Issue Everything changes too often

As told by Michael Wood

The silence observed, the t-shirts proudly worn, You’ll Never Walk Alone sung and the football began with Bradford City finishing off a home season which had seen seven wins and eight draws at Valley Parade with an eighth victory courtesy of two sensational goals from Gareth Evans in the type of performance that if the Bantams are to be celebrating in twelve months times City fans will have become used to.

Peter Taylor’s teams play a measured football and play it well standing apart from the hurly burly of most of League Two. Patterns established are followed, players are given roles and simple tasks and results ground out.

Sure enough when the visitors – who came to Valley Parade chasing a play-off place – were reduced to ten men when Dean Beckwith pulled back Leon Osbourne as the young striker broke from the half way line then the path to victory for Taylor could not have been clearer. Already a goal up Taylor was able to tell him team to pass the ball around and let Northampton Town tire themselves out.

So a game that City were nudging ahead in – once Gareth Evans had given The Bantams a first half lead with a goal of the season of a chest down and long range hit – became a matter of how many City would be able to put past the flagging visitors with goalkeeper Jason Steele – and a good performance by defender Andrew Holt – ending up being all that stopped City running out with a half dozen goals.

A limited side Northampton’s threat was mainly in the power of striker Adebayo Akinfenwa who battled with Matthew Clarke for the seventy seven minutes he was on the field winning the odd free kick that seemed more threatening in the build up than they proved to be in practice. While one can be sure that Ian Sampson’s sides had had better afternoons the ineffectual display they – on the whole – endured serves to show how problematic escaping this division can be. That a team so limited can be pushing for a play off place says much how to get promoted.

So Taylor’s team are grinding out results and it is not always pretty to watch – although today saw the Bantams enjoy some lovely football not least of which was Adam Bolder’s delightful cross which Gareth Evans slammed in acrobatically from close range – but it is effective. Taylor’s reading of the game saw the the advantage the Bantams had and exploited it to a point when City ended up comfortable winners. It might not have been the expensive every minute is the chance to start an attack that Stuart McCall’s teams tried but it was impressive coaching.

All of which begs the question as to why – if it were possible – the club have not has Taylor sign a longer term deal? Peter Taylor is fairly obviously the best manager City could have found post-McCall but now the one year deal he has signed sets him very much in a situation where the manager has to win promotion, or be on his way.

As players like Steve Williams, James Hanson and Gareth Evans who arrived last summer are bear fruit in their performances but – as will happen in a club that steadfastly refuses to plan in the long term – there is uncertainty. It would be nice to be able to sit down with players like those three – and other signings we might look to make in the summer – and talk about more than just the idea that in a year’s time everything goes right, or everything changes.

At least the new strip – a tedious amber shirt with thin claret pin-stripe – will change in a year. One could just wish that the tendency to see different as better could be less all encompassing at Bradford City.