Issue Peter Jackson to be confirmed as Bradford City manager

As told by Jason Mckeown

Now that the planning for next season can truly begin, Yorkshire TV has announced that Peter Jackson will be confirmed as manager tomorrow morning. Colin Cooper will also continue as his assistant manager.

Jackson, interim manager since the end of February, has already been getting on with the job of building the squad for next season, but the official green light means he can plan with the confidence of knowing he will be around to see the fruits of the initial steps he is taking. The retained list had already been sorted by Jackson, with Ross Hannah signed up a week after the season ended. Jackson can now set about attracting other players.

The search for the new manager has this time been a very strange affair. At one stage some 40+ applicants were in the frame, then we had a six-person shortlist before finally the local media suggested Jackson and Dagenham manager John Still were in the frame. Still turned down City, citing the significant problems that are still prevalent, and another candidate – tipped to have been John Coleman – suddenly came into contention. Coleman, who in March revealed he was interested in taking over the Bantams, is said to have been looking for at least a three year contract from City. A length of commitment Jackson is unlikely to have asked for or demanded.

Jackson’s spell in charge last season was mixed to say the least. We enjoyed a much more attractive style of football compared to Peter Taylor, but lack of the right personnel hampered his ability to get the team performing in the manner he wanted. There were some enjoyable wins, but also some of the heaviest defeats of the season.

The threat of relegation arose during the final days of Taylor’s reign, and Jackson at least steadied the ship in getting the team to deliver results when it really mattered. At other times though, performances were unacceptable and one can understand Jackson’s keenness to sweep out so many players and effectively start all over again.

The fact Jackson oversaw some poor results and displays will, typically, be used against him in time. Every manager is given a honeymoon period, where the blame for failings is directed elsewhere, but as the traumas of the last few weeks are forgotten and pre-season optimism inevitably builds again Jackson will find he is in the firing line quicker than normal if expectations aren’t meant.

Mark Lawn has this evening revealed the manager will have one of the largest budgets in the division to work on – something that has probably contributed to talks with the Gibb Pension Fund apparently breaking down completely – which means Jackson will be expected to deliver.

But for now he is largely popular among fans – unthinkable really last February. His strong personality shines through, and his passion for the club is clear. He knows full well how difficult the challenges will be but clearly seems to relish them.

One would like to see Jackson given a fair crack of the whip. Next season’s expectations can’t be defined yet, but as much as we can hope for promotion we shouldn’t judge the season and Jackson as a failure if it proves beyond him. We need to move forwards instead of this near-constant backwards route, and in Jackson we have someone with the character and ability to achieve that.