Saturday 11th December, 20104 years ago, mid-December

Those small victories

The Team

  • Lenny Pidgley | Richard Eckersley, Rob Kiernan, Luke Oliver, Luke O'Brien | Tom Adeyemi, Tommy Doherty, David Syers, Lee Hendrie | Omar Daley, James Hanson | Price (for Daley), Osborne (for Hendrie), Bullock (for Kiernan)

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Bradford City 1 Hereford United 0 At Valley Parade in League Two, 2010/2011

Over the years supporting Bradford City, I’ve always taken greater pleasure in those occasions where we get one over someone or something. A cocky set of opposition supporters; a petty referee; a manager who made derogatory pre-match remarks; Rodney Marsh.

But rarely has putting someone in their place felt so unenjoyable as City supporters ‘victory’ over Joe Colbeck today.

That was the sideshow which overshadowed a reasonable contest that saw the Bantams gain a precious victory over bottom-club Hereford to move back into the play off hunt. David Syers’ eighth-minute belting shot ultimately proved decisive. It was a nice moment for the early player of the season frontrunner given the frustration of missing numerous chances in his last outing against Macclesfield, three weeks ago.

And though it was hardly a sparkling team performance and offered little evidence that City are good enough to be successful this season, it was the sort of result that promotion-winning sides routinely grind out. That was the most important aspect.

But the joy of victory was tempered by the unpleasant atmosphere in which it was played in, and the specific targeting of one man. Colbeck’s first return to Bradford since departing 16 months ago was always going to prompt a mixed reception, but the lengths taken by those keen to register their dislike of a player who rose through the ranks – playing over 100 times in Claret and Amber – was nothing short of disgusting.

“Colbeck is a wanker!” chanted the Bradford End for most of the first half, and before long fans in all four stands were joining in the jeering. Jeering a 24-year-old lad who joined the club when he was 16, with his family and friends watching in the crowd.

It seemed as though the game itself was the sideshow, as such strong focus was placed on barracking the former City youngster. Every time he picked up possession he was booed; when he failed to stop straightaway following an offside flag there was outrage at his cockiness; when an inaccurate pass towards Joe caused him to stretch and fall over he was laughed at. Even after City scored the first subsequent chant was “Colbeck, Colbeck what’s the score?”

And after pausing from calling him a wanker, the Bradford End chanted “Greedy Bastard” and then “Judas”; and then a “City reject.” So hang on a minute, he’s a Judas for betraying us and we rejected him anyway – Judas the reject, an interesting concept.

Let me pause by saying that I appreciate not everyone likes Colbeck and those who have feelings of disapproval towards him will have valid reasons. In the group of people I go to watch City with, opinions on him were mixed and it was mentioned that his attitude during his final few weeks at the club was poor. Me, I’ve got a lot of time for a young lad I watched try to make it at City and who provided me with some happy memories, so I personally wanted to applaud him. But if others want to boo him, that’s fair enough.

Yet the chanting, the abuse and the negativity that perpetrated from the Bradford End and spread around the four sides was too much. If you were one of the people who thinks you have the right to call Joe Colbeck a wanker, please can you explain what he has done to justify this personal abuse. Yes, we know he had a contract dispute and that made him “greedy” in some people’s eyes. Though Colbeck’s reminder of what happened – which was confirmed by Stuart McCall at the time – is hardly up there with the great contract disputes we’ve seen over the years at City.

So what else? Oh yeah, he was crap. Apparently. Funny as I remember the fantastic performances he put in for City during the 2007/08 season, especially in away games, that was appreciated by enough City fans for him to be voted player of the season. The following year he started slow and then got injured for four months. As he returned to fitness, the holes in City’s promotion bid were getting larger and Colbeck was a scapegoat as the season collapsed.

Then came the contract dispute in the summer of 2009, and I remember going to the York pre-season friendly and hearing a group of fans boo his every touch and chant about how he is a “druggy” (no evidence was offered to back this up). Then at Bradford Park Avenue, where Oldham manager Dave Penny attended as he considered signing him and some fans were urging him to do so, telling Penny we didn’t want Joe. Then he left. Driven out the club. And don’t come back.

I can only assume those who wanted him gone were leading the abuse today, but the wanker chants were aired so loud it was like they were speaking for the rest of us too. And the messages they sent both on and off the field were disturbing. Looking through my old programmes from Joe’s time at City, it’s interesting how many of the ‘Today’s Mascot’s’ rated him as their favourite player. I also remember lots of kids with Colbeck on their shirts. And why not? Here was a young lad who’d made it to the first team, an inspiration to young supporters and juniors at the club.

What’s the message these kids are supposed to take from the actions of the boo-boys today? Don’t bother following that dream of one day playing for the club you love, because these lot will rip you apart. Just look at Leon Osborne.

The one saving grace of the whole affair was Hereford manager Jamie Pitman’s decision to sub Colbeck after an hour, so at least the rest of us who’d had our views drowned out could award Colbeck the warm applause we wanted to give him. And then when he’d been subbed perhaps we could concentrate on the game, trying to ignore the fact that a poor bit of play from the other Hereford winger soon after sparked a chant of “Are you Colbeck in disguise?”

By that stage City were beginning to be pegged back by a spirited Hereford side who looked short on quality but good enough to climb out of the bottom two before May. Syers’ early strike smashed any hopes the visitors had of sitting back and frustrating City. Instead it triggered a first half of numerous chances which should have seen City go in more than 1-0 up at the break.

The outstanding Luke O’Brien’s long-range pile driver was pushed away by the erratic Bulls keeper Adam Bartlett; Tom Adeyemi’s through ball to Omar Daley was just behind the Jamaican’s feet, spoiling a one-on-one chance; Adeyemi himself should have scored when played through with just the keeper to beat.

The one-touch attacking football from City was impressive, if conservative in its frequency. Tommy Doherty and Syers were running the show and masterful to watch. Lee Hendrie, this week’s captain, also played well.

Hereford had sporadic bursts of pressure and exposed some uncertain decision-making from Lenny Pidgley in claiming crosses. One flapped corner saw a powerful Hereford effort strike a City body and bounce over the bar, although later a brilliant cross by Colbeck saw the lively Guillem Bauza’s header superbly tipped over.

After James Hanson and Syers both had opportunities early in the second half, Hereford began to threaten more and Nicky Featherstone saw a shot come back off the post, while the veteran Kenny Lunt and striker Mathieu Manset looked busy and purposeful. For City, Daley’s long range effort deflected and looped onto the post; but as the minutes past the involvement of either keeper became less frequent.

For despite Hereford exerting strong pressure in the final 20 minutes, in truth they didn’t look like scoring and struggled to create clear-cut chances. City’s back four defended well with Rob Kiernan showing the form he’d displayed on his debut at Wycombe and Luke Oliver’s head a magnetic presence to high, dangerous balls. Kiernan had to go off injured and Peter Taylor, who rather foolishly had not even afforded Zesh Rehman a place on the bench, was forced to play Jason Price as emergency centre half.

The final whistle eventually came but the joy was limited and glum faces surrounded me on the journey out through the Midland Road concourse. That, as much as the Joe-bashing, was the downer of the day. In the final 20 minutes City were on the backfoot, but holding on – and the lack of support from fans was baffling. Moans and groans filled the air and every mistake and poor touch was met with anger and swearing.

Today simply wasn’t a nice day to be at Valley Parade, it wasn’t a nice day to be a Bradford City supporter. Because the want of some to be negative overshadowed others efforts to support the team. Yeah it wasn’t a great performance and we expect better, but surely it is occasions like this – rather than 5-0 up over Oxford – where we supporters should be giving our all.

Instead many of us focus on ridiculing a former player who most of us in the crowd are older than, on waiting for Adeyemi’s next mistake, on slating Hanson for daring to believe “he’s already made it”, on moaning about Taylor’s insistence on bringing all 11 players back to defend corners, and then on criticising his choice and timing of subs.

Valley Parade was today a cauldron of negativity, yet again. There’s so much crap going on in the world, there’s plenty of stress and difficulties in our own lives. Supporting your football team is supposed to be a release – a pleasure, not a chore. Days like this should at least leave a smile on the face.

Surely we can all be better than this?

The Team

  • Lenny Pidgley | Richard Eckersley, Rob Kiernan, Luke Oliver, Luke O'Brien | Tom Adeyemi, Tommy Doherty, David Syers, Lee Hendrie | Omar Daley, James Hanson | Price (for Daley), Osborne (for Hendrie), Bullock (for Kiernan)

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  1. tim noble says:

    it was a win.
    it was not a commanding performance, and hereford looked incapable of scoring, despite their pressure.
    we played defensively at times, lining up on our 18 yard line. we had guilt-edged chances to score more.
    how did no.33 not get sent off?
    and alongside all that, we barracked an ex-player. we always barrack ex-players. everyone barracks ex-players.
    so lets not get precious.
    joe played well for us, and i liked him (when he did)
    he also faded out of games.
    he hid – especially after getting kicked.
    he committed sly fouls when he thought noone was looking.
    he got off lightly compared to the centre-half who got sent off a few weeks ago who i don’t think(i may be wrong) ever played for the first team.
    he could have scored a belter like syres’ goal, and shut us all up, but what are the chances of that? i saw him score one belter in all the time he played for city.
    now he’s an ex-player, and he knows what to expect at city.

    1. Richard Stone says:

      Colbeck was never a great player. Not good enough for League 1 and has now found his level. Having said that he delivered a great cross in the first half which I wish some of our wide players were capable of.

      If the barracking affected his performance then good. One up to the crowd. I don’t particularly agree with some of the language used but this happens at all football clubs and with the circumstances of his departure from BCFC, then this was to be expected.

  2. Paul Conroy says:

    I felt I had to reply to this one. Your opinions are valid and you can feel disgusted if you like but I feel today we did what you need to do if you want to be successful.

    The crowd created a somewhat intimidating atmosphere to play in and broke the confidence of a potentially match winning player (was it the Gillingham game where he pretty much turned it single handedly?).

    Yes It was a bit harsh and I think he got the worst stick I have ever heard for a returning player but it also seemed to do the job. How many ex-players have come here and out in the performance of there lives? even McCall scored against us! This time Joe did what he did so often for us – he shrunk back into his shell when under pressure.

    It may not be pretty but I think that we need to be a bit more hostile. VP has been too friendly a place for opposition teams in the last few years.

    1. Andrew Bozhko says:

      I found the abuse Colbeck got not to mention other players like Summerbee very disgusting while playing for us. Daley gets quite a bit of stick from supposedly “supporters”. Sometimes I just wish City would curl up and die with our disgusting attitudes towards our own players past and present. We seem to have lost all decency and moral obligation to the game now. BUT after reading you comment Paul, I do agree Valley Parade needs to get that intimidating atmosphere for opposing teams to play in, afterall, it has worked against so much of our own players in the past decade. I believe there is a line, and I for one would never ever subject a player or referee or manager to the abuse Colbeck has received over the years. It was unwarranted, it was unjustified, it was just basic disgusting harassment of a young lad. Fair enough give the lad a bit of stick when he comes back, give the entire team some grief, but Colbeck does not deserve the crap he gets, he didn’t at City and neither does any single current player now. Why do not supporters actually support our own players and intimidate the opposition. How often have we heard that the large crowd at Valley Parade has been used against us? To beat Bradford, you need to beat the crowd, which is not hard at all. Lay off Colbeck, he did well for us (on his day – through all the abuse), I just feel he has thrown a very promising career away because of the boo boys. I agree VP has been too friendly a place for opposition teams, shame noone can say the same that has been the case for BC.

  3. Mark Ashdown says:

    I did not barrack Joe Colbeck yesterday best of luck to him. I just thought he had lost another half a yard of pace since he departed the famous Dog and Duck training regieme at BCFC. Since he is a pace based player that would be bad news for him. I thought there was some really nice play in the first half, the second half being the opposite, I also thought the Hereford ‘keeper was fairly handy. Given that there was nothing much to watch on the field after the break, there was high comedic value in watching the low rent stewards that city employ, not a single one of them could put a fag out so why roll along the bottom of the Kop like Special Forces in Helmand Province? Pure comedy.

  4. Stuart McGregor says:

    Have to say I agree with some above comments that we shouldn’t really be getting precious about giving returning opposition players grief (within the limits of verbal barracking of course) – all teams do it, particularly if there’s any negativity when a player leaves. It is rather typical, I hate to say it Jason, that we can find something negative to discuss at the start of a report of a game that we’ve just won. I know you knock the ‘negative’ side of city’s support, but your report is hardly a positive reporting style either. Let’s revel in winning a match, getting 3 points keeping a clean sheet, and intimidating players who set out to beat us for once! Colbeck is a fully grown man not a 10 year old boy, so I’m sure he should be able to take a crowd’s stick during a match – if not, then that’s tough really, as I say all clubs will do it. The best players have often said they actually revel in it (the Shearers, Keanes, Beckhams etc).
    VP has been a fortress in the past in some periods of time and our fans can be an intimidating force if we get it right – where it concerns me is players from our own side getting the abuse as you correctly point out.

    1. Michael Wood says:

      I know you knock the ‘negative’ side of city’s support, but your report is hardly a positive reporting style either.

      There is a difference between reporting on a thing and the thing itself.

      I think though Stuart that you hit the nail close to the head in your closing statement. If the Valley Parade crowd understand the dynamics of support and how it can be used to intimidate Hereford’s Joe Colbeck why did they use it to intimidate Bradford City’s Joe Colbeck? It is a sad fact that the only two noises City’s fans have made this season of note are the booing of Joe Colbeck and the booing of the City team even in victory. That is not something all clubs do.

    2. Stuart McGregor says:

      Fair enough to have included it in the report, but as it is reported as the starting point, it seems a rather negative stance to emphasise in a winning match report, that’s all. I agree, and always have done, that the fans who boo their own players should not bother going to matches and have no time for them as fellow supporters. I’m going to Crewe this saturday (from Cardiff) and I know about making an effort to get to games and can’t stand the fans who turn up just to boo us.

    3. Jason Mckeown says:

      Hi Stuart

      I would have loved to have left VP on Saturday feeling happy about the win – I was delighted we had got the three points. But the treatment of Colbeck ruined the spectacle for me as it was disgusting and out of order.

      I have to admit I find it incredible that some people are trying to justify the abuse under the pretence they were trying to intimidate Colbeck, on the basis that it would help City win the game. If every single returning former player was called a ‘wanker’ and booed non-stop for 90 minutes then they would have a point, but very often former players come back to VP and receive a wonderful reception. Why don’t we boo these ex-players to attempt to intimidate them? After all, the ones we still like are usually the better players.

      A month ago I was at Burton Albion away and Darren Moore was cheered and applauded by City fans. Even when he made a clearance to stop a City attack people were cheering. So why didn’t we start calling him a wanker and booing him for 90 minutes to intimidate him? After all apparently that would have increased our chances of winning the game?

      We didn’t because that’s not what this is about – Darren Moore was a hero to us and some of our fans hate Colbeck. To try and excuse Saturday’s abuse at Colbeck under the pretence it was to intimidate Colbeck and help the team to win is an insult to everyone’s intelligence. If we want to help Bradford City win matches and intimidate the opposition, we should be massively positive in cheering our players and getting behind them, while booing every opposition player and getting upset about every decision which goes against us.

      Saturday’s treatment of Colbeck was nothing to do with helping Bradford City, it was a load of selfish people showing how little they think of a good bloke who has somehow been allowed to become a villain for little more than not been good enough.

    4. Andrew Bozhko says:

      Have to disagree with you there Jason, the thing is, Joe Colbeck was good enough. It was just a sizeable amount of the idiotic faithful that would not let Joe be as good as he could have been. A part of me is hoping he does get back to his best and comes back to haunt these idiots and see him do well at another club. There are ex players I was not a fan of for example Cadamarteri, I won’t spout off what I disliked, instead I will just mention I always look out to see how often he is playing and if he scores. COLBECK WAS GOOD ENOUGH. The crowd never appreciated him and let him play as he could.

    5. Jason Mckeown says:

      Hi Andrew

      I actually agree with you that Colbeck was good enough, of course he was. My earlier comment wasn’t supposed to come across as my personal opinion (sorry, typed in haste), but the ultimate reason why Colbeck is hated by a section of City fans, as they believe he wasn’t good enough. Even if they were right and he wasn’t, I don’t believe this justifies the hate and bile they inflicted upon him.

    6. David Mactaggart says:

      I agree entirely with Jason. It was mindblowing the level of abuse heaped on Joe Colbeck. At his peak he was able to burst past people with determination and always battled 100% for the team. It is one thing making a few jibes like City Reject, Judas. But the stream of abusive remarks shouted at him were totally unacceptable.

      We wont make Valley Parade intimidating by shouting abuse we should be doing it by cheering and chanting slogans to get behind the team from start to finish. The hardcore fans are actually the most fickle. One minute they will slag someone like Omar off for missing a chance and then he scores and they are singing his praises. Joe deserved some basic respect on his return to a club he served well whilst he was here.

  5. Robert Wade says:

    Support your team – yes
    Boo the opposition – yes
    Intimidating atmosphere – yes
    Vile abuse of anyone, let alone an ex player and City fan – NO.
    Not necessary at all. I recall going to watch City v Burnley at VP a few years back. Robbie Blake got the same treatment – did it put him off – not a bit, he stuck two fingers up at the crowd in the best way possible by letting his football do the talking.

  6. Chris Newell says:

    I didn’t boo Joe Colbeck or anyone for that matter but I was thoroughly depressed by our second half performance.

    A win is a win is a win but that was painful to watch, I don’t think anyone’s ever told Taylor about ‘killing a game off’. We defended so deep at times we were almost in our own net. To me defending like that at home with a 1-0 lead is asking for trouble and it’s only a matter of time before our make shift defence is found out.

    Thank god Hereford couldn’t stick the ball in the net.

  7. Rob Wood says:

    To be honest Joe probably got a bit less stick from the people around me than he used to as a City player. His main detractors still around but strangely quiet, perhaps embarrassed at what they had wrought.

    The stick handed out to Daley and, particularly, Hanson worried me far more.

  8. Stuart McGregor says:

    Jason – to be fair, I never personally get much involved in player abuse anyway so I can see the point. My main point was that did this need to be the central focus of a match report we’ve just won. Whether you agreed with it or not I do think that winning the game was more important in terms of whatever happened. Lets face it we have enough to contend with being City fans and the difficulty our club have had getting any success in the last 10 years. I also think there’s a point earlier in these comments above about Colbeck being ‘potentially’ a big danger player to us – if the crowd stopped that, then I’m sorry but that is what home advantage is all about. I’m sure other clubs wouldn’t be shedding any tears if they did it to us.

    1. Jason Mckeown says:

      Apologises you didn’t like the match report. I will take your views on board and try to do better next time.

    2. Stuart McGregor says:

      Heh heh – just this once Jason. You (and the other reporters) do sterling work for us thanks, keep it up!

  9. Steve Benson says:

    I think the point here is that, as Jason points out, the same people that hounded Joe out of our club were the ones that were calling him a wanker etc on Saturday. Perhaps if they’d kept their gobs shut when he was our player he wouldn’t have suffered the crisis of confidence that lowered his performances towards the end and he might still be turning in the displays that led to his Player of the Season Award, for us.

    I entirely agree that this was nothing to do with intimidating the opposition; it was just nasty name calling , pure and simple. One poster on the OMB even called him ‘a mong’ for goodness sake – a sick piece of disable-ist abuse I hadn’t heard used since the 1970s. You do seriously wonder at the mentality of some of these people. It seems that there are quite a few that seriously blame Joe for our last relegation because he ‘lost us a match’ by getting sent off for kicking the ball away (which he clearly did in frustration at himself and I always felt was a harsh decision) – as though one red card was responsible for that demise. I don’t recall those same people booing Deano whenever he visits VP, despite his several unnecessary red cards, including one very nasty two-footed stamp.

    I sit behind the dugout and was glad to have the opportunity of standing and clapping Joe off, if only to annoy the numpties behind me that had been slagging him all game. It almost makes me wish that his curling shot had gone in, just to shut them all up.

    1. Glyn Maxwell says:

      Use of foul and abusive language at Valley Parade has been an issue for a long time. VP is not the only ground it happens but it is the only one I know where the same fans get away with abusing their own players year in year out.

      It is a criminal offense and most of the fans at VP sit in the same seat every match. It would be very simple to identify, warn and then ban the worst offenders. It would just take intelligent effort on the part of the club, but if they started most of the offenders would stop swearing without warning.

  10. I have to admit I was baffled by the abuse Colbeck received both by its ferocity and its nonsense.

    I applauded him off as I would any other ex City player who put a decent shift in for the team whilst he was here, even more so as he’s a Bradford lad.

    The booing seemed to have been from the younger element, so maybe there’s been a hint of jealousy that he was out there playing for City and they weren’t. I don’t know.

    Or maybe the younger kids think that’s what you’re meant to do these days at football?

    I remember the pre-season game against Burnley the other season when some young lads were hurling disgraceful abuse at Robbie Blake. Robbie Blake of all people. One of the most talented players to ever wear a city shirt, a player who was the driving force behind our promotion push and scored on that fairy tale day in Wolverhampton. So when lunatics hurl abuse at players like that, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when they target the likes of Colbeck.

    1. Andy Kordowicz says:

      Gents please. It’s pantomime. As an ex-player returning to VP Colbeck was always going to get stick. For the record I never slagged him off when he played for City, nor do I agree with those who did, but he never performed at a high enough standard to warrant a standing ovation from all four sides of the ground.

      I don’t know whether he was a L**ds fan when he was younger or not but those rumours are enough to guarantee a frosty reception. A chorus of ‘City reject’ is pretty mandatory for any mediocre player who comes back to City. I didn’t hear John Dreyer getting abuse when he took his place in the dug-out for Stevenage and I’m pretty sure if Bobby Campbell or Stuart or Beags stepped onto the VP pitch they’d receive a more positive welcome.

      Let’s not get too sanctimonius either. Hounding out people who swear or sing anything that might be a bit pre-watershed. Is that what it’s come to?! Football is over-sanitised as it is. I am sick of the lack of atmosphere at City. I guarantee that people will counter this by saying, ‘Why do you need to be vitriolic in order to create an atmosphere?’. Well you don’t. We should be supporting City rather than laying into the opposition but the ‘treatment’ Joe Colbeck got on Saturday was hardly the pig’s head lobbed at Figo in el classico was it.

      I know football has changed in the last decade(s) but I still think it’s acceptable for people to be able to vent their spleen at a football ground. There should be areas of the ground where families can go and watch a game without having to endure a load of four letter words but, equally, I don’t see why you shouldn’t, in other areas of the ground, be able to call someone a w*nker without worrying you’ll be slapped with a banning order and have your passport taken off you.

    2. Steve Benson says:

      Andy, I agree with much of what you say about sanitisation and lack of atmosphere, much of which is down to all seating I feel. I also agree that you should be able to call an opposition player or manager a wanker, or whatever, without being hung, drawn and quartered for it.

      But this felt different; it felt like a concerted attempt to systematically undermine the self esteem of a young Bradfordian who was our player of the season only a short time ago, who came up through our junior ranks, not some one-season mediocrity here for the money.

      It seemed like many people had turned up with the express intent of having a go at Joe; well I don’t go to football matches to abuse the opposition, I go to watch football and support my team, but this felt like many home fans were more interested in abusing Joe than watching the match. Of course his performance on Saturday didn’t warrant a standing ovation – that happened because quite a few of our fans were obviously unhappy at the treatment he’d received and wanted to show an alternative to the barrackers.

      I believe that most of the people that persistently barracked Joe were the same people that boo and criticise our players at the drop of a hat instead of encouraging the team. There’s a guy that sits behind me that was still slagging Peter Taylor and some of our players when we were 5-0 up against Oxford! I just don’t understand the mentality; some of them are morons and the rest should know better.

  11. David Pendleton says:

    In Omar Daley and James Hanson we have two players who are potential match winners. Both can be a thorn in the side of the opposition. So what do our self-defeating supporters do? I’ve heard from several supporters that the reason they are frustrated with Omar Daley is because he is so inconsistent. Abusing a ‘confidence’ player is an odd way of making him more consistent?

    I love many things, too many things, about Bradford City, but I simply do not understand the leaping on players’ backs at the first available opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve occasionally booed City off when they have deserved it, in my view they do deserve to be given a verbal boot up the backside when the performance levels drop to unacceptable standards. However, just like a player’s individual performance, we should only arrive at that tipping point after months, not the first slip or mistake. There are those among us who seem poised to leap to their feet the instant one of their targets makes the slightest of errors. Why do these people waste so much energy, and surround themselves with so much negative energy, by using their voices and passion to scream abuse? Do the same people also cheer loudest when City attack and play well? Often the answer to that is a resounding no.

    I was recently at a regeneration debate organised by the Bradford Civic Society. On a freezing night here surely were people with the city’s best interests at heart? Yet, I heard mutterings of ‘it will never happen’ when the spokesman from the Council talked of regeneration initiatives. Of course, there is plenty of evidence of failed schemes in Bradford that can jade even the most optimistic soul, but the ‘it will never happen’ was almost a blanket response. Isn’t that a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you expect failure isn’t that exactly what you will get? At the same meeting there was also a lot of talk about what a fabulous city Bradford used to be. I sensed a reluctance to accept Bradford for what it is and this, in some ways, mirrors the situation at Valley Parade.

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