Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cheap as Chips

Following the suspension of season tickets sales due to the financial worries surrounding the club, season ticket prices have only just been announced, and I think it is time to commend the club for yet again providing the people of Bradford with affordable prices for football league matches. For the fifth year in a row season tickets have been provided for less than £200 - season tickets being priced at £195 for adults - once again making season tickets incredibly good value.

The pricing strategy, despite having seen a year on year decrease in crowds as the club has lingered in League Two, has ensured the club has received support it wouldn’t have got had it kept prices at the same level they were before relegation to the bottom tier. The first year of cheap tickets saw an incredible amount sold; only surpassed by figures in the Premier League seasons. The club have also done their best to ensure the scheme remains fresh by developing it each year. Had the club sold another 600 season tickets three years ago, 20,000 tickets would have been dished out as part of the deal.

The flexibility and continuation of the policy from City clearly shows that they value the city’s support as it would be just as easy to charge £250/300 and have a crowd half as low. And despite having franchised the shop and catering facilities, extra bodies = extra cash for the club as City take a certain % of profits made by the franchises on top of the franchise fees. A win-win situation considering the franchise fees are claimed to be more than the club would make from these operations themselves.

However, some people have begun to argue that the cost of providing cheap tickets is too prohibitive now and are calling for the prices to revert back to ‘normal’ higher prices. But this will just ensure that the club will lose floating supporters, whose cash is particularly important at the level City currently operate at. If the club continue with this policy, and the excellent marketing is finally matched by on pitch performances, the club could be looking at crowds of up to 15,000 in League One, almost double what the club averaged when they were last in that division. Should the club stick with the cheap ticket policy, it would eventually manifest itself in the club getting sustainably bigger crowds than it has experienced before at the respective level it is playing at.

Whatever people think of the current board, and they do come in for a lot of stick at times, this policy of cheap tickets has to be commended. Having been correctly recognised by the footballing authorities, it is something we as a club should be proud of, and thank the Chairmen and Board for. 

Follow thebantamsblog on Twitter

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ten Years in Coming

We finally found out this morning that Peter Jackson is to lose his ‘interim’ title to be replaced by ‘full time’ as he is appointed Bradford City manager on a full time basis. Colin Cooper has also extended his association with the club by a year too. Excellent news considering his coaching qualities and reputation. Now, I was never one of his biggest fans and I’m still not sure whether he did enough to earn the job in light of some other candidates who to me appear better. But nonetheless Jacko will get my 100% support.

Having turned the job down ten years ago, Jackson finally accepts the job he always wanted and will no doubt give it his all. Jacko perhaps gets the job in the best position any of the managers the club has had in its time in League Two. While that may sound strange, considering last season and the rag bag of players that are left at the club, Jackson comes in at a time - following financial worry and last year’s poor showing – when expectations are at an all time low. This should allow him the freedom to build his own team and squad under considerably less pressure, which in turn should increase the chances of him getting it right.

Since the first day Jackson arrived at the club, he has said all the right things and has personified enthusiasm. He is clearly enthusiastic, passionate and completely happy to be at the club. Hopefully some of this can rub off on his players and we may finally see a team which is ready to compete at this level. The past year saw one of the most disinterested teams to take to the field at Valley Parade, and Jackson’s enthusiasm and motivational prowess is undoubtedly one of the qualities that got him the full time gig.

He’s done it before, albeit eight years ago, with Huddersfield, he can do it again. And I sincerely hope he does do it this time. All of what he is saying is right, his targets are supposedly exciting players, and we’ve already been promised (Where have I heard that one before?!) attacking, entertaining football. With the issue of the ground sorted for now, next season is beginning to look brighter. We just need our nice, new Nike kits now!

Without wanting to tempt fate; What could possibly go wrong......?

Follow thebantamsblog on Twitter

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Never in Doubt

Today saw news that we all wanted to hear emerge, that Bradford City are to remain at Valley Parade for the foreseeable future. This has come about due to the directors finding enough money to buy the offices and shop back which will ease cash flow. Obviously, this is wonderful news meaning the club remains at its spiritual home and doesn’t have to go play matches up at Odsal.

The biggest positive from remaining at VP is naturally the tribute to the 56 fans who died in the 1985 disaster. Leaving Valley Parade would have been heartbreaking such is the level of history that the ground is steeped in. I’m sure the fans we lost that day would rather have seen the club continue to survive that fold under financial pressures at VP, but there is no better memorial to them than Valley Parade.

The purchasing of the offices/shop will also give Bradford City something which it has not had in almost a decade – an asset. OK, it may be in the hands of BC Bantams Ltd, but it is by all intents and purposes in the clubs hands. And with the way rent appears to be structured, the club pays what it can, when it can – meaning that cash flow will be much less strained and can be directed to where it is needed most.

This will also mean that the club can finally plan full steam ahead for next season with the immediate future sorted. Having seen umpteen players released and a solitary signing in Ross Hannah, much work is needed on the squad. With the news that the search for a permanent manager is over, the new man having been told, things seem to be much more positive at Valley Parade. And perhaps Clayton Donaldson will finally sign on the dotted line........?!

Unfortunately the club still lacks what it really needs – ownership of the ground – but hopefully today is the beginning of the process to get it back in the clubs hands, ensuring a long, sustainable future at Valley Parade. 

Follow thebantamsblog on Twitter

Football Blog Directory

The Bantams Blog has been added to The Football Blog Directory.

The Football Blog Directory is a base for all football blogs; ranging from Premier League to Non-League enabling football fans to read up on the best sport in the world. 

The site can be found here Football Blog Directory.

Monday, 16 May 2011

A Tale of Two Johns

Rumours have been circling since the end of February now as to who will be City’s next permanent manager. Peter Jackson, Keith Hill, John Still, Alan Knill to name a few. Even more ridiculous has been the recent rumour that Roy Keane is to take over with Nicky Butt coming in as player/coach. Even Tommy Doherty pulled a few fans in yesterday commenting on Twitter that Ronnie Moore was to be appointed the new full time manager at City. A decision which would have proved somewhat unpopular. With John Still’s rejection of the job in the weekends Sun, some snippets of information have emerged today that point towards many people’s first choice, John Coleman, being the man the club are hoping to appoint. All this depends on whether Accrington are promoted, which after last night’s results is looking unlikely.

What the chances of Coleman being appointed are, I don’t know, but he fell from 20/1 to 7/1 with the bookmakers pretty sharpish. And they don’t often get things wrong – unless it’s placing Bradford City as promotion favourites!

Coleman, though, would seem an unlikely appointment given what we were told earlier this year that City could not afford the compensation that would be required to buy him out of his contract at Stanley. And with the seemingly never ending ‘financial problems’ paying out that sort of cash seems more unlikely now than ever. But perhaps these were the big plans Ross Hannah has referred to since signing.

But what would Coleman bring to the job? He has finished in a higher position for each of his 11 years in charge of Accrington Stanley, culminating in them hitting the play offs this year. An achievement considering the budget and expectations at the club. He is a manager that brings the best out of players, maximising their talent and getting results with it. He also tends to have faith in youngsters released from other clubs, something which management at VP would be very keen on.

We will have to wait and see, but I would welcome Coleman as the new man for City.  

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

May 11th 1985

  • John Ackroyd Aged 32 
  • Edmund Anderton Aged 68 
  • Alexander Baines Aged 70 
  • Herbert Bamford Aged 72 
  • Christopher Bulmer Aged 11 
  • Jack Coxon Aged 76 
  • Leo Coxon Aged 44 
  • David Crabtree Aged 30 
  • Harry Crabtree Aged 76 
  • Derek Dempsey Aged 46
  • Muriel Firth Aged 56 
  • Samuel Firth Aged 86 
  • Andrew Fletcher Aged 11 
  • Edmond Fletcher Aged 63 
  • John Fletcher Aged 34 
  • Peter Fletcher Aged 32 
  • Nellie Forster Aged 64
  • Felix Greenwood Aged 13 
  • Peter Greenwood Aged 46 
  • Rupert Greenwood Aged 11
  • Norman Hall Aged 71 
  • Peter Halliday Aged 34 
  • Arthur Hartley Aged 79 
  • Edith Hindle Aged 79 
  • Frederick Hindle Aged 76 
  • Moira Hodgson Aged 15 
  • Eric HudsonAged 72 
  • John Hughes Aged 64 
  • John Hutton Aged 74 
  • Walter Kerr Aged 76 
  • Peter Lovell Aged 43
  • Jack Ludlam Aged 55 
  • Gordon McPherson Aged 39 
  • Irene McPherson Aged 28 
  • Roy Mason Aged 74
  • Frederick Middleton Aged 84
  • Harold Mitchell Aged 79
  • Elizabeth Muhl Aged 21
  • Ernest Normington Aged 74 
  • Gerald Ormondroyd Aged 40
  • Richard Ormondroyd Aged 12 
  • Robert Ormondroyd Aged 12 
  • Sylvia Pollard Aged 69 
  • Herbert Price Aged 78
  • Amanda RobertsAged 20 
  • Jane Sampson Aged 18 
  • William Stacey Aged 72 
  • Craig StockmanAged 14 
  • Jane StockmanAged 16 
  • Trevor StockmanAged 38 
  • Howard TurnerAged 41 
  • Sarah TurnerAged 16 
  • Simon Neil WardAged 18 
  • Robert Wedgeworth Aged 72 
  • William West Aged 78 
  • Adrian Wright Aged 11 

  • You'll Never Walk Alone

Monday, 9 May 2011

Goodbye, Omar!

Following the release of the retained/released list from City today, I found myself feeling completely unperturbed. I wouldn’t disagree with any of the decisions, although I was somewhat surprised to see Jon Worthington released considering his past connections with Peter Jackson. Despite all of this, and already prepared for his probable release, seeing Omar Daley’s name on the list did make me feel somewhat sad.

When Omar joined Bradford City, he came over as a gangly, unimpressive winger who looked like he could be gone as quickly as he came following Colin Todd’s departure. He looked like a very poor man’s Jermaine Johnson. But after almost 5 years at the club, I will miss Omar Daley. He slowly built up his form, and following a season and a half at the club settling in, the 2008/09 season saw Daley come into his own. It was the ‘nearly’ season under Stuart McCall when City resided in the top 3 until March when a 9 game winless run saw the team finish 9th. I am still convinced to this day that had Daley not been on the end of a bad tackle from Darlington’s Neil Austin, the 2009/2010 season would have seen Stuart McCall managing a Bradford City side in League One. Daley was the extra quality in that team who, while not always the producer or scorer of goals, was the man opposition teams most worried about. And this was reflected in his inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year that season, despite missing the last third of the season.

I’m not going to claim that he was always wonderful, some games he didn’t turn up, didn’t look interested and following his return from injury, he was never quite the same player. However, he did come up with some important goals this past season; he scored both goals in City’s two 1-0 wins over Bury, he got the ball rolling in the almost win-or-bust game against Aldershot and got a double in the thrashing of Oxford back in October. He also scored some memorable goals, against Aldershot this year and last, and away at Rotherham in his first season with the club. In my opinion, his loan to Rotherham was a disastrous decision by Peter Taylor and one of the final nails in his coffin.

In what has been quite frankly an abysmal ten years for Bradford City, Omar Daley has been one of very few players that has been able to excite me whilst watching Bradford City, he has been a bright spark in what has seemed a never ending decline. And for that, I thank Omar. I wish Daley all the best in the future and hope that we can find a player just as exciting to replace him.

Goodbye, Omar. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Season Review

Here is my take on the season that has just passed, which saw City finish in their worst league position since 1966.

Best Game
Cheltenham at home. The score line may not have been as flattering as the 5-0 win over Oxford, but the football played was far better. Lee Hendrie dictated things from the midfield and Cheltenham couldn’t cope with City that day.

Worst Game
Accrington away. 3-0 down at half time, with all the other relegation candidates winning, I really thought at this point that the end was in sight for Bradford City. A more abject performance I have not seen. The only reason the performance against Crewe today doesn’t win this accolade is because there was nothing riding on today’s game.

Best Moment
Beating Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup at the start of the season (That feels like a life time ago, now!). That night the team played with passion, commitment and took the game to the opposition. That night I thought this season was going to be ours.

Worst Moment
The culmination of the season and the breakdown of the relationship between the club/players and the fans which manifested itself at Southend.

When We Thought We Might Be Getting Somewhere
Having beaten Bury 1-0 at home and laying just 3 points from the play offs, the season seemed to be slowly coming together and heading in the right direction.

When We Knew It Was Going To Be A Struggle
Losing four games in a row following the Bury game, and Peter Taylors rumoured move to Newcastle. It disrupted the season and left the club in a mess.

Player of the Season
Luke O’Brien. I’m not entirely convinced with Dave Syers. Don’t get me wrong, he has had a great first season in pro football, but often he has gone missing in games, but with the rest of the team I suppose that is to be expected.

Worst Player of the Season
Too many to mention.

Here is to a better campaign next season.

It's Finally Over

Today brought down the curtain on what has turned out to be an utterly abysmal season. A season which started with so much promise; 1500 fans down at Shrewsbury, bookies favourites, ‘the best’ manager turned into a long, arduous nine month nightmare. I guess the first 28 minutes were OK. Having ensured safety last week, the players mind’s were clearly already on the beach and Pina Colada’s as Crewe embarrassed them 5-1, which in reality could have been far more.

Crewe showed today how far City are from being a good team. Without wanting to put a massive downer on the players currently at the club, when we consider James Hanson as one of our leading players, we are clearly struggling. Crewe had pace, power, technique in abundance throughout their team, something City are horrendously short of. Clearly the manager – whoever that may be – has an enormous job in turning around and it appears as if Peter Jackson has already started the arduous task. Tommy Doherty has gone, the loanee’s will be leaving and both Lloyd Saxton (Who?) and Lenny Pidgeley have revealed through Twitter that they are leaving.

Further to this, recruitment for next season already appears to be starting – despite the lack of a manager – with Ross Hannah revealing on Twitter that he was at the Crewe game today, and loved it. On top of this, apparently Clayton Donaldson’s family, who were watching the game from the 1911 club, were being quite vocal and letting people know that ‘Clay’ had signed for City.

Even so, if these transfers were to come off, the club is in such a state that a quick term fix now is completely impossible. A root and branch review, looking at everything from player recruitment to player’s nutrition, is required for the club to begin to move forward.

Even after all this, many questions remain unresolved; where are we playing next year? Will the rent reduction come? Who will be manager?

It looks as if the next 8 weeks are going to be very interesting.