Positive Bradford City

For those outside the metropolitan area – and a good few inside it who might have missed the news – today is Positive Bradford day in the City.

Positive Bradford day being defined as a single day of the year where the inhabitants of the City are invite to recognise and forget the ills that have befallen Bradford and instead just think of all the good things.

One can hear the voices of decent but – in keeping with the day – those voices are ignored as a part of the ills and the positive is accentuated. It is a noble aim but very much a first step in mental civic rehabilitation. Still, as my Nan used to say “Them that don’t do nowt, don’t do nowt” and more power to the elbow of anyone who is involving themselves in Positive Bradford day.

Positive Bradford City day seems a way off. The talk of losing cultures and negative moods is around for a reason. Bradford City, like the City of Bradford, is in a slump.

Perhaps though the football club could take a leaf from the City in how to change that mood. Of course there is the idea that we could have a Positive Bradford City day at Valley Parade – imagine watching a game where all criticism was outlawed, how curious that would be – but for real examples on how to improve Bradford City one suspects the club need to look further afield.

To Germany and to St Pauli to be exact. The story of St Pauli is an interesting one and one which City could learn from. Not the pole dancing and pirates side of the club or necessarily the punk ethos and freebooters of the league tag but rather at the way that St Pauli turned their club around emerging from the darkest time for football in Germany with something rather enjoyable.

Which is underline the fact that St Pauli are not the most successful club in Germany and probably never will be, but they are enjoyable and passionate in a way which most supporters – especially Bradford City fans – are not.

Boiling the St Pauli experience down to the basics the German club were in a similar situation to the City of Bradford. They looked at the negative things around their club and area and worried they were insurmountable. The ground was in a bad part of town, the club had few fans, the tradition was not much to speak of.

Each negative was reassessed. How could it be flipped around, be a positive. Other people tell the story much better than I but a ground in a poor part of town gave rise to the Pirates of Football approach, the lack of supporters saw the club actively pursue new fans who were not commonly football supporters in the left wing punk scene of the City, the lack of tradition gave a blank slate for the club to be rewritten on. Everything that was a strike against became a strike for.

Which is not to say that City could enact the same solution just that the same method of positive thinking could be applied to Bradford City. Flip the things which the club think hold City back and there are opportunities.

One is keen to avoid enumerating those problems and giving potential solutions for fear of setting the debate too rigidly. More, on this Positive Bradford day it is worth musing not on the things we do not have at Bradford City but those we do, and how we can maximise them.

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