Wednesday 22nd June, 20113 years ago, at the end of June

Three wheels: Steve Parkin, Julian Rhodes, and Mark Lawn

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Steve Parkin looks set to join the Bradford City board have tried – and seemingly failed – to buy the club from Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes.

Lawn and Rhodes had stated that they would walk away from the club without making a penny profit should someone come along who could take City to the next level (and probably levels above that) and seemingly Parkin did not fulfil that criteria and so rather than being welcomed with open arms as the white knight he has just been allowed to saddle his horse next to Lawn and Rhodes.

So in that context Parkin is welcomed to the club. His investment is welcome and any management knowledge and experience he can bring is useful too although one cannot help but worry about the practical application of having – ostensibly – three chairmen at a football club.

Geoffrey Richmond used to say that a business needed only one boss and he did not mean Shaun Harvey when he made that pronouncement. Richmond’s time at City failed for the lack of checks and balances on his omnipotence so perhaps having chairmen two and three to keep an eye on chairman one is no bad thing.

However the principal of having a single boss – honorifics aside – is a good one and while Mark Lawn has been the front of City and Julian Rhodes behind the scenes (although, I understand, very much active) the club has lacked direction for sometime now. Stuart McCall filled the gap at the club in his time, Peter Taylor in his, but one doubts Richmond would let a mere manager be the face of the club.

Richmond knew the benefit of broad shouldered leadership. Larger than life Richmond appointing his managers and took the criticism when they did not work out. His’s massive persona took the pressure off the rest of the club. “This is the direction,” it seemed to say “and if we are going the wrong way, blame me.”

Contrast that with the last few years.

So of the three – if Parkin’s moves come to fruition – it seems a good idea for City to pick a one. A one to set the direction of the club and to lead it off the field with the other two keeping an eye on that one – a better eye than Rhodes was able to do on Richmond at least.

One boss to set the direction and in doing so to protect his appointments, and the players, allowing the likes of Peter Jackson, Peter Horne and Archie Christie to get on with their jobs with a defined remit and knowing who they answer to.

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  1. Glyn Maxwell says:

    If this new board works it could have enormous benefits for City, and if it doesn’t work it will at least shake up shake up a failing business.

    I thought Steve Parkin’s negotiating through the Yorkshire Post was a poor way to go, but seeing he is now on the board it shows what I know.

    I am also glad he has publicly stated his commitment to Guiseley, although if they continue to progress, and City don’t, they could be playing each other soon.

    The link to Guiseley also offers a chance to turn Nethermoor into a stadium suitable for City reserve games and for Guiseley if they get promoted.

  2. David Pendleton says:

    As Michael intimated, it is not so much the title chairman (or chairmen) that is of importance here, but the manner in which decisions are arrived at and how they are effectively communicated. I’m sure there is enough nous among the three men to negotiate a strategy for Bradford City and then decide, and stick to, who will be the public persona of the club. That individual doesn’t even have to be one of the trio, an effective chief executive, given an appropriate measure of trust and freedom of day-to-day action, can easily fulfil that role. Of course, it can only work where there is discipline within the organisation and an avoidance of the, understandable, temptation to micro-manage from above. Clearly defined roles, effective delegation and, crucially, trust are visible in the vast majority of successful organisations. Indeed, in a business that operates in the public realm, they are vital.

    It appears that we will be soon welcoming Steve Parkin into the boardroom of Bradford City. My initial thought when it was announced that he was joining as part of a trio was ‘for now’. If his grand ambitions for a Bradford Sporting Club are to come to fruition I would expect a future offer for either Mark Lawn’s or Julian Rhodes’ shareholding, which would then give Steve Parkin a majority shareholding. For the moment attention will be focussed on the impact the new ‘investment’ will have on the 2011/12 season. It is my sincere hope, and expectation, that the refreshing outlook being brought to Valley Parade by Peter Jackson and Archie Christie et al is allowed to continue and flourish. Of course, as we know all too well, fine words do not equate to points on the board, but if we can’t be optimistic before a ball has even been kicked in pre-season training, then there really is no hope!

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