Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Beginning of the End?

This weekend saw Bradford City lurch from one crisis to another. Following the previous weeks shenanigans with Lewis Hunt’s contract, the club admitted that they have sounded out the Football League about the implications of a move to Odsal. Further to that, on the pitch things got even worse – comprehensibly beaten by Accrington and all teams around us picking up points. As weeks go, Bradford City have had better.

On the pitch, the Accrington game was up there with the worst I have ever seen. I wasn’t at the 3-0 defeat to Chesterfield a couple of years ago which saw us relegated to League Two, but I imagine this was similar. It took Stanley just eight minutes to penetrate the City defence and from then on, City never looked like getting anything from the game. Some players quite obviously don’t want to play for Bradford City anymore; the alleged Luke Oliver spat at Southend, Luke Oliver having a staring contest with fans at Accrington when being told he and the rest of the team weren’t fit to wear the shirt and some arsey comments from a certain Mr Doherty on Twitter. Remember him? With the apparent poor attitude from some players, the level of discontent between fans and players is at an all time high. Support, and rightly so, has been limited in recent weeks; and considering the reduction in the gap to the bottom two to four points, things are certainly very worrying currently.

The discontent is not just aimed at the players, though. The leadership of the club is receiving a lot of scrutiny from the fans. Naturally the idea of moving to Odsal is less than popular and serious questions are being asked about the regime which has overseen numerous, excessive budgets. Many are questioning the motives behind moving; considering the playing budget could be brought down to average League Two levels to compensate for the amount of rent the club is liable for.  Considering administration is for companies that are insolvent and City are not, it is clear that the situation is far from simple.

Because of all this, the AFC Bradford City route has been mentioned. This is all well and good, but is incredibly risky. It would involve setting up at a massively lower level, most probably the Northern Counties League, and would have no guarantee of rising through the leagues ala Halifax, Wimbledon and FC United. It took Aldershot 16 years to regain their place in the league – would a phoenix club be able to garner and maintain interest and support for that long? And it would involve giving up what every non league team wants – a place in the Football League. The idea is being tossed around far too much for this writers liking at the moment and has to only be considered as an absolute last resort.
But what else can we do now?

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