Issue Vox populi, vox Dei: The right and proper coverage of anti-Todd

As told by Michael Wood

I was begged by email today – always a curiosity – to give coverage o the counter-point argument to three articles which had run this week on BfB all of which concluded that keeping Colin Todd as Bradford City manager was the right thing to do.

I did not write any of the articles nor did I ask for them to be written – submissions are always welcomed with open arms but rarely solicited with the mood of the day prompting writers more than I could ever do – and I thought the second of the three was written in reaction to the first but nevertheless the idea was that there was a counterpoint I was wilfully ignoring.

I was failing to represent the “anti-Todd” side I was told.

The phrase mulled around my head on Friday night’s journey back from Manchester. “Anti-Todd” as if the other three articles had been personal aggrandiseations of the City boss rather than comments more on the merits of stability and of the manager’s performance. I dislike the phrase “anti-Todd” intensely – BfB is not a place for personal attacks – but poor phrasing is not enough to mask a growing voice around Valley Parade.

All of which was moot in any case. No article landed in the BfB inbox and went unpublished this week – only two have in six years – and as of this morning (Friday) nothing “anti-Todd” had been submitted.

Now counter-point has been received and is online for all to read. One columnist requested a screen name for his article a request we denied – we have a policy of not publishing in anonymity lest this site becomes like so many other dismembered floating voices of Message Boards without accountability for opinion which certainly Roland Harris has had this week – and I hope that in denying that request the article can still be published.

Nevertheless the verbalisation of the comments against Colin Todd’s management of the club has begun and is on BfB.

At BfB we often read comments about how a reader enjoys the site but does not understand why writer x gets column inches. The fact we throw the doors open to all opinions is a strength of the website and a strength I am proud of. Love or loathe BfB it is always going to carry the opinion of those who write for us. As Franklin said “Decisions are made by those who turn up.”

Opinion is good. Both comments are soft-tagged as “anti-Todd” but neither makes a personal attack on the man. They talk about how he does his job something we as City fans are free to – if not obliged to – comment on.

My personal opinion on Todd – the one which informs the majority of the news on this website – is that he needs to make some changes in how the team plays and could make more of the playing resources at the club. I believe that he is a man of some experience in football and a reasonable amount of flexibility which comes with having had many jobs and can make those changes in situ.

That is my opinion on Colin Todd. If Colin Todd were to give his views on this website and on websites in general I’m sure I’d give it the same weight he gives my comments on his job and rightly so.

However it is also right that those who have a grievance to air with Todd have a forum to do so – this forum – and use it to state considered opinion without anonymity.

Ultimately opinions voiced in what is one of the more trusted forums than most for football fans – well City fans – to air their views adds to a general pressure on Julian Rhodes and Colin Todd that suggests a change or a course of action. If the only way for supporters to suggest a course of action to Rhodes and Todd is to use the banner headline comments of manager sacking then it is sad and hints at an inflexible polarisation which should not be at any level in any football club but especially not this football club.

Should the pressure suggest a change to Todd – a change of tactics or picking policy – then so be it. Vox populi, vox Dei. It is right and proper that the supporters have a voice – no – a chorus of voices representing the differing opinions around Valley Parade – which is listened to.

Personally I hope that Colin Todd stays at Valley Parade – many of his ideas make sense to me – but it concerns me that after the lessons of the authoritarian years of Geoffrey Richmond’s time at Bradford City still the only way for a dialogue between club and supporters to exist is in calls for sackings.