Issue As Taylor fumes about the OMB will Lawn and Rhodes take action?

As told by Michael Wood

A month ago Peter Taylor set himself at loggerheads with the joint chairmen of Bradford City in a demand to be given full throated backing but today the City manager has taken on the people who really decide if he has a job.

Peter Taylor told the users of City’s Official Message Board who started rumours that James Hanson had been left out of the City team for the game with Bury because he has been out drinking that they should “got to go and get a life” and branded them with the damning phrase of “Not Bradford City fans.”

In taking on a section of the club’s official message board Taylor takes on the people who – with systematic campaigns – were able to unseat the previous two Bradford City managers. With the club seemingly using the Official Message Board as a barometer of the mood of supporters in a very real way Taylor is taking on the decision makers of Bradford City.

Taylor denies that Hanson was dropped for going out drinking. The City manager said

I picked Jason Price and Omar Daley for that game because that’s what we wanted against two centre halves who don’t like playing against that type of player. I don’t go on these websites but somebody drew my attention to this one. Because I’ve had to look at it, I’ve read certain other things. I’m not convinced these people are Bradford City fans. They will just drive players away. They can’t be proper fans to talk about things like that. It’s unbelievable, really.

Unbelievable to Taylor perhaps but often believed and certainly given some regard by the club by virtue of the name. That the club run an “Official” message board is no bad thing, that it is so loosely policed is astonishing. When Rochdale FC took legal action against this website their complaint covered only one comment on the article and four in the comments which BfB was liable for publishing (Two from Rochdale supporters, incidentally). The club sits in a similar position and the laissez faire attitude towards moderation allows for some remarkable statements that emanate.

Indeed the club’s own moderator Jon Pollard was attacked with some horrible allegations on the Official Message Board and at the time one had to wonder how the club could maintain a system so often used against it. Taylor has brought attention to this problem once more, but no one at the club could say they are not aware of it.

So if one assumes that the club are aware of the problems of the Official Message Board – and it should be said that for all the ills of the OMB it played a key part in the attempts to save the club in 2004 and is most often used for what one would want it to be, fans talking football with fans – then perhaps they do not believe it has much impact other than being an indication of what supporters think. That one can take the temperature of the support from the OMB, but that the individual aliments are of no importance.

Peter Taylor, the man at the club who knows the most about football, disagrees and with the club returfing the pitch and looking for new facilities to keep the manager one wonders what they will do to follow the manager’s recommendation as to another way to improve the club.

In the short term now the man they pay to tell them how to make the best football club is telling them that some people on the OMB are harming that club will they take action or choose to ignore the manager? Tell him he can make do with the situation on the club’s own website like he as to make do with Apperley Bridge. The club dragged in The City Gent to talk about a preview they found too negative, yet the pay for the Official Messageboard.

Moreover though Taylor is saying that the club that they need to work on redefining being a Bradford City fan. There was an agitated argument in the Kop in the Oxford game when James Constable waved an imagined yellow card to suggest Luke Oliver should be booked – an action which is mandated as a caution in the Laws of the game – with one side being chastised for bias for demanding the official take action. The current definition of bias at Bradford City – for some fans – is to want City treated even handledly under the rules of the game.

The culture of the Bradford City Official Messageboard – with its anonymity and one user/multiple name – is often similarly negative as it the mood on a match day. Not a question of rose tinted glasses or optimism but rather allowing the negative – no, the destructive, to be unopposed.

Having taken on Lawn demanding backing and not blinked Taylor will hope for a similar result. In seven months the manager’s contract will be up or renewal. One doubts he will receive much backing from the people he has criticised today, should he not be unseated before, leaving Lawn and Rhodes to decide how much credence to give to the Official Message Board and how much they should listen to Taylor’s recommendations on how to take Bradford City forward.