consequence of all this is that the club is in a weak negotiating position when it comes to attracting a new manager and I suspect that DA himself benefited from this situation. Adams probably also knew that he was in a strong position to get his own way in terms of how things were done. In fact he even alluded to his belief that we’d never get anyone better than him. This might explain how he was able to force his way with regards recruitment and backroom setup irrespective of what the club had wanted to put in place.
        The next manager will no doubt similarly dictate his terms and his way of doing things to once more leave us betting everything on him succeeding. He will know that the club cannot afford to sack him, that the club desperately needs stability and that he could expect job security for at least a couple of years. All of this has pretty fundamental implications for the manager’s relationship with his employer.
        Coming back to DA, a better man than RS would have struggled to overcome that basic imbalance of power in the relationship and I suspect that when the chips were down and DA was under pressure he was a pretty horrible guy to deal with. For all the blame being attributed to Ryan Sparks I think a lot of this had less to do with his football knowledge as the character of the manager himself. I genuinely doubt it was quite as black and white as some people would tell us.
        Ultimately we are reaping the cost of all the short termism after Phil Parkinson left and all the baggage, under-investment and lack of success of decades prior to that. In the past five years you can go back to each of the moments when a decision was made to appoint or dismiss a manager. In isolation you could probably justify each of those decisions at that moment in time and record plenty of loud voices agreeing with the outcome. Yet all it has done is dug us deeper into a hole.
        I don’t disagree with the suggestion that putting even more money into BCAFC would make a difference. I suspect a lot would be wasted but ultimately the club could reflate itself. But on the other hand we are going to be hard pressed to find a benefactor who has the money and the sympathies to subsidise BCAFC let alone to justify bankrolling us. As regards the attraction of BCAFC and Bradford, I don’t think it’s just the football club that struggles to attract outside investment… The telling fact is that BCAFC has consistently failed to attract a successful local businessman to invest money in the club. Bob Martin and Dave Simpson operated it on a shoestring. Jack Tordoff provided stability but it can’t be said that he poured a fortune into BCAFC. Heginbotham (Oldham) and Richmond (Leeds) were both outsiders but relied on other peoples’ money. Where Ken Morrison feared to tread it has been a foreigner (Stefan Rupp) who has invested the most money into the club. The acid test is how many fans would bet their pensions investing in either BCAFC specifically or Bradford generally. I’m not sufficiently familiar with the Bulls but neither am I aware of a local benefactor dripping a fortune into Odsal.
        I am not saying that Stefan Rupp or Ryan Sparks have not made mistakes but equally I don’t subscribe to the notion that everything they do is wrong or incompetent or that they have acted in bad faith. In the circumstances I genuinely doubt that many others could have done much better or had the patience to keep trying. Yes, I agree that a new owner is the optimal outcome but in all the time that I have supported BCAFC and from everything I know about the club’s history, I am not holding my breath that a white knight with a magic wand is going to come out of nowhere to rescue us. However I’ll guarantee that in common with every preceding regime at VP even if we did have a new owner, he – or indeed she – will eventually be vilified because of perceived failure to invest because it really could become a black hole.

    • A very good, well balanced post – which the impatient ’30 matches to improve us or you’re out’ brigade will of course disagree with.

  14. Maybe Evans until the end of the sesson wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Anything to fire up the crowd and playing staff. I doubt anyone else would take us on anyway at present. I wanted Adams to stay until the end of October. Now i just want the season to end..yet again.

    • Agreed. But we have a significant section of fans who, to me, live in some kind of fantasy world – where certain successful managers should either be given around 40 matches or not considered because of events that occured a decade ago.

      The alternative is of course a young up and coming manager – but they still moan about them after the prerequisite 30 matches if we’re not playing ‘entertaining’ football and then our weak management cave in.

      I despair. I’ve not felt this depressed about our club since some bright spark thought that Peter Jackson was the answer after the Taylor regime.

  15. Whilst the club vainly bangs on about the play-offs. I’ve just had a little look over my shoulder at what lies below us. Teams with games in hand over us, poor teams yet with fire in their bellies. Because of a clown interim manager that sticks with the tried and tested negative unproductive formation, Its well within our grasp to go on a losing run ( just like last season) and pick up nil pois. We’re very catchable, and dont expect that shower to play with the heart Oldham did. Whilst many fans are bleating with indignation at Evens etc … In a couple of weeks we’ll all start to look nervously over our shoulders.

  16. Getting rid of Adams because some fans didn’t like his football or his quite correct calling out of them, was only ever a good plan if we were immediately replacing him with someone better.

    Daft me, thought that Sparks must be talking to the likes of McCann, Lee Johnson or even Evans and so they’d be in charge now. How naive of me to think that Sparks had a plan when getting rid of a manager who had achieved promotion at every club he’d been at!!

    If Sparks or any fan thinks we can just forget about the rest of the season and a new manager could then lead us to promotion next season, they need to look at the promotion stats for the past three seasons, which reveals the following;-

    1) Evatt at Bolton was the only manager, to achieve promotion, who was not in place before the start of the season

    2) Out of the 11 clubs above us, all but one were employed before the start of this season. The only exception is Newport’s manager.

    Note that one win in five for Newport and a slow slide down the table (after a good start) shows that, yet again, new managers need at least 18 months to get promotion.

    Perhaps fans, forums etc to have a better understanding as to what is needed, as opposed to wanting rid of managers after half a season, without some kind of better plan.

    • Correction – Ben Edwards at Swindon was newly appointed for this season. So that’s just Newport and Swindon as the only teams to be making some kind progress who had new managers installed this season.

  17. Evans would be a step too far for most supporters I think. Certainly for me. Ryan Sparks espouses values which is a good thing and very welcome. Please do not appoint Evans Ryan, a manager with a long track record of being the antithesis of those values.
    I am hoping Mr Sparks seeks some expert football advice before the next appointment but if not
    has he considered the BPA Manager as an option? Bower has City DNA, likes to play attractive football, always punches above his weight and knows his own mind. THe fans would relate to him and he would be a good option for the longer term. But that is only my own personal view and I am not a football expert.
    I think Jewell and Jones spoke well this week and offered some decent free advice to the Club. And they are football experts.

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