Issue McCall’s reward of a new contract is armour for Lawn and Rhodes

As told by Michael Wood

As far as signals of intent go Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes offering Stuart McCall a new contract could not be clearer.

As far as statements of fact go Mark Lawn’s unequivocal comments on the club he has been at for eighteen months could not be truer

“Bradford City have had enough turmoil and non-stability at this club.”

Lawn, Rhodes and McCall will sit around a table this weekend and start talking about a new contract for the Gaffer that will improve his deal and give a seal of approval to his first year and a half as a manager and as manager at Bradford City. It is Lawn cutting dead the talk of if McCall The Boss will work out and declaring that it has worked out. It is Lawn saying to every Bradford City fan that Stuart McCall is the man to get behind to put a line under – once and for all – debates about his aptitude for the job.

Lawn is no one’s fool and in a typically Bradfordian way knows the value of a pound. He trust McCall to make good on the investment in Bradford City he has made and with good reason. McCall looked at Jon Shaw of Halifax on a free but would not match Rochdale’s £70,000 bid for him. Six months later McCall is getting the best out of Barry Conlon and Shaw – £70,000 and all – is being loaned out to Crawley. Oh but if every Bradford City manager had had such concern over the chairman’s money.

Anyone watching the Bantams this year should have noticed an improvement in the quality – if not the skill – of the football. Stuart McCall’s midfield controller Paul McLaren might not have the passing touch of Colin Todd’s Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (although some would say he does) but he certainly fits into a team with more ease.

The same is true all over the park. McCall’s players are on the whole less able than those who played in any of the teams since relegation from the Premiership but they play far better as a unit and have a greater team understanding. These talents – ascribed to McCall – are scalable and Lawn/Rhodes have recognised that.

Some may suggest that without midfield injuries Stuart McCall’s side would sit where Wycombe Wanderers do now – a debatable point if ever one was presented – but more importantly with the crippling treatment room McCall’s team maintained robust results which says much about how well embedded McCall’s ideas are within the club and the way the team plays. One of the more impressive wins on paper at least – 2-1 over Milton Keynes Dons was done with a rag-tag collection of players in the middle of the park.

McCall’s future at City – once contract is signed – can only be bright. With promotion this season not the deciding factor in his employment he has the security of not having to race for the finishing line at all costs during this transfer window and should the worst happen and the Bantams be lining up for more League Two next year then one doubts we would be less competitive. I believe that come May a top three place will be assured and McCall – like Paul Ince, Paul Simpson and Peter Taylor – will be being talked about as a manager for move up (Ince did – with little success) with this extended contract as armour to defend the man who has – along with Lawn – restored stability to the club.