Bradford City fans have had a right to feel somewhat distressed about the state of their club, considering that the year-upon-year progress that had kickstarted under and during Phil Parkinson’s regime and was continued during Stuart McCall’s first season with the club came crashing to a halt; and then some more.
Of course, you can’t have continuous success. It’s not normal or reasonable in football to expect or see that happen. Having a team who keeps winning, or at least delivering promotion or top of the table football is great, but not realistic over years and years – unless you’re the likes of Manchester United and so on.
Bradford City’s plummet from being promotion contenders to relegation bound at the foot of League One screamed of issues both on and off the field, that seriously needed addressing.
Bantams fans have seen five different managers take charge of games during 2018 now, and that’s not a reasonable foundation for success. Stability often underpins progression, and that shouldn’t be forgotten by those in touch with football, from the boardrooms through to the backroom staff.
Bradford City’s co-owner Edin Rahic has come under intense criticism over the past month or so. Last season’s decision to sack Stuart McCall after his first poor run of form with the club sitting in 5th place unsurprisingly didn’t go down well. A poor January transfer window of recruitment was another worrying moment for fans, and Simon Grayson’s uninspiring football hardly failed to capture the imagination.
Fans began to worry that Rahic was ‘picking the team’, rumors were emanating from Valley Parade that he was micro-managing every single aspect of the club and fans naturally had begun to get worried.
Then, the club appointed inexperienced 32-year-old Michael Collins in his first ever managerial job as the club’s Head Coach. Collins lasted one month into the football season, and it’s hardly surprising, yet not entirely his fault as such.
The worrying thing for Bantams fans is national media had caught wind of the turbulence at Valley Parade. High profile people from within the club such as James Mason, the club’s operating officer had left and even the clubs fitness coach left to Blackpool, who beat the Bantams 3-2 after the West-Yorkshire club conceded three goals in the last 10 minutes.
With staff leaving Bradford City at an alarming rate, the clubs results getting seemingly worse on the pitch and season ticket sales being somewhat cut off the pitch, fans have been petrified that the dark trap door to League Two could be a distinct possibility, a division in which the club endured arguably its darkest period.
Rahic is sorry
Edin Rahic has come out tonight and issued an apology and accepted that he has made some mistakes. It’s important that although there’s still much to do, that Bradford City fans recognize he is, after all, taking ownership for his poor decisions.
There’s the argument that Rahic had little alternative but to accept that he has made mistakes, but to publicly speak to the clubs fanbase and admit he’s been wrong a presents a step of some form in the right direction for Bradford City, after what’s been somewhat of a cataclysmic fall from grace.
There’s a lot of work to do. Hopkin has to be left to his own devices in the transfer window and to recruit his own players.
It’s been obvious that whilst Bradford City’s transfer committee have brought in a few talented players, it doesn’t make them automatically an amazing squad. A manager has to be left to manage and to run things on the pitch how he wants to, and with any luck he’ll be left to do so.
Rahic may come across as a character who wants to micro-manage his business, but this isn’t necessarily down to whether he has good or bad intentions at his heart. At the end of the day Bradford City will be both a better business and also a more profitable business when they are ultimately more successful, and it’s not as if he’s wanting to send the club down the drain by the statement he’s been trying to make through the clubs transfer business in the summer.
More than anything, Rahic may just be somewhat insecure and is slowly learning that a football club is run best when you leave experts to do their job. There’s a long way to go after all, but if he’s prepared to admit mistakes publicly, the huge reshuffle behind the scenes that has taken place since he arrived at Valley Parade may be somewhat more stable if he’s prepared to take a step back from things.
Bradford City fans want Bradford City to be successful, Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp will want Bradford City to be successful and most importantly the players and David Hopkin will want Bradford City to be successful. It’s time for everyone to pull together now and trust that Rahic has learned his lesson and wants to let everyone contribute to a successful future; rather than dwelling on a constricted past.
This weekend’s game against Charlton Athletic at Valley Parade will be a massive test for David Hopkin’s squad. But if the fans can get behind their team and get an atmosphere going for the team to feed off just like they did so excellently at Blackpool, it could well boost their confidence and things could start to turn around.
Here’s to hoping.