Issue Schumacher’s Exit Will See Crewe Reap The Rewards Of City’s Endeavours

As told by Michael Wood

I will admit to a softness for City’s combative midfielder Steven Schumacher and so his move to Crewe Alex for a nominal fee upsets me. Schumacher is very much the type of player who the future of Bradford City is – like it or not – in the hands of.

Signing as a former England skipper rejected by Everton Schumacher arrived at Bradford looking to kick start his career and having spend three years in League One and not having to take the drop with his team mates one could argue that his has done just that. Looking at Schumacher’s career to date one could suggest that like many, many other kids coming out of Premiership clubs his status as a footballer depends not on his ability to justify a contract from a club looking for the next bounce back to the top flight but rather his ability to get a contract beyond that. Every club has top flight lads who come in with huge expectations and exit with a whimper. Schumacher has exited without huge glory but a third club is more than most get.

Yet watching Schumacher was often a frustrating experience. His first season was impressive and his second famously as bad as his first was good after Colin Todd – won over by eight goals in two games form a midfield powered by Schumacher and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson – seemed to decided that those two could ball players could be City’s route out of League One. Both preferred a more solid man next to them – Schumacher and Tom Kearney had made a great partnership for the Bantams as did Lee Crooks and Bridge-Wilkinson – but together they could never recapture the two the sword play they ran through AFC Bournemouth and Brentford at the end of that first season.

Schumacher suffered like all players in that second club do as he grew up in the harsh light of Valley Parade. Like many who have impressed for City in recent years it was away from home with the pressure off that he shone with his engine purring up and down Roots Hall and Ashton Gate consistently for the eighteen months where his home form disserted him.

Towards the end of his time at Valley Parade and under the stewardship of David Wetherall Schumacher showed signs of maturity in his play and his attitude. His dismissive swearing at City fans at Chesterfield was nobody’s finest hour but the player’s temperament had come to a part where he felt that criticism aimed at the team was aimed at him. One suspects other players on the field that day would have pointed at their team mates rather than shouldering the blame to react badly.

Were it not for relegation Schumacher would have probably have signed a new deal under Stuart McCall and the former City number four would have been looking for someone to play anchor behind the more attacking man in a McCall-style holding position but such was not to be and Schumacher goes onto Crewe with a new dawn starting behind him. For a time few will miss him.

However if Everton gave birth to Steven Schumacher then it is Bradford City who brought the player up. His hundred plus games for the Bantams are his education in football and turned him from would be professional kid into professional footballer. We get a nominal fee as a reward for our endeavours but Crewe stand to reap the rewards, whatever they may be.