Why Barry Davies should not come to Valley Parade any time soon

I never really cared for the commentary of Barry Davies preferring the more factual style of The Motson but Davies has one riposte that comes to mind in City’s current situation.

When asked who he thought would win a match Davies would give the same cheery reply of “If I knew that I would not be here.”

Davies believed that the beauty in the game was the inherent unpredictably. The fact that anyone could win a game was – for Davies – the game.

He would have a shock at Valley Parade where the Bantams chances have been declared done.

All over Bradford the defeat to Darlington has seen City’s hopes for the year consigned to history as if the season had already been played out and this were just a rerun. As if from these past six games a season could be extrapolated.

Perhaps such a bit of sooth-saying is possible but my quarter of a century plus watching City has told me otherwise. I’ve seen City roar to the top of Leagues which they later finished 17th in – 2001 under Jim Jefferies springs to mind – and I’ve seen City get two points from the first seven games in 1998/1999 and we all know how that ended up don’t we?

The Bantams have played a dozen games which at the moment seem to be split between the good half dozen and the bad ones – although at BfB we call them the pre and post-Paul Arnison eras – and it seems to have crystallised in many supporters conciousness that the poorer games are some how more of a representation of the players true abilities than those good ones were.

All of which requires you to believe in the idea that teams and players are either “good” or “bad” as if they could be given numerical ratings and quantified. Teams either play well or they do not. There is nothing else. The City team that celebrated at Wolves in May 1999 were no better footballers than the one that kicked off the season at home to Stockport County they just played better and by that one could qualify with the words got better results.

Today phrases like “dire” are being thrown at City – nothing is ever as bad or as good as reactionary opinion says – but after the round of League Two matches on the evening the Bantams sit in a play-off place in seventh four points off the lead and two off an automatic promotion slot while some supporters are saying that the Bantams are doomed to another season in this bottom division. One doubts that Gillingham and Darlington fans – whom have both got results from City in the last four days – are considering all to be lost and they fill the two positions below us.

Like the team of 1998/1999 Stuart McCall’s team need to build the confidence to minimise defeats and the mental strength to move on to the next three points which are no less available the next time the team takes they field as a second head is on a coin that has just flipped a first.

It is somewhat upsetting though that those players have to build that confidence without the assistance of supporters who are so used to negativity that they look at a play-off place as being an indication that the team will not be promoted. Perhaps it is a self-fulfilling prophecy? Certainly no one could accuse you of looking at the situation with rose tinted glasses if you suggested that a team that is in the play-offs might get promoted.

Why predict at all? Barry Davies would not have because the game is at its heart unpredictable – yes Hull City we mean you – and to be honest saying that a club will not get promoted is a little like betting that any given horse will not win the Grand National. It sounds smarter than it is.

Where did this negativity come from? Why has it taken a grip at Valley Parade and all over football? Moreover though why is it that when given to predictions supporters indulge in this negativity?

Why not look at these six games as the blip and the six before as common form?

Stuart is gone for his tea

Real football isn’t Championship Manager I keep reading but if it was what would Stuart McCall be doing after last night’s defeat 2-1 to Darlington?

He might say it was unfair that the home team got a later goal when their tiny midfielder out jumped Matt Clarke. “As if that would happen!”

He would probably say the same out Kevin Austin’s free kick five minutes from time that looped over Rhys Evans but maybe he should take a look at Evans who made a couple of great saves but was beaten too easily by this free kick.

He might do that thing where you clear all the players and pick your best eleven again but if he did would he include Barry Conlon who was booed by the home fans because he was playing so well cleaning everything out at the back.

He might wonder why his team has started letting in two goals a game in the last six games and look to the game before this bad run started. The difference is in the full backs. Luke O’Brien is coming on well but TJ Moncur and the way he ignores Joe Colbeck in front of him is huge problem.

The pressure on the ball on the flanks has been lessened as has the amount of possession City enjoy in a game and much of this is down to the full back positions and how those who play them play the game.

Dean Furman almost had another impressive game alongside Paul McLaren who looked good but it was Furman who was caught in possession allowing the home side a second goal as he looked for a perfect pass rather than doing the simple ball.

City did some simple things well for most of the game but were caught out trying to ease out a draw and now go to Grimsby down on luck and looking for a win at a team that haven’t got three points all season. Stuart has been watching players who know better and who has has seen play better make mistakes in the last few games and that is depressing. Darlington was different and most of the defensive mistakes of the past few games were ironed out for most of the game but still at the end the Bantams resistance was undone by errors.

How will Stuart approach the game on Friday? How will he turn things around? If life were like Championship Manager he’d probably turn it off and go for his tea instead.

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