Friday 31st December, 2010

The season ticket struggle

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the coming season will be my 30th as a season ticket holder and I can honestly say that never have I been so reluctant to renew. In recent seasons It has been in hope more than expectation but this time even the hope is fading into a sea of despondency.

I’ve finally been to renew. when I got home I asked myself “Why so low this time?”

I wrote a list when I got home of all the “Problems” at my club. it was quite a long list so I crossed out all the minor grumbles and grouses.

I wasn’t entirely in agreement with McCall’s departure but was open to being convinced by his replacement when I heard it was Peter Taylor who is a man with an unblemished record in the lower divisions. Surely such a man could succeed at City?

This man, with his vast experience and respect in the game. Surely, after half a season he should know by now what his best eleven is! Instead the team is chopped and changed every game: win, lose or draw;

The joint chairmen Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn. I have sadly concluded that they are unable to bring success to the club. Like surgeons at a hospital who, when faced with a seriously injured patient, don’t know how to heal the man so they have him put on life support where he stays for years while all they can do is hope that something will turn up.

We will always be grateful to Julian that we still have a club, but surely the time is long since past when we should have begun making progress. Unfortunately, in the Rhodes family it’s the father who is the captain of industry. nice guy though he is, it’s not the son! Similarly Mark Lawn, a man who had one good idea that made him a millionaire. After that, the cupboard is bare!

To use modern parlance, neither man seems able to think outside the box. there are no big ideas forthcoming. All we can expect is more of the same!

Now to the club itself. In the past it has been said to me on more than one occasion (admittedly by non City fans) that by comparison with clubs from similar sized cities (Leicester, Hull, Nottingham, Wolverhampton etc.) City’s worst is worse than their worst and lasts much longer. This is hard to refute. in the 80’s Hull, Wolves and Bristol City all plunged to the bottom division while in dire financial straits and with the all too realistic threat of extinction. All 3 stayed only 2 seasons in the basement before starting the long road back. City have done 4 with the 5th already looking a certainty.

So there you have it.

Like a drowning man clinging to a bit of wreckage, the only thing I cling to is the memory of the last time things seemed dire under the Dave Simpson board. Skint with debts piling up. Geoffrey Richmond, the good one before he succumbed to megalomania and his self confessed period of madness, was just around the corner, about to come in and galvanise the club, setting us on the upward path.

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  1. Andrew Bozhko says:

    The main question is…


    I am not going to waffle on about the doom and gloom and decline of the city and of City we have heard it all before. But in all honesty, why do we bother supporting City at all.

    As much as anyone would hate to admit this, there has not been any excitement since Richmond has departed. Although there was always news in the off season with Richmond, he did give City something it has never had since. Ok, he made a mistake, but in all honesty, how many people would have acted differently in his position with the same circumstances? Remember, not many questioned him at the time.

    The chairmen are unusually very very quiet, very shut away this season. If they were to sack Taylor who would in their right mind take over from him?

    For the past 2 years I have been unable to renew my season ticket due to commitments, and if I am honest, I no longer have that miserable looming Saturday to look forward to. It actually felt like a chore having to drive to Bradford every 2nd weekend/midweek? A season ticket for Bradford City feels like a very long drawn out marriage you want to get out of but can’t. That is exactly how I felt every single time I drove to and from the ground.

    The support base has a large proportion that wants our own team to lose just so they can have a moan, even in victory Valley Parade is full of miserable bastards in the stands. If Hanson scores, have a moan about Daley, let’s moan if he slips in the snow once in a game even if he gets a hat trick within the 20 minutes prior, if Windass scores have a moan about Colbeck, If Colbeck does well, let’s moan he hasn’t reincarnated Jesus Christ at the same time, if Conlon scores have a moan about Conlon for playing for a new club, oh, and let’s not forget to blame Mr Bradford City, Wayne Jacbos for absolutely everything on the planet including global warming and the breakdown in relations between Iran and the rest of the world, I swear I did see him in North Korea over xmas pointing his finger doing pretty much nothing else, if we win let’s moan about the usual players or the players that aren’t playing. The supporters are one of, if not THE biggest undoing at Valley Parade over the past 6 or 7 years.

    The next home game, the odds of a section of Bantams supporters not having a go at the team are on par with the Queen break dancing naked in bloody Barnsley.

    Would it actually improve City to double season ticket prices and get rid of the miserable bastards? Lower crowds, but more “support”, and then when the club is on an ascend, bring the low ticket price in again to see how it affects the team?

    I still think the board should cordone off strategecally placed pockets for only positively loud and vocal supporters throughtout all the stands to infect the rest.

    1. Michael Wood says:

      I think there is something in the idea that the board shout take a more active hand in forming an atmosphere but for me the entire VP (apart from the away section) should be for people to positively support the club but I don’t think the solution is in changing the ticket pricing because I don’t see much of a correlation between the people who have been attracted by the lower prices and the bad atmosphere. Back in the Premiership our tickets were more expensive than they have ever been but people still booed Dean Windass’s name and Nicky Law spoke of how the crowd were worth a point for the other side while we had the more expensive tickets.

    2. Andrew Bozhko says:

      What’s the solution Michael, over the years I have been absolutely disgusted at the abuse of players such as Summerbee, Colbeck, Daley, Conlon, Clarke, Rehman…….etc etc etc etc have received from our own supporters. We know about it, past and present managers know about it, but are the board prepared to address the issue? It is rare I will boo my team, I may shake my head and hands in despair, but I have never ever once booed a team off a pitch. If I am that “upset” I will just stand up and leave at the final whistle.

      I do believe the club needs to get that fun element into the crowd, the experience is totally different to what I have experienced when I have been to Rugby League games. It just feels so glum, especially winter time at valley parade.

      I know you will always get someone that moans in every ground, but it just seems the norm at Valley Parade. I have had a moan I admit but WHEN we have played very badly, but my moan has never ever been shouted at the players or taken it into following games.

      What is the answer to the supporters “voice” on match day?

      The Bantams are the vuvuzelas of all supporters, everyone including fellow supporters just want them to shut up.

      What is the solution???

      One supporter that does entertain me is Charlie, we certainly need more characters like him there.

    3. Michael Wood says:

      Well as a reader of this site you will know that I shared your disgust at the abuse of those players and in the summer went as far as to (jokingly) suggest that the sound of a vuvuzela should be compulsory at VP to drowned out the moaners.

      The solution to the issue of atmosphere at football grounds is – I suspect – a massive and complex one which takes in far more than Saturday afternoon and encompasses many a wider society issue (the sense of entitlement that pervades British life can be heard in everything from “My side street should be gritted when it is -15 below” to “I should be allowed to talk as loud as I want in the cinema”) but to concentrate on things that we can control I would say that football clubs would do well if they could stop connecting the experience of supporting so closely to winning matches.

      When I recall getting into watching football there was an element of being proud of the club when it did well but there were other things we could be – and were – proud of like not being the racists of Leeds United in the 1980s, like supporting a group of ambitious young players, and like having a unique Subutteo team (Ref. 23) and later on we were proud that we were a team of underdogs and that we took a big and (in the vast majority of cases) well behaved and friendly away supporters to games.

      It was not all about the winning. Football these days is. Every club is a smaller version of Manchester United and comes with the idea that the only reason to be proud of your club is if they are winning. That is the brand identity: Winning.

      It does not have to be. Take a club like Accrington Stanley who are dwarfed by neighbours and suffer small attendances and still continue the idea that they are good if they win (and, by extension, bad if they lose). Make the club about something different. Tell the fans that it is not about winning or losing it is about passing something on, a continuity, to their sons and daughters. This is a brief example of a bigger (and rejected) pitch I worked on which tried to say to a club that people will respond to something other than setting high aims and reiterating those aims (after a change of manager) if they have not been achieved.

      So I would say that for Bradford City the solution is to massively shift the culture of the club away from the idea that we “should be in the Championship” and “will get promoted this season” and so on and towards the idea that the club is about more than that. What is the club about? Passing something on maybe. We have kept the club going in 1983, 2002 and 2004 and many people talk about keeping it going as a tribute to 1985.

      Are we about keeping it going? If we are, if we are about saying that for all the changes in the world and the city itself Bradford City will stand, then how is that reflected on match day? If we are about having something to pass onto the next generation are we welcoming them? (We might be, I’m not saying we aren’t, just asking the question)

      To me, on a match day, with the crowd an inch from booing every second of the game, we are about one thing: winning. Every week less than 50% of the teams can win. Being about winning is not sustainable nor is it unachievable.

      So, in conclusion, the answer to the voice is to stop the club being about an unachievable and make a club about something else.

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