Sunday 5th September, 20104 years ago, at the start of September

When there’s no end in sight…

The Team

  • Jon McLaughlin | Lewis Hunt, Shane Duff, Luke Oliver, Robbie Threlfall | David Syers, Tom Adeyemi, Tommy Doherty, Luke O'Brien | Jake Speight, Gareth Evans | Louis Moult (for Adeyemi), Leon Osborne (for O'Brien)

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Bradford City 0 Port Vale 2 At Valley Parade in League Two, 2010/2011

Part unfortunate, part self-inflicted. Bradford City’s fourth consecutive defeat carried greater meaning and misery than a mere glance at the fledgling League Two table.

Commentating on The Pulse, Michael Flynn – oh how he is missed on the field – perceptively summed up the home crowd’s inevitable discontent at 2-0 down as more than just unrest over a fourth league defeat in five, but because it caused further prodding of the open scar that is ten years of dismal failure. A decade ago City were facing Manchester United and Arsenal in the space of a week; no one needs reminding of the subsequent bumpy fall, and there’s a lot of baggage that will only be released when overdue success eventually occurs.

But until then, that baggage weighs heavy on this current crop of players.

This was a much improved display by City, easily their best performance in the league to date. Yet the confident visitors ultimately deserved the three points after narrowly holding the edge in most areas of the pitch. Those who write off Port Vale as an average side arguably miss the point of what it takes to succeed at this level.

Sure they were ungainly and a succession of physical challenges perhaps deserved greater punishment – both Marc and Justin Richards deserved second yellow cards – but those who succeed in escaping this division upwards are invariably as good at battling as they are putting the ball in the net. Four years on from Stuart McCall noting City needed bigger players to better compete, the Bantams are still some way off possessing the resilience that grinds out regular victories.

Back in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, City made an excellent start and for once managed to set the tempo of the game; but the narrow way the midfield was lined up and lack of pace in the wide areas limited creativity. Peter Taylor does not seem to favour out and out wingers and, although left midfielder Luke O’Brien and right midfielder David Syers acquitted themselves well, no one seemed able or willing to run at people.

It was all a bit predictable.

The main battle was fought between the two Richards and Luke Oliver and Shane Duff. City’s centre backs stood up to the physical challenge for much of the game, but criminally the whole team switched off from a Port Vale corner on the half hour and Marc powerfully headed home to give Vale a crucial lead in a game where the first goal felt so vital.

City argued strongly that the corner shouldn’t have been awarded following a Vale handball in the box during the previous attack, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of marking. And the decision was evened out minutes later when O’Brien appeared to haul down Gary Roberts inside the area, only for a free kick on the edge of the box to be awarded. Referee David Coote and his assistants gave bizarre decisions against both sides all afternoon. This was his Football League debut and one questions whether appointing him to officiate in front of such a large crowd at this stage of his career was a sensible one.

Although Vale’s goal rocked City for a five-minute period, they regained composure and were unfortunate not to equalise before the break. Jake Speight, making his full debut, continued to impress and one jinxing run from the corner flag to penalty area saw home defender Gareth Owen hit his own bar. Seconds later Speight missed an open goal when he unnecessarily handled trying to control the ball – he just needed to poke it home. Any half time boos were drowned out by supportive applause from other fans for the effort.

But while the atmosphere was much improved following Southend, limited patience meant in the second half the crowd again turned on the team when it needed to stay positive. Listen to opposition managers talk before they bring their team to Valley Parade and without fail they mention City’s crowd. All appear to use it as part of their tactics – how can we get them to turn on their own players? We supporters are being used against our own, and it’s time we wised up to it. As attacks broke down, the groans got louder and when Taylor made a double substitution he was booed for taking O’Brien off.

It can’t be a coincidence that, having got the visitors on the back foot and unable to get out of their own half for a spell, the sloppiness and uncertainty to City’s play returned when frustration from the stands was allowed to fill the air. Though there was no excuse for the craziness of the second goal which killed the game and could have a major effect on City’s season.

It was a comedy of errors. All afternoon Jon McLaughlin and his centre backs had attempted to play the ball out from the back, but the high pressing of the Richards’ usually saw it abandoned. This time the keeper rolled it out and a risky ball was worked up to Doherty, who was quickly closed down. The cultured midfielder attempted a woeful chipped backpass that McLaughlin failed to control under pressure, presenting Justin with a tap in.

The boos understandably rang out, but as the game kicked off and Doherty’s every touch was also greeted with boos a line had been crossed. I’ve no time for people who think it was right to boo City’s number 8, no matter how heat of the moment it was. It was disgusting, it was moronic and frankly it’s time such people found something else to do on a Saturday afternoon.

We cannot allow a culture where mistakes are booed, because every player will simply retreat into their shell and only play safe passes – and City will not prosper.

As I walked back to the car at the end I had a lively debate with a guy I know from the pub who reckoned Taylor should be sacked and Doherty is a waste of space. The Doherty-bashing is growing and I don’t understand it. Our problem is not that we have a player like Doherty in the side – but that we don’t have enough players as good as him.

Some of his passing during the game was stunning, he picked out balls that no one was capable of spotting or producing so accurately. He misplaced some passes and his mistake for the goal – which McLaughlin was hardly blamelessly for -was bad, but City need to build the team around him rather than get rid.

And that’s where the main problem left over from the Southend defeat remained. If 4-4-2 is to be used, a ball winner has to be deployed in the middle of the park so Doherty can do what he does best. But his partner Tom Adeyemi is, at this moment, badly struggling to adapt to this level. He looked poor in possession and incapable of winning the ball back. Dropping Lee Bullock was highly questionable and, until Flynn is fit, he or the impressive Syers should be starting alongside Doherty as they can do the defensive work that then frees Doherty to hurt the opposition with his obvious ability.

City battled to the end, but over the course of the 90 minutes the amount of decent chances on goal was worryingly low. Omar Daley, away on international duty, was badly missed and Taylor must contemplate signing a winger this week to replace Neilson. Gareth Evans struggled to make an impact and James Hanson – officially, at least, injured. Though there’s a whisper his off-the-field behaviour has angered Taylor – was missed. If 4-4-2 is continued, a Hanson-Speight partnership looks the best option.

And as the final whistle blew and an impressive Vale following loudly celebrating a win that keeps them fourth – but only seven points above City – it was the greater team ethic that had won the game, and which City must replicate.  The uncompromising Jon McCombe and Owen at the back, the close tie up of full backs and wingers and the clever inter-change between the two Richards up front – Port Vale were a team of intuitive relationships, which City are not yet close to matching.

Right now the players look too unsure of what each other will do, and only when they begin to feel and look like a team will fortunes improve. It will take time.

But in the midst of louder calls for Taylor to go and criticism towards Chairmen Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn – the latter the subject of worrying rumours that he’s fallen out with Taylor, which he would be wise to publicly address this week – it has to be remembered this was an improvement. Good enough? No. But something to build on and take into next week’s game at Stockport.

The doom and gloom descends again, the pain of the last 10 years remains at the forefront of the mind. But the calmest people at Bradford City right now need to be Taylor, Rhodes and Lawn. As for us supporters, an atmosphere akin to Rochdale away last season has to be produced at Edgeley Park. It’s not just on the field where City need to become more of a team.

The Team

  • Jon McLaughlin | Lewis Hunt, Shane Duff, Luke Oliver, Robbie Threlfall | David Syers, Tom Adeyemi, Tommy Doherty, Luke O'Brien | Jake Speight, Gareth Evans | Louis Moult (for Adeyemi), Leon Osborne (for O'Brien)

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33 Comments

  1. Andy Garrard says:

    I would like to take an alternative view on the mentality of fans at the moment, as much comment has been made on the negativity and to some, how we are the worse supporters in the league as a result. (Michael Wood note: I’m not sure how it was reported elsewhere but my article of the other day – and Dave Pendleton’s reflections – concluded that City did not have the worst fans in football.)

    After yesterdays defeat I totalled up the number of wins, draws and losses since the 2001-2002 season and found that out of 419 league games we have only won 133 (31.7%) and lost 175 (41.8%). Importantly, we have not won 68.3% of games in that time period.

    Therefore, when Flynn offered his analysis on The Pulse he could not have had his finger more on it.
    But OK, I understand that percentages, figures and statistics do not represent the whole experience. So what has the human experience being like since then?

    Two relegations, no play-off excitement or promotion, two administrations and a league finish no higher than 9th. Worryingly, our descent has followed a striking pattern of relegation after a couple of seasons of mid-table mediocrity, which I’m sure every City fan has picked up on.

    Despite all this, we have one of the largest away followings in the league, one of the largest home followings in the lower divisions, invest our money on merchandise, our time on Saturdays and to many, the whole week thinking about our football team.

    So when the players emerge from the dressing room on matchday, we expect them to give 100% to the cause in the same way we have invested time and money following them.
    At the moment there is not enough fight or passion in the team. Stevenage, Southend and Port Vale all dominated the midfield and were first to every ball. There has been nothing flash about their performances – they have just put in more effort. The players are not working hard enough for one-another and quite frankly, they don’t look like they want it enough. This also impacts on our attacking play. The reluctance to overlap, run forward into space when in possession amd bust-a-gut to get into the box for crosses is indicative of their overall effort. The fact that every play needs to go through Doherty, who tries to play 50 yard killer balls from deep instead of doing the basics correctly, does not help matters either.

    The sooner they are told that effort will always be applauded (look at the example of Speight), and that we are not a one man team (Doherty), the sooner we will get back on track.

    1. Jason Mckeown says:

      “The sooner they are told that effort will always be applauded (look at the example of Speight), and that we are not a one man team (Doherty), the sooner we will get back on track.”

      In theory this should be correct, but sadly a number of supporters (at least where I sit) slate players who are at least working hard. Gareth Evans was continually moaned at yesterday, and there’s no doubting his workrate and commitment. However he didn’t play well either, and this is what was picked up on. There were other players too who worked hard but were loudly abused. Where I sat it began with Luke OB, then Adeyami, then Evans, then Doherty, then Threlfall and back to Doherty and Evans at the end.

      The people doing this have absolutely no interest in supporting the players. Even when we were playing well they sat their in silence and waited for the next misplaced pass so they could moan again. Not everyone who boos is like this, but it’s a fact that there a large number of fans who attend games with the sole motivation of complaining about how awful we are and how awful it is they have to suffer it.

      If City put out a team of 11 players who worked really hard, it wouldn’t be enough no matter how much we believe it would. What we need is craft, guile and cleverness. Doherty may not run around in the same manner as Syers, but he has the ability to produce match winning passes that can make a huge difference. I maintain our failing is not having people like Doherty, it’s not using players like Doherty effectively enough.

  2. Jacob Billingsley says:

    The above comments illustrate why I don’t believe Omar Daley was/is missed at all. Yesterday Speight/O’Brien/Evans/Syers were chasing balls out wide that Daley would have not only given up on, but berated the man who passed them.

    I agree that a Speight/Hanson partnership seems like a good prospect, but equally a trio of those two and Evans would be enticing in my mind, and allow Doherty as part of a 3 man midfield to have a bit of space, and time on the ball to make the plays.

    I would also be happy to see Williams in ahead of Oliver (I thought Duff was decent yesterday), and with Ramsden back at RB, it just leaves O’B or Threlfall (who seems pretty off the boil at the moment) and things might not be as bad as they seem.

    All that said, it does need to get better soon.

    Chicken/egg = good victories/atmosphere. (?)

    1. Michael Wood says:

      Recalling our first season in the Premiership which most would agree was something of a high watermark it was marked by booing of players like Dean Windass. Without much doubt the atmosphere has been poor at times even during the best football.

  3. Stuart McGregor says:

    Echoing my previous comments on here, in the chicken/egg and results/atmosphere debate, I still truly think the support issue is a fairly simple one. You can’t simply make fans forget season after season of failure, and the only thing that will do this is results in matches and seasons.

    On the flipside fans still do have responsibility to aid their side, and I think we as fans must wise up as Jason astutely points out – don’t let ourselves become part of the opposition plans.

    When (hopefully not if) we start to put together goals and results at home I think we will see vociforous support – maybe not even the first time we win a match, but after a series of credible results. Bradford fans are not naive to the fact that the club should be better than this league, so even winning a couple of matches will only be the start.

    One thing I would emphasise – hopefully everyone knows that the answer is not losing yet another manager.
    Sacking Colin Todd was a mistake. Let’s remember that….let alone all the others.

  4. Phil Hobbs says:

    Maybe it’s because we were starting from a low base, but I actually enjoyed yesterday’s game (up to a point). We seemed to have a bit more fire and wanted it a bit more than the 2 previous dreadful league games.
    OK, so we switched off at a corner, but we had shown a bit more endeavour in the first 45 minutes than in the whole of the 180 minutes that preceded it. Vale probably just edged the first half and deserved the lead, but there wasn’t much in it. As has been commented on, we just didn’t quite have the strength in the middle of the park – Doherty isn’t a ball winner and needs someone alongside him to make the tackle & give him the ball – on current showing, that isn’t Adeyemi.
    We came out with purpose in the 2nd half & certainly seemed to rattle Vale, who kept up with their niggling trips & handballs. One particularly cynical foul when we broke from defending a corner didn’t even merit a talking to, let alone a yellow card.
    But we can’t blame the ref for the 2nd goal, which was bizarre in the extreme – Doherty got a hospital ball, but played it far too casually back to Jon Mac, who just made a complete hash of it. Apparently, Taylor blames him, rather than Doherty, which perhaps shows who are HIS players & who aren’t?
    I couldn’t believe it when he was being booed immediately afterwards & stood up to applaud him & berate the moaners. However, it does demonstrate that the players that Taylor has made a big play of bringing to the club are seen as HIS men & I think their failings will be picked on quicker than say Evans’.
    Syers was man of the match for me – intelligent runs & no little skill either – certainly offered much more than young Tom in the middle of the pitch. Speight has the look of Cadamarteri (or dare I say our Brazilian Edinho) and will win over the doubters if he keeps running & annoying central defenders like he did yesterday.
    It’s not all doom & gloom – Doherty made some great passes yesterday & will only improve with matches under his belt. Duff looked pretty solid, but I can’t agree about missing Daley – I didn’t know he was on international duty & had automatically assumed that after his appalling display against Southend he had just been dropped!
    So, to Edgley Park & with just the committed going hopefully the moans won’t appear?
    Come on you Bantams!

  5. John Loxam says:

    I stick by my 100% agreement with David Pendleton’s claim -even if he might not have truly meant it- that we have the worst supporters in football. It’s not all the supporters of course, but it is a very significant number -Accy Stanley would be well pleased to be getting the number as a home attendance -but not that type ‘support’. I would rather 100 or so City fans travel away and encourage the players from start to finish of a game -like in the ‘old days’- than 1500 of whom approximately a third to a half are going to boo or abuse their own players. No, I don’t have any thesis or scientific study that I can point to that supports my opinion, only my own experience of watching City home and away. What the hell is the benefit of having a large home support -apart from the obvious financial benefit, but even that is debatable at our season ticket prices- or large away following if a very sizeable number of those are effectively a greater benefit to the opposition than their own team? I find myself cringing and worrying at what response will be dealt when a player mis-controls or plays a bad pass. I am one of those supporters who has had to endure the last 10 years of watching City as well, but I don’t boo or shout abuse because I am not stupid enough to believe it does my team any good. Would it do me any good? well, say I felt better for the next 10 seconds then what? would my booing fill my team with confidence and result in them suddenly playing fast one touch Arsenalesque type football? or would it have a much longer than 10 seconds negative effect on the team?

    Jason says ‘We cannot allow a culture where mistakes are booed’. But I fear this culture has been been gradually acquiring strength over the last 2-3 seasons and has set down some deep roots. The supporters that booed Doherty on Saturday are the pits, they should be doing something more worthwhile with their £110 or £150 a season -or whatever it is they pay to throw their rotting fruit in the faces of the City players. I have run out of patience with many of the disgraceful ‘paying public’ visitors to VP. They are not part of my ‘Team of supporters’ they are alien to me, I don’t understand their behaviour, their thought process,their logic I don’t fit in with their culture and they don’t fit with mine, we are Oceans apart.

  6. Chris Lofthouse says:

    “The Doherty-bashing is growing and I don’t understand it. Our problem is not that we have a player like Doherty in the side – but that we don’t have enough players as good as him.

    Some of his passing during the game was stunning, he picked out balls that no one was capable of spotting or producing so accurately. He misplaced some passes and his mistake for the goal – which McLaughlin was hardly blamelessly for -was bad, but City need to build the team around him rather than get rid.”

    I couldn’t agree more Jason. I heard someone yesterday say “Doherty’s not a footballer, get rid”. Comments like this prove a percentage of our fans simply don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Doherty is the most naturally gifted player we have, and a midfield 3 of him (sublime distributor), Bullock (the ball winner) and Flynn ( the link between midfield and attack) is mouthwatering…

  7. Richard Wardell says:

    Another excellent match report from Jason.

    Having not been able to make it to a game since Stevenage at home, I was looking forward to yesterday’s game. As Phil states above, I too, actually enjoyed the game up to a point. I thought that we got better towards the end of the first half and when you’re struggling towards the bottom of the division, the deflection by the Port Vale player that hit the underside of the cross bar usually comes back out on the wrong side of the goal line.

    I’d heard from people who’d been to Toquay away and Southend at home how poor we’d been. So to come out in the second half and play the way that we did was encouraging. Up until the errors that led to their second goal, we were certainly the better team.

    Today sees us in our lowest league position since I started supporting Bradford City over 22 years ago. (I remember been 21st in Divison 4 under McCall.) However, as a club we must stick together; players, supporters, the manager and chairmen. If Lawn has had a bust up with Taylor this needs sorting out very quickly indeed. When a club is struggling for results, it’s easy for eachother to point the finger at somebody else.

    As Jacob points out above, I too would rather see Williams partner Duff at the back. But Peter Taylor picks the team and all this talk of another sacking is utter b**locks. It f**ks me off. And yes I stated my support for McCall to stay as our manager on this website last season.

    I am proud to say that I stayed to the final whistle yesterday and applauded the team off the pitch. Speight, O’Brien and Syers all had good games.

    Let’s all stick together during these dark days.

  8. Jake Ferm says:

    I have so far seen three league games this season: Torquay, Southend and Port Vale. What concerns me most is that we have rarely threatened scoring in these games and, had the opposition been more clinical, we could easily have conceded four or five in each. For all McCall’s failings and his supposed ‘tactical naivety’, his sides played attacking football and even if the team lost, it was still usually possible to reflect that they had enough chances to get a result had our strikers put them away or had more luck. Yesterday, Vale were the better side and could have been out of sight by half-time. Whilst I do not agree with booing the players, it is difficult for the crowd to get behind them if they don’t look like scoring.

    Taylor generally likes his teams to play defensive, percentage football. This approach was undeniably effective at Wycombe where Taylor had a group of quality defenders at his disposal including Mike Williamson who is now Newcastle’s first choice centre half. The current City starting lineup has no defenders of his quality and has an inexperienced goalkeeper. We have kept one clean sheet so far this season and, by all accounts, we were fortunate against Stevenage.

    What worked at Wycombe doesn’t seem to be working at City. We lacked penetration up front yesterday – the ball doesn’t stick with Evans and Speight up front; Syers and O’Brien are not wingers. There clearly are good players in the squad like Doherty but they don’t seem to be performing. I am confident that Taylor will get to know how his players like to play and find a system that gets the best out of them. However, it could take months for that to happen and the likes of Shrewsbury and Torquay are already quickly pulling away from us.

  9. Michael Wood says:

    However, it could take months for that to happen and the likes of Shrewsbury and Torquay are already quickly pulling away from us.

    I’ve always thought that to win promotion a team needs to have two good thirds to the season. Back in 1999 we opened poorly but by the time the second third had finished we were second and in the third third we did well enough to go up. A look at League Two backs up the idea that promotion is never sown up early. When a team starts to gather points – in League Two at least – climbing seems possible.

  10. Leon Carroll says:

    As I said to Michael on a different website this weekend, I spent my dinner at work writing a comment on his article about “the worst fans in football” but ditched it at the last minute as I couldn’t quite articulate my point with the clock ticking to the end of my break. So I just want to say that John Loxam said exactly what I was trying to say. Thanks John!

    Furthermore whilst I’ve only been to the Forest game this season and have been spared the depressing league games, I thought Doherty was a class act, and the fact that he was booed and described as “not a footballer” just illustrates the other point I was trying to make on Friday lunchtime – lots of football fans (or perhaps ‘paying spectators’) know f**k all about football and wouldn’t know intelligent play if it bit them on the a*se.

    As some others have said, here’s hoping Flynn returns soon to get on the end of some of those passes…

  11. Dan Horsfall says:

    Obviously we’ve got a lot of 15 year-old pillocks in the crowd and, for that matter, a fair smattering of older idiots as well, but the ‘worst fans’ tag has been eating away at me.

    These are the fans who gave time and money to save their club twice. Fans who have supported City through what has been a lot more thin than thick. Fans who turn out in their thousands to watch division four football, be it at the reasonable season ticket rate, or the extortionate matchday rate.

    These are fans who have stuck by a club even though the quality of the players we have had has progressively declined, the realistic ambitions of the club have become more modest, and the standard of football has hit rock bottom. Fans who have bought a new shirt or two every season, gone whenever they could and purchased the city live subscription service on the off chance that they can’t make it.

    Yeah it annoys me when the fans boo and it frustrates me that anyone who shows any amount of flair (Doherty, Colbeck, Daley) is instantly not ‘one of ours’. But worst fans?

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we lost 2-0 at home to Port Vale in division 4 on saturday in a game that we never expected or looked likely to win, leaving us in what must be the lowest position we’ve ever inhabited in the football league (90th).

    It’s early days and booing still doesn’t help, but notice that the boos are louder, earlier, and more consistent than they ever were under Stuart.

    1. Jason Mckeown says:

      I don’t think all us City fans can be labelled as one – ie the worst fans in football. Perhaps though we can all agree that we have some of the worst fans in football.

  12. Mark Ashdown says:

    Saturday was indeed an interesting game. Turning on and critisising fans isn’t really the point, some of those involved may not be the worst in football but many are frequently the drunkest! For the players and manager to take such umbridge at alcohol induced rantings seems a little ill-informed and churlish. Fans always seem to get the rough end of a poor performance on the pitch for instance at Taylor’s second game versus Accrington last season. I first went to city in 1967 and have never observed worse, whatever abuse the hopeless wasters who donned the shirt on the pitch received was richly deserved.A number of them have been retained for reasons I fail to understand. City seem to have the ground, big support and loyal leadership in Lawn and Rhodes (They saved the club after all). Only a team worthy of all of that appears to be missing. Many of us will be at Stockport, an average day out now assumes a huge air of importance this early in the season.
    Mark
    Ashdown

  13. Ron Beaumont says:

    There was much to be positive about yesterday and in many ways we deserved far better than what we got. BUT…. we seem unable to find a way of getting the best from what is somewhat mistakenly called our “midfield”. I see a lot of promise in Tom Doherty and thought he was well supported by Luke O.B. on the pitch and by most of the fans around me at least. What was worrying however was the way he was forced further and further back until he became part of the back line rather than driving the team forward from midfield. This is not the first time this has happened and most opposition seem to know that pressing Doherty stifles much of what City can offer.
    The key to solving this problem seems, to me at least, the two other midfield players. O’Brien did his job well and still can make a case for this as his best position so I can not fathom why he was taken off.Tom Adeyemi however looked woefully out of his depth and offered nothing to the other two – I think it was almost 15 minutes into the game before he touched the ball and most of the play went on around him. He seems to lack the strength for the job when tracking back or closing players down.(Luke O.B has all the attributes whether at full back or in midfield.)
    Bullock is best when playing the deeper role so why did he have to watch from the bench as Doherty was pressed back?

    Taylor’s style does not appeal to me but I am prepared to accept he has far more knowledge and experience of the game than I have.That being the case, why are so many of his selections and substitutions so bewildering and seem not to address the problem that most fair-minded supporters can see all too easily?
    I wont boo. I wont call for Taylor’s removal. But I will call for the sort of managerial change that removes the blinkers, or is it bloody mindedness? that has characterised substitutions in all our home league matches this season.A manager of his experience should see situations that need changing and act positively. But the puzzling three man half time change last week and the inability to bring on the on field support that Doherty had every right to expect yesterday will only serve to alienate many fans (to say nothing of players).
    He may admit to not knowing his best team yet but will he also admit to his mistakes that seem to cost us just as much as those of the players – whether they are “his” players or not.
    As fair minded supporters we accept there is inexperience in our team and that there will be mistakes. Most of us don’t get on players’ backs when they slip up. But, as we are forever being told how Experienced the manager is, fair minded supporters have the right to expect more from him in terms of addressing on field problems during games.
    I may not put it as well as Jimi Hendrix but the question is the same…..”Are you Experienced?”

  14. Steve Briggs says:

    All I can say is I totally agree with you Dan – 90th even in an early version of the league two table is diabolical. I only hope Bradford dont become the next ‘Luton’ although didnt they have 30 points to make up to start with ?!! Scsre mongering I know, but Ive seen no evidence of a prominent striker emerging – we need another Thorne. Also the defence seem nervous and prone to outrageous errors. Both traits need rectifying soon or things WILL get serious.

    I didnt see the performances against Forest or Preston , but whats has happened to the passion that must have been evident in those games – im bewildered!!!

    As for the fans – I know the only way is to get behind the team come rain or shine but surely fellow fans turning on fellow fans is no better then the boo boys. These fans wouldnt be booing if they werent passionate about the club, surely – what would be the point?

    At present Taylor has failed to live up to his hype and in my opinion is trying to sort out problems that should have been addressed pre -season. Stating that some of the players may not be as fit as the opposition (after the Stevenage game) is no excuse- this is professional football – the players should be hitting the ground running in August.

    I hope I can start feeling good about the club sometime soon.

  15. Neil Myers says:

    The cretins that boo are doing oppositions work for them,if they can’t see that they must be thicker than the earths crust.I certainly don’t think BCFC fans are the worst in the country but they are the most frustrated.

    I’d like to see Taylor play Hanson and Speight up front as a smash and grab type duo in a 442 formation…i’d still like to see Daley given a run on the right wing..i don’t think he’s lost much pace since his horrific injury..just confidence.Syers looks a good player..maybe try him in central midfield as a ball winner.

  16. David Pendleton says:

    Saturday saw us seamlessly move from the ‘worst fans in football’ to the ‘worst pass in football’. That moment when Tommy Doherty threw the game away seemed to sum up the last decade at VP. Doherty was probably heading for the man-of-the-match award and then… he’s the ‘worst player we’ve ever had’. Or so I had screamed in my ear.

    Like the majority I sat in silence. Too stupified to react. Frustration, sorry I mean FRUSTRATION. The type that wants to make you scream out loud (and many did), or go to the pub for several hours (and many did). One fan near me shouted for Taylor to be sacked, Doherty to go with him, the ground was cursed, resign Lawn, get rid of the entire team, he was really getting into his stride, what next ‘sack the fans’?

    We didn’t quite get that far, though since I’ve seen calls for the cheap season ticket deal to be scrapped on the grounds that it attracts ‘chavs’ and that they are responsible for the negative atmosphere at VP. Apparently the ability to pay will improve the support – someone should have pointed that one out to Roy Keane. If the cheap tickets really do attract the wrong kind of support, then God help the Bradford Bulls with their £60 season tickets. Of course, it’s utter nonsense. How many times have we heard the ‘I’ve paid my money’ or ‘I’ve been a season ticket holder for 200 years’ defence for abusive behaviour.

    Sacking managers, players and chairmen will get us nowhere fast. Haven’t we learned that from the last decade? What we need at Stockport is the ‘best supporters in football’. Like those we took to Rochdale last season. Our backs are pressed hard against the wall. If we fall apart now Bradford City will be doomed – and this during the 100th anniversary of our finest hour.

  17. Sebastian Cargutt says:

    The supporters who do boo often defend their ‘right’ to boo by saying they are entitled to express their opinions (normally because they have paid their money). I was always brought up to not ‘cut my nose off to spite my face’ which is all that the booers are doing.

    It’s my right to stab myself in the leg with a pair of scissors too, but it wouldn’t achieve much. Nor will booing the players…

    Perhaps anyone who usually boos could just have a quiet moan after the game and make sure they encourage the team during the game?

    1. Michael Wood says:

      To consider, not to comment upon and remembering all the time that rights of a supporter are defined and limited by the club that allows admission:

      If Supporter A has a right to boo is it possible for Supporter B to have his rights infringed by that booing? Does Supporter B not have a right to enjoy the game and if Supporter A’s actions ruin that enjoyment than cannot Supporter B demand that his rights are respected as much as Supporter A? If Supporter A ruins a game for Supporter B and Supporter C then why are Supporter A’s rights to boo preserved while Supporter B and Supporter C’s rights are ignored?

      Something to think about rather than a debate to get into at this juncture but rights – such as they are – are always in conflict with each other.

  18. Steve Baker says:

    Disappointed on Saturday but we played better than we have done, especially v Southend.

    Lot of reports suggesting Taylor has lost the dressing room and Lawn and Rhodes have fallen out because of it. Can anyone shed any light on this at all? These comments worry me, think if we play like we did on Sat without the shocking ref and a couple of bad decisions, we will do ok this season but maybe not promotion standard.

  19. Trevor Graveson says:

    By definition a supporter is a person who supports a team, accordingly anyone who boos is NOT a supporter. But I am afraid we are stuck with this element until results improve and they retreat into their shell – unfortunately they wont dissapear. For me the performance was much better, and I think it was a collective improvement, yes still a couple of players below par, but we support the team not seperate parts of it. Regarding the ref, I could not understand why the No11 did not get sent off for deliberate handball – he got booked for it in the first half, but committed at least 3 more similar offences which were completely ignored. Hope to be at Stockport to support!

  20. Andy Garrard says:

    Is the answer to get everyone who wants to contribute to a positive atmosphere and match day experience in the same place, for example the North West Corner? This would of course have to relay on allowing standing, curbing the over zealous stewarding and having a vocal enough following to get behind the team no matter what the scoreline throughout the game.

    If the management is so critical of the current atmosphere, they need provide the platform on which to create a positive one.

    I know the standing issue has been mentioned before, and talk of a Ultra-type following has mainly fizzled out in recent seasons, but the club needs to act in a positive way now, starting with standing areas for those who want get behind the team.

    I think this is the only way to drown out the boos, as it is not desirable or even possible to kick it out

    1. Michael Wood says:

      The club needs to act in a positive way now, starting with standing areas for those who want get behind the team.

      Aren’t these called “The Home Stands”? It would be remiss of me not to add at this point my brother’s oft quoted comment that the stewards should put out the booers for being away fans who have got into the home end.

  21. Richard Wardell says:

    Some interesting points from people above; most of whom I expect are football supporters and not football fans. Everyone can be a fan but supporters support their club during the difficult times which is what we are experiencing at the momemt, and not just in the good times.

    I consider myself to have supported Bradford City for a reasonable length of time (over 22 years) and have obviously witnessed our slide down the league tables in the past decade. But what % of our existing home attendances witnessed City in Division 4 during the 60s and 70s? Maybe less than 25%? Was the atmosphere, in general, as poor then as it is at the moment? Or is today’s poor atmosphere a reflection of today’s society, most of whom demand instant success?

  22. Neil Myers says:

    I’m old enough to answer Richards question above about atmosphere in the 60′s compared to todays match day experience,it’s like chalk and cheese it’s like watching football on a different planet nowadays.Put it this way,if my Dad had taken me to the Stevenage game first up i’d have never got the BCFC bug.I was born in Bradford but brought up in Doncaster so although i was always reminded that i was a Bradfordian my experiences of VP were limited until my family moved back over here in 67 but i always remember how much better the match day atmosphere was at VP than at Belle View,Bradford City was a proper football club with passionate fans who supported the club after 30 plus years of nothing,i was so proud to tie my claret and amber scarf around my neck and join my mates in the Bradford End for two hours of fun win lose or draw.I used to look forward to supporting my team down a VP and at away games but that isn’t the case any more,i still support the football club and will until the day i die but the match day experience is far less enjoyable,there doesn’t seem the same connection between fans and the players,the world’s a far more cynical place and football grounds are not immune from that cynicism.The “i’ve paid my money” brigade are killing the club slowly in my opinion and are the most selfish opinionated set of (feel free to add an expletive of your choice here) i’ve ever had the misfortune to listen to.It seems to me that my right to support the team is being hijacked by people i have nothing in common with.I’ll sum my attitude to supporting the team up,if we are losing i encourage the players more,my thinking is that if i encourage the players we might turn the game around,BCFC might get a point,BCFC might get three points.I seem to have a totally different mentality to some fans down at VP who seem to want to destroy the one thing all Bradford City players need to defeat the opposition,confidence.I don’t understand the thinking behind the abuse,it’s plainly self defeating.

  23. Sebastian Cargutt says:

    Well put Michael, I always try and take a balanced view and would never want to impinge on anyone’s rights.

    I guess my point stems from mebeing a positive person, I like to see the good rather than the bad. If the negative atmosphere somehow spurred the team on, then of course I would accept it, but it doesn’t. It’s catch 22 – we’re caught in a negative spiral at the moment which only goals can reverse.

  24. Stuart McGregor says:

    You don’t have to go back to the 60′s to see that we’ve had quality support and atmospheres at Valley Parade. I mentioned earlier somewhere that you only have to look at seasons like promotion from league 1 or the championship, or even when we struggled to survive in the championship and did by winning on the last day vs QPR – that match was a terrific atmosphere despite a relatively poor season of results.

    This tells you that there’s nothing inherently wrong with Bradford supporters!

    Big difference is that ultimately we were still sharing a degree of success (even in the poorer seasons) so fans just didn’t feel so hard done by – now they certainly do. It could also be argued that the ground was a better ground design-wise for atmosphere in those days. I agree with some suggestions about more grouping of fans who like to actually support the side. I certainly wish more fans would actually sit close to the pitch in the kop for example – it is easier to support when you are massed close to the pitch. That was the power of the old standing ‘kop’ support we had.

  25. David Pendleton says:

    I’m seriosuly considering moving seats. I love sitting on the Kop, and have sat and stood their since the ground reopened in 1986, but I’m fed up with the negative abuse that pours from the mouths of some of our supposed supporters. Problem is I’d just end up within earshot of some other lame brains. Booing at half-time during the Vale game? I hope it was directed at the ref, but sadly I don’t think it was. It is good that we are having this debate. If we are going to change the culutre of this club this debate needs to take place.

    As Andy says it’s probably better if we try and drown it out and hope that our positive lead will be followed. The Bradford End was surely opened up to bring together our more vocal supporters, so perhaps that’s where the lead needs to come from? Being twice the age of most of the folk in there I’m not sure if it’s the place for me. Perhaps we should designate a section of the Kop to become the place for the non-teenage vocal fans to gather, then we could have fun trying to outsing the Bradford End? Upper or lower tier doesn’t matter we need to be together somewhere and from there at least enjoy ourselves.

  26. John Loxam says:

    Hi David, ‘me en’t wife’ moved into the Bradford End to add our vocal support to the Team, we had had enough of singing and clapping on our own in the Sunwin. I am in my early 50s and can say I feel ‘comfortable’ when I look around me. It’s not all spotty teenagers in there. I think what bridges any age(ism) gap anyway is a common purpose and that purpose being one of encouragement for the Team -although there is the odd negatron it is an improvement on the moron that used to sit behind us.

    All together now: Come and join us, come and join us, come and join us over here. If you come into the Bradford End your sure of a big surprise, if you come into the Bradford End you’ll hardly believe your eyes, Cos Jeremy the sugar puff Bear has got some boots and cropped his hair, today’s the the day that Jeremy joined…. oops, sorry getting a little carried away there.

  27. David Pendleton says:

    Thanks for that John. You managed to make me smile. The first time that’s happened in relation to Bradford City for some considerable time!

    I still think the Kop idea has legs, so to speak…

    1. Jason Mckeown says:

      Not to advertise on here, but my next column for City Gent – due out next week – includes a proposal for how we can perhaps bring the atmosphere back to the Kop.

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