By Jason McKeown
As Bradford City were slumping to yet another woeful defeat on Saturday, within the stands of Oldham’s Boundary Park lurked the distinctive presence of Steve Evans.
Last week, the 59-year-old Scot publicly declared his desire to become the next Bradford City manager, even going as far as to promise that the floundering Bantams would make the play offs this season under his charge. There is no indication that Evans’ attendance at the game was at the invitation of the club, but with bookies listing him as the favourite there appears to be a growing possibility that he could soon be in the hotseat.
Appointing Evans as the next Bradford City manager would be an incredibly huge gamble by Stefan Rupp and Ryan Sparks. Especially at a time when they’re both coming under increasing supporter pressure.
Choosing the next Bradford City manager should not be about bowing to supporter pressure, but you ignore what your fans think at your peril. Take a read of the bcafc hashtag on Twitter, the Facebook pages and message boards and you get a real sense of the fragmented mood that currently exists. Tensions and emotions are running high. Everyone has an opinion and perhaps finding compromises and resolutions is too much of a stretch right now. But further dividing supporters is not going to help.
You can find many City supporters right now advocating that City give Evans the job. That’s absolutely fine and I think we could all benefit from taking a step back and respecting each other’s opinions. However, what’s equally obvious is just how many fans are completely against the idea of letting Evans anywhere near the Valley Parade home dugout.
Some are talking of boycotting games if Evans takes the helm. That they won’t renew their season tickets next year. You can argue this is over the top and that no fan should be putting a gun to the club’s head. But you shouldn’t dismiss this depth of feeling. At some point in the coming weeks or months, Bradford City are going to put season tickets on sale. They’re going to ask us all to commit our hard-earned money and sign up for another season, on the back of a campaign that is proving to be a huge disappointment.
If you appoint Evans as manager, you risk losing a section of City supporters. If you appoint Evans and it doesn’t go well in terms of results, the competency of Rupp and Sparks will come under even fiercer criticism and the dip in season ticket uptake will be even more significant.
That, more than anything, is the downside of gambling on Evans. If it works and he makes an impact, you can probably just about give fans reason to believe in the future direction of the club. Even many fans who don’t like Evans would renew and suffer in silence (I would be one of those people). You are at risk of looking like you’ve sold your soul – which we’ll come onto – but if you get success, well, you can argue the ends justify the means.
But how likely is it that Evans can be a success? Not just because of his respective strengths and weaknesses, but because how likely is it that any manager who Bradford City appoint can be a success? His promise of getting City into the play offs is utterly meaningless. He cannot guarantee such results, and anyone wanting him as manager because of such a claim can’t have been paying much attention over the last few years.
The big lesson of Derek Adams’ tenure is that no manager is guaranteed to be a success, no matter their previous track record. You have to take into account the relatively high odds that the manager who comes in is going to fail. And for the most part, managers depart Valley Parade taking the blame for their own under-performance. It would be different with Evans. Knowing the backlash and the strong feelings of many, if Evans was to fail at Valley Parade the entire competency of those making decisions over who should be manager would be called into even more question. Credibility shot to pieces.
And with Evans, that would be for many reasons. You cannot pretend his controversies of the past haven’t happened. This excellent article on Two Hundred Percent outlines Evans’ criminal convictions at Boston United and is well worth a read. In summary, Evans and the Boston owner were found guilty of fraud and financial doping on various occasions. At one point Evans was banned from football for 19 months, and he only narrowly avoided a prison sentence. These actions were not just deemed illegal but considered to have given Boston an unfair advantage over other clubs.
The talented Ian King, who wrote that article in 2010, concluded, “Ultimately, whatever else Evans achieves in his career will be tarnished by his past and whichever club employs him will be tainted by his involvement with them.”
Of course, Evans’ controversies haven’t ended there, and have taken place much closer to home. After a visit to Valley Parade as Crawley Town manager in 2012, Evans was accused of exposing himself to a City female employee outside the changing rooms. A subsequent FA investigation found him guilty of a lesser charge of “using abusive words and insulting words and behaviour”. He was fined £3,000 and given a six-match stadium ban.
Evans guided Crawley to promotion from League Two that season (he left for Rotherham just before promotion was sealed, a development that saw a video emerge of the Crawley squad celebrating his departure). Back to back promotions for Crawley was impressive, but it came at a time of huge spending from the Red Devils that saw them spend £600k on transfer fees getting promoted out of the National League (at the time it was a higher spend than all 24 League Two clubs combined).
When you have a budget that completely outstrips your rivals, success is that much easier to attain. And it was a really huge financial advantage Crawley had over the National League and League Two during that period. For example, after they beat Championship Derby in the FA Cup, the then-Rams manager Nigel Clough revealed some of his players were on lower wages than their Crawley counterparts.
Evans moved onto Rotherham and again achieved back to back promotions, taking them from League Two to the Championship. They spent decent money once more, and were buoyed by the moving to the newly built New York Stadium. Over that period there were some memorable battles with Bradford City, which Evans almost always won. But after the Crawley antics and the infamous brawl at Valley Parade that saw five players red-carded after the game had ended, Evans was the enemy to Bradford City supporters.
As for Evans, his managerial career probably peaked in 2015 when he successfully guided Rotherham to survival in the Championship. Not long after, he left the South Yorkshire club. Evans has since been employed by Leeds United, Mansfield, Peterborough and more recently Gillingham. He hasn’t done badly at any of these clubs, but has hardly pulled up any trees either. Those advocating Evans takes over at City are unlikely to be citing footballing reasons since 2015.
And that, more than anything else, should be at the forefront of City’s decision-making process right now. Even if you can park the controversies, the past history with Bradford City, and the fact appointing him would alienate a sizeable part of your fanbase, is there enough football credibility left in Evans to gamble on him being a success at Valley Parade?
I think Evans is approaching the end of his own manager lifespan now. You can argue – even with the mitigating factors of what he did at Boston, and the big money spent at Crawley – that he was a successful manager. But he hasn’t done anything of late that would make you think he can guarantee City would finish in the play offs.
If his words were so effective, why are Gillingham on course to be relegated from League One? If the Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony – who keeps publicly urging City to appoint Evans – thinks Evans is so good, why did he sack him after only 12 months? And with Darren Ferguson having left Peterborough this weekend, would MacAnthony be prepared to appoint Evans right now?
As a fanbase, we have rightfully derided some of the recent transfer activity. Signing players whose better days are behind them, with patchy records and little achievements of note in recent years. As Paul Jewell neatly summarised last week, “they’ve bought too many who are at the wrong end of their career.”
For me, appointing Evans is to make that same sort of mistake.
And with all of this, you risk the fall out and further divide of City supporters. The example of Rafa Benitez at Everton feels especially pertinent. Everton brought in a manager who most of their fans disliked – the enemy who once looked down his nose at them, as manager of their rivals – and it split supporters. And the only way Benitez would make it would be to instantly successful. When things soon didn’t go to plan, there was no honeymoon period or credit in the bank to help him. Benitez was quickly sacked, and fans turned angrily on the board over their misjudgment.
That is situation City could find themselves in if they appoint Evans. He either needs to be instantly successful, or it will get very ugly. And it won’t just be Evans who would feel the wrath, it would be an owner and CEO already battling to demonstrate they have the ability to revive the club.
In their choice of next Bradford City manager, Rupp and Sparks have the opportunity to get supporters onside by implementing a plan and vision for the future that we can buy into. It’s not an easy moment for sure, but it’s not a decision they can afford to get wrong.
JM note – we always try to be balanced on WOAP. And if anyone would like to write an article about why Evans should be the next Bradford City manager I’m happy to publish it.
Well written article as always, one question – how much at risk are we of going out of the league ? Looking at present form where will four wins come from (plus possibly a need for three draws). I believe at the moment everything else is secondary. I dislike Evans as much as the next fan, but I won’t use the threat of not renewing as City is in my DNA.
Very balanced Jason as ever. Is this horrible gamble worth it? No. The reputation of Sparks is already trashed and Rupp was a dupe to both Rahic and Mark Lawn, he has no way out as a result. The doomsday scenario gets clearer by the week.
No, no, no! He is not the right person to manage our beloved club!! His recent record as a manager isn’t great and his previous criminal record should not be forgotten!
I was at Crawley a few seasons ago when that man was out of his technical area goading the City fans..
He’s a horrible man. Don’t want him anywhere near the club please.
The prospect of Steve Evans is bad enough. Even more frightening is the baggage that would follow him, in the form of Paul Raynor.
I find it incredible the this rumour appears to have legs, for the reasons you have stated.
Quite simply, this would be a risk too far.
Yes the dreaded assistant Paul Raynor. On touchline more than Evans. He constantly has paper or notes in his had. Tapping them on hands leg , clapping with paper and hand. Irritating or what !
Going further backwards if we appoint Evans.
He regularly gets fines for being abusive on the sidelines and has just been sacked for languishing 22nd in Lg1.
Will his type of football give us the flair we crave and help develop a young squad?
We need an appointment that comes with a 5 yr plan of progression and youth player development not another failed smash and grab attempt at promotion and then buy all new players.
Evans would not give us this long term plan we desperately need and he would be divisive across our fan base at a time we need to come together.
There’s not much would make me say “I’m not supporting this club any more” in fact there’s only one thing that I can think of that could make that happen, and that’s appointing Steve Evans.
It’s a question of morality. You don’t let someone abuse a female steward like that and then give them a job.
From a personal point of view if Sparks appoints Steve Evans then my long association with and love for the Club would be suspended until such time he left.
I would certainly not renew my season ticket and my iFollow subscription under his tenure (that’s 30 consecutive years of being a season ticket holder). Other people I’ve spoken too and are long standing season ticket holders feel the same way.
Steve Evans is not a good fit for Bradford City.
Football dinosaurs, both Evans and his henchman Raynor.
I am sure their words to the Crawley right-back when playing City’s Kyel Reid was ‘Break his f%$&ing legs’.
Not what I want our club to become.
City is becoming a laughing-stock the way things are at present, but our reputation would be further sullied by having these two anywhere near our club.
A gamble is something where you have a chance of winning and losing.
A gamble would be appointing Robbie Fowler – one of the greatest English players of my lifetime but has no managerial record to speak of but then again he’s never been given a crack.
A gamble would be appointing this Pete Wild from Halifax – someone who has done well locally at a lower level but has no experience at this level yet.
A gamble would be appointing Jonathan Woodgate who did pretty well at Bournemouth but has no lower league experience.
Evans isn’t a gamble, he’s throwing your money down the drain – he isn’t going to succeed long term and short term it will be awful. He is a vile character – hated by fans and players in equal amount. He’s done everything in his power to ensure that City fans hate him.
I’ve said City are run by clowns – it’s said in anger at the ever revolving managerial door. He’s got a chance to prove the likes of me wrong but it won’t be done by appointing Evans – there is no reason to suggest he will be a success at all. Sparks would be basically guaranteeing the revolving door keeps spinning, maybe out of control.
Your dislike of Evans transcends certain facts.
If you take aside the 2012 incident, which I understand is difficult for some, Evans constantly talks us up. Don’t take my word – any good search engine can find lots of quotes where he’s arguably the most complimentary manager about us.
There is every reason to think he would be a success. His work for Gillingham where they had two success top 10 L1 finishes for the first time this century, shows he is a credible candidate.
I am genuinely puzzled why so many fans think that we’re so great as a club, that we can ignore to be fussy about who manages us.
I actually think there’s at least three candidates better than him, who are now available. But I don’t agree that it would “throwing your money down the drain”.
Sparks, has already done that by giving Adams a 3-year contract, license to build his own scouting network and just barely 30 games!!
I agree with you in some aspects but it is not 2012 that my issue is. It is Boston and what I know about Crawley (pre FL).
My point about throwing money away is because we’ve just got rid of one unpopular manager and we would be appointing someone who is unpopular from the start!
My worry is that if we go on popularity or who isn’t unpopular, we’re narrowing down the search spectacularly.
What we need is for Sparks to show some bottle and publicly back his manager if it’s going wrong after 30 matches. NOT cave in to the boo boys.
Nobody liked Adams footie, but Sparks had given him permission to set up the scouting and a three years deal plus let him spend in January – only to sack him two weeks after the window closes.
It’s not excuse making for Adams to point out that maybe he should have been allowed to get at least one of his half decent wingers back, i.e. let the injury list clear up – if the plan is, as it seems to be, is to mumble on to the end of the season with no alternative.
I’ve been a big fan of Sparks. I have grave doubts now. Stop worrying about our reaction and appoint the best person to take this club forward for the next two and half years and have some kind of vision who you want after.
Totally agree. We were poor before Adams was sacked. Now we are a mess.
Sparks could do us all proud and raise his own credibility by making a clear statement that Steve Evans WILL NOT be appointed manager of Bradford City .
We can argue the hypothetical and moral points after.
If the club does decide to employ Evans then he is going to need to have an amazing start or it will turn the club even more toxic just when you thought that couldn’t happen.
Surely one of the big reasons the club sacked Adams was because season ticket sales were in danger of sinking like a stone?? Evans is possibly the only other manager that could do that so would seem swapping like for like in that sense.
I’m not sure of sparks is seriously thinking of getting Evans in, if he is then I think that it’s the biggest gamble he’s ever taken, one thing I will say about Evans is that I think he is really hungry for the job, think it’s the one he’s always wanted. He probably does see the potential of our club more than most but is he really the one who can unlock that potential??
Adams was regarded by many as a great coup for City. It didn’t work out. You talk about alienating supporters if an appointment of Evans was to happen! Do you not feel the club and supporters are fractured with what’s happening at the moment?
Sparks sacks Adams, then appoints Trueman as caretaker boss. Not exactly a decision that would appease the supporters. I believe the setup post Adams is to push us further into the mire. Clearly Rupp and Sparks should have had a plan B to bring someone in that will galvanate the club. We are threatened with the appointment of Evans. Controversial that he is, it may be worth a punt to sign him on a match by match basis. Alternatively, show supporters that you are prepared to punch above your weight and go for Woodgate or Hull City’s ex manager. Doing this will encourage supporters to buy into it and ease the pressure on the club. Sticking with Trueman is a big mistake.
The appointment of Evans would as much immoral as a complete joke . He’s well passed his sell by date and his background is more criminal than successful . It’s about time we went young hungry and Pete Wild for me stands out a mile , , the new Chris Wilder they call him I believe he’s done alright in football !
I’m with Dean here. Evans is a loudmouth oaf. It shows how toothless the EFL and the FA are. A man with his record should have been banned from football a long time ago.
His football is no better than the brand we’ve had to put up with since McCall left. Palatable if you’re winning but if not….
The club and the fans need to take reality pill. We aint getting out of L2 with the same approach we’ve had for the last few seasons.
Give Pete Wild the job and allow him the time to build the foundations up by being realistic enough to admit we’ll be in this League for at least another 2 seasons.
The annual hyperbole to get season tickets sold only ends in a mid-season sacking when things hit a sticky patch.
Wild has been at the Shay since 2019 slowly building a team that punches above their weight financially. This wasn’t an overnight phenomenon. It took time and patience. The two things that are in very short supply at VP
Fans citing Wild yet if we are looking that way and at the lower leagues why is no one mentioning Challnor? nearly a 50% win rate whereever he has gone and is above Wild in the league
Remember how Dave hockadays time at Leeds went when he stepped up from managing forest green?
Look nobody has the answers. Every appointment is a gamble to a larger or smaller extent. Track record at this level seemed to tick the box with adams. It wasn’t working out so here we are again. I don’t think I’m right but my preference would be a manager who has links to the club so the fan base stay on board when we lose a couple
I don’t think you can compare Hockaday with Wild.
Hockaday was merely a mouthpiece for the ‘real’ manager.
Also Hockaday went from being a run-of-the-mill NL manager to coaching a team a few leagues higher. He was unquestionably out of his depth.
I’d argue Wild has proven his worth at HTFC over the last few seasons. The jump from the NL to LG2 is not that much a gap as it once had been.
Besides, if Wild stays at The Shay there’s a genuine prospect that he and HTFC will be at VP next season. Only he’ll be in the opposition dug out.
All this talk about Steve Evans has probably been instigated by his agent in order to keep his name in the public eye.
There is not a ‘cat in hell’s chance’ that he will end up as Bradford City manager. For the club to make such an appointment would be sheer madness and would undoubtedly alienate a large chunk of our fan base, which is a gamble that not even an idiot would risk!
We are Bradford City and we can surely attract and deserve better!
If Evans get the job then Valley Parade will become a very toxic place to be, the vast majority of Bradford fans hate the guy.
Personally and I know this will be controversial is to give Robbie Fowler a chance, yes he’s inexperienced however he has the passion, he could also open up the vault to the best upcoming Liverpool players that will be excellent in league 2 for us.
Here’s some facts about Robbie Fowlers last Managerial job at SC East Bengal.
1) On 9 October 2020, Indian Super League side SC East Bengal announced the signing of Fowler as their new manager
2) Under him they collected seventeen points from the first eighteen league fixtures and were placed ninth of eleven.
3) During this time the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) disciplinary committee issued a four-match ban and a substantial fine of ₹5 lakh (US$6,600) against Fowler , for involvement in a verbal disagreement with the match officials and league organizers after their match with FC Goa
4) He left by ‘mutual consent’ at the end of that season. A ninth-placed finish (out of eleven) as his side won just three of 20 fixtures.
It’s very hard to comment on whether his time in India was a failure or not, I certainly know nothing of the standard there or the cultural support he was given, but I will say that him going there to try and kickstart his managerial career is a credit to him.
My worry with top ex players however is always their ability to work with less talented players, can Robbie explain to an L2 journeyman what came so naturally to him?
I always thought this was a problem for Stuart, he could set up a team to play in the way he enjoyed playing, commitment, energy etc and the players responded well but he never seemed to be able to sort the issue of the players not having the same natural positional sense and technical skill that he enjoyed, so when the players being together and playing for one another wasn’t enough there was no way back.
That said of the names I have heard so far I’d personally like to see Robbie in charge, after DA, getting behind a likable passionate guy would be a very welcome change.
You said “become” almost like it’s not toxic already
Whoever is next manager. If the team are winning there’ll be no toxicity
Unlike betting on the nags, we don’t know the runners and riders! Apparently the field is a hundred strong. It is vitally important that we get the right man, never more so than at present when so much is at stake. What we do not want to do is gamble on a big name – like Robbie Fowler, who has applied for everything in the last five years and got nothing in this country. My greatest fear however is that Sparks simply is not competent to make the appointment. He has made too many misjudgements already in a short time. Just imagine the damage that will be caused if he gets this one wrong. I’m
already worried that we are shaping up to be that team that falls like a stone in the last quarter of the season and comes on strong in the race for relegation.
I’ve no doubt Sparks that Sparks doesn’t have the nerve to appoint him anyway, as clearly he puts what the fans want above what’s best for the club – otherwise why would he sack Adams and have no-one better lined up?
In regards to Evans, in the interest of balance it needs to be pointed out that, for the first time this century, he took the Gillingham to two consecutive Top 10 L1 finishes and they have/had one of the lowest budgets in the league.
Yes he’s not a long term vision type of manager, but quite frankly we need someone to change mindsets immediately get us out of L2 next season and then establish us in L1. Then, like we did with Kamara, we simply then move on to someone better.
I worry that we’re getting like Sunderland fans who fuss about every manager employed. Next Darren Ferguson will be deemed unfit due to his conviction for assault on his ex-wife. Indeed if we’re going to rule out Evans for an incident far milder 10 years ago, then I suppose Ferguson is actually unfit as well!!
Incidentally, I’m not a fan of employing Evans. I’m just a fan of doing football wise what is best for the club. I’d much rather have McCann, Lee Johnson or Ferguson – we certainly need someone experienced, as we now have a section of fans (albeit small) who will quickly destroy someone new to the role (look at the social abuse Sellars / Truman got at the back end of last season)
Sparks simply needs to shut out all the noise, baggage that is not relevant in 2022 and clear up the mess he has unnecessary created.
City fans are hypocrites.
Beagrie was a [JM note, comment redacted for legal reasons]. Jamie Lawrence was an armed robber. Collymore allegedly hit Ulrika. All were supported from the stands here, yet Steve Evans, whose ‘crimes’ involved using insulting words and behaviour, is somehow deemed the bigger villain.
Fans threatening to stop going if Evans is appointed need to grow up.
Jonathan Woodgate, found guilty of affray, and Darren Ferguson, another [JM note, comment redacted for legal reasons], are some of the alternative names suggested by the anti-Evans brigade. Oh, the irony!
My objections to Evans are less based on my (or his) morals and more on whether he’s the right person to deliver the club’s strategy. To know if he is the right person would mean us knowing what the club’s strategy is. If the club’s strategy is to keep betting all and everything on a manager to “get us out of L2” then I fear we’re just going around in circles.
Before any City fan can give a fair and balanced view on our next manager / head coach then we need to understand more about what the club’s strategy is, certainly beyond this season.
You make a fair point. The problem is the club don’t even seem to know their own strategy.
With an absent owner, who we only hear from two or three times a year, it’s difficult to know what the plan is.
Best comment I’ve read.
Great points. Frankly, if we look closely at anyone I’m sure we’ll find something ‘unsuitable’ about them.
I don’t think Evans is the answer.
However, I must challenge your comments about his recent record.
‘Those advocating Evans takes over at City are unlikely to be citing footballing reasons since 2015.’
He left Mansfield 4th in League 2. They’ve not been higher in the last 20 years.
He got back to back 10th placed finished in League 1 with Gillingham. They’ve finished higher once in the last 15 years.
Success cannot just be measured in promotions.
It’s important to add that balance as his recent record is better than you suggest.
Yes. It did occur to me, that for Jason this seemed to lack a bit of balance. This information would have been far better coming from Jason as he’s far more trusted than the likes of you and me!!
He’s consistent. Generally, consistently good. Even his Leeds stint wasn’t that bad.
Agree, that it might not be the answer. Problem is the eventual answer might be worse.
These are results we can only dream about at the moment –
Gillingham 1–0 Sunderland
Gillingham 3–1 Milton Keynes Dons
Ipswich Town 0–0 Gillingham
Portsmouth 0–0 Gillingham
Peterborough United 0–0 Gillingham
Blackpool 2–3 Gillingham
Sunderland 2–2 Gillingham
Gillingham 1–0 (a.e.t.) Sunderland
Wigan Athletic 2–3 Gillingham
Gillingham 2–0 Blackpool
Gillingham 3–1 Oxford United
Sunderland 2–2 Gillingham
Charlton Athletic 2–3 Gillingham
Gillingham 3–2 Milton Keynes Dons
Gillingham 3–1 Ipswich Town
Lincoln City 0–3 Gillingham
Hull City 1–1 Gillingham
Gillingham 1–0 Wigan Athletic
Peterborough United 0–1 Gillingham
(5–4 p) Coventry City
However, he’s going to split the fanbase and we need someone to bring us all together.
Get wild in from Halifax and don’t mention play offs or promotion because it’s boring. We’ve only had a couple of decent teams over the 30 years I’ve been watching city , so let’s have some perspective.
I care as much about how we get there as about the results. So i would consider handing back my season ticket & my kids, & not renewing if the club appoint someone like Steve Evans.
The question of who should be the next City manager once again shows how diverse our opinons are. Some for Evans ,lots against ,he’d certainly kick some backsides thats for sure ,but with an already split fanbase i don’t think he’d be able to unite us. Fowler,Wild possibly a risk ,Mc Cann,Ferguson out of our league i’m afraid. I was disappointed with Trueman ,given that he said he’d learned from past mistakes ,then played the same formation . Someone needs to come in till the end of the season who can unite us ,settle things down whilst plans are put in place , maybe Fowler or Wild could do that or possibly we as fans can just get behind the team.
On Sparks lets not forget he pulled of a major coup in getting Adams from promoted Morecambe ,it didn’t work out and for all those who say it was the fear of season ticket loss ,thats his job ! He’s CEO ,the club is a business ,without enough money ,poorer players ,less supporters etc etc. He’s a young kid getting no support on a day to day basis from a Chairman who wants shut of us.
Where do we go from here ? Frankly i don’t know but i’ll still be supporting them like i have done since the mid 70s ,if its Evans so be it ,Fowler ,give it a go ,Wild ok ,i’ll back them all . Am i apathetic ? At the moment probably but more of a realist . If i win the euromillions problem solved ! But the fact is that i love this club ,it’s part of me , even more so following 11th May ’85 and the liquidation problems. I’ll still go to games ,sit there grumpy at the poor football on display pay my season ticket money next season , because supporting City is a way of life ,if you can’t put up with being there , don’t .
David Smith is 100% correct and to some extent this is what Paul Jewell was saying earlier this week.
Wise words indeed and words which Ryan Sparks and Stefan Rupp need to keep uppermost in their mind when making their next decision.
We need a strategy.
We need to state what that strategy is and the timescale and methodology attached to a strategy.
Then we can.choose a manager who is prepared to work within the constraints of such a strategy.
If this is then given to the Supporters as our way forward then the whole club knows in what direction we are moving in and if sold correctly to the fans, and adhered to without wavering then I believe the fans could accept such a plan.
We could all buy into it and together move towards a common goal.
Imagine the good feeling that would generate and spread from.the stands to the pitch and back again.
That can only be good for those with the club at heart.
No more firefighting or short termism. No more arguing amongst ourselves. No more grandiose statements from the club. No more loan.players coming in the January window to.become ‘the final.parts of the jigsaw’
No more signing of non scoring 30 plus strikers smacking more of desperation than potential.
A return.to the club and fan relationship that we have enjoyed before
At Wembley in 2017. In the Phil Parkinson days in both the cup and league exploits. At Chelsea only few years ago.
This MUST start with a statement from our owner Stefan Rupp.
Even better how about now Covid restrictions are removed he comes over to Bradford and spends some time in Bradford.
Make a statement locally about the plan, short, medium and long term and the mechanics of how we can ALL make it work.
The only time we have heard from him in recent months was in relation to the Wagmi non purchase.
Let’s remove all the doubt, the uncertain nature or things and let’s all build a platform from where we can start a mutual (fan and club) move to start a new Bradford City future.
The strategy should determine the next manager rather than the next manager determining the strategy.
I’ve seen plenty instances of very capable managers / execs from large companies failing to make an impact in small businesses because they fail to adjust to an environment with limited resources, infrastructure and support. Someone who has spent his time in the closeted world of the Premier League could struggle enormously in our situation. I know that McFarland and Cherry were exceptions to this but 40 years ago the inequalities were much less.
I think the most suitable candidate is someone from a smaller club background and/or a mature individual with the wider experience. Better still a combination of the two. I don’t know the candidates but I’d favour Neil Warnock to stabilise the situation, possibly acting as mentor and managing a handover to the likes of the current Halifax manager. I’d expect NW to also assist with putting in place the support team.
As regards Steve Evans I wouldn’t entertain the idea for all the reasons above.
We’re verging on pathetic if we carry this on for much longer.
Fans threatening to hand season tickets back. Do me a favour. It annoys me immensely. It’s such a pathetic gesture / statement / threat.
Sparks should have made an address to fans by now. Simply stating look where we were in the summer. Look at the moves we made and the initiatives we have done to make incremental improvements. Clearly it didn’t work out on the pitch and we’re all disappointed at that. But we’ll find the next manager galvanise the club and we’ll move forward. Clearly this is a setback but it can take time and we had to make this decision. But that kind of communication directly to fans hasn’t really happened.
I think the big difference between now say and five years ago was that we had an extremely engaging conduit into the club through James mason. The difference is sparks seems to be basically running the show alone so there’s only so much he can do at any given time. Mason was allowed to focus quite a bit on the fans engagement and comms piece.
Anyhow. We need to stop being so negative. Easier said than done but there were sections of the support base who criticised mason and now sparks. I don’t understand it. We’ve been a club with a history of having young people do well. In playing roles and management roles and even in board roles. I’d say Baldwin and mason were on the whole successful. Sparks has also done a decent job. But why do a section of fans keep going on about his age as being a barrier?
I know it’s hard if we are all frustrated but fans acting like martyrs using the I’m not renewing my season ticket threat is poor behaviour. Fair enough if you don’t like it move on. There are plenty of other things to occupy your time with including a plethora of local teams to make new allegiances with. What we need is a committed hardcore support to get behind the team in voice and financially. Face to face regular fans forums to voice frustration is a rite of passage for fans. It’s called match day. Meet your friends and family go to the game do your routine. Pub. Cafe. Train journey. Whatever it might be and have a good old moan. But get behind the team. The majority of match going fans I’d say absolutely do this. But it’s the exiles and fans in other countries whining and moaning that seems to set the wrong tone. We all have a responsibility in life. Not to be a happy clapper as people a call it but provide criticisms balanced with suggestions for improvement. Not just things to disagree with.
Rant over. CTID
Thank goodness we live in a democracy. We can all vote and have the right to vote for whoever we want. Even with our feet!
If Evans is appointed, I will vote with my feet and stop following Bradford City. That is not a threat, that is me casting my vote. In a democracy.
Good on you.
I fully support you. as I said if you don’t like it fair enough move on.
I think we are talking less about ‘democracy’ here and more about consumer power and influence. Which is something that no business can ignore, even if it may hamper the setting, and sticking with, a particular strategy.
Martin O’Neill was in the times last week saying he was looking for one last job? Once we could have dreamed about such a possibility. Now we are lucky if any flawed manager casts his hat into the ring. I’d be looking back to the success of player managers in the 80’s to be honest as you get more bang for your buck, and we have sunk so low now in terms of quality that this might be a sensible solution for us, a player manager and a player coach with a more senior director of football. James Milner is nearing the end and could be ideal as a player manager for example, another if only etc. in fact I’d play him on his own!
I’m just riffing as it’s desperate and some creative thinking is required so that we don’t keep doing the same things and expect different results (Einsteins definition of madness). What a waste of another season of hope, and it’s the hope that kills us of course.