In case of emergency, spend money

“The money has gone.”

It is an old story which has been heard at Bradford City – and at other football clubs – up and down the land for as long as the game has been professional and so as Mark Lawn revealed that cash from the cup ties against Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday, and the monies earned from Tom Cleverley’s contract at Manchester United had all gone it was all supporters could do to not roll their eyes.

The money is always gone, according to chairmen, but there are different levels of gone.

The Carling Cup game with Leeds United is rumoured to have brought the club in £200,000. Any good chairman would immediately put the necessary in a tax account (although not Gordon Gibb, another story) and then Lawn tells us the money was put into the playing budget. Said Lawn “We immediately upped the manager’s (playing) budget by £100,000, so that’s gone.”

City bid £100,000 for Romain Vincelot on the day the club played Silsden. At that time Guy Branston, Mark Stewart, Ritchie Jones, even Scott Brown had already signed for the club and the likes of Nialle Rodney and Nakhi Wells were on trial. There was talk of divesting the club of some players – Michael Flynn used to figure on that list but is in the first team now – and perhaps some of the budget has gone to keeping him. Perhaps too it has gone on retaining Robbie Threlfall rather than playing Luke O’Brien.

It seems impossible to believe that the players brought in since Silsden have represented an excess of £100,000 over the ammount club were planning on spending. Jack Compton does not a £100,000 spend, nor does Martin Hansen, nor does Oscar Jonnson. At least I assume they do not. Perhaps borrowing a Spurs keeper does cost six figures, but I would be very surprised if the money in the player budget is spent.

Not spent but gone from the club’s point of view in that it has been earmarked for spending. In this week that Peter Jackson looks for an experienced striker it will probably be spent this week – or a chunk of it will be – although it seems that City have found that bringing in a good forward on loan in the week before the transfer window closes is not easy. Go figure.

The money is always gone but this time – it seems – that it is gone on bringing in loan players and fresh recruits. It is probably wise to keep a cash reserve for emergencies – had Flynn left City then we would probably be looking at making a signing to cover David Syers – but you will have your own thoughts, dear reader, on if not being able provide supply to four capable forwards constitutes such an emergency.

Blue Square Shoes

One for the money

Well it is all about money isn’t it? Football clubs have to be run as businesses. Budgets have to be balanced and spending to excess is unsustainable.

Yet at a time when Premier League players are swapped around like Panini stickers (Remember Got, Got, Got, need bad!) and the agents’ fees are enough to ensure the futures of several lower league clubs, it is hard to keep a grasp on financial reality. But money, not silly money just money, seems to be threatening the very existence of our football club once again, but this time in a different way.

No matter what sort of spin is put on it, I really feel that for the want of a relatively small amount of money (in Premier League terms at least) things would be very different right now at Bradford City.

For whatever reason he gives, and that we are asked to accept, Peter Taylor wants to stay at Bradford City. So whilst the club hovers above the extinction that non-league football will bring, we are asked to pin our hopes on a manager who seems unable to convince anyone that he knows what to do and the board – and possibly contributors to this site – are left with the need to make a virtue out of a necessity to maintain financial prudence.

Most of us have any doubt that if Peter Taylor resigned under similar financial circumstances to our previous manager, or, even better, had accepted the offer from Newcastle United at Christmas, then his resignation would have been readily accepted by the board.

If it is a case of professional pride with Peter Taylor then he could go a long way to convince us of his sincerity by foregoing his weekly salary until the club’s League status – forget promotion – is safe. This seems unlikely to say the least so we are left to come to our own conclusions about his reasons for staying here and amateur pride will not replace the professional sort.

So, among the reasons he remains is one for the money.

Two for the show

Much has been said about the dwindling desire of many fans to keep going to watch City this season. Dedicated travellers now pick their matches, some have decided to restrict their support to home fixtures and there is a significant number who have decided that a “no show” is preferable to the anticipated disappointment of home matches.

And the reason for their change of heart is the Taylor style of football.

When even a win can leave you feeling disappointed there is something seriously wrong about what is happening at Valley Parade. It would serve no purpose to re-hash the criticisms of the way the players seem to be at odds with themselves as well as their manager but despite fans’ frustrations, there is still an overriding support for the players – short and long termers – to make something of what they are being asked to do.

That goals are greeted with almost euphoric delight is to be expected but those of us who stayed to applaud the players after the final whistle against Lincoln could see the wretchedness on their faces – they do care and so do we.

Right now we seem willing to accept dull football if it will bring survival. But once safe, and I remain positive despite the tone of this piece, let us hope we never stoop to such spirit-sapping football ever again. On and off the pitch, the show must go on.

Three to get ready

If, as it seems we are, to place our trust in Peter Taylor and his style of play to save our League status, we have to be proactive about the future.

Peter Taylor had an unprecedented induction period as City manager. There was no pressure at the end of last season, a chance to get to know the players, evaluate needs and establish a spirit so that we “hit the ground running” at the start of this season. And yet we just hit the ground! And have struggled ever since.

Now a “meaningless” end to this season is the best we can hope for and League survival has to be Taylor’s final objective before his inevitable departure. But whilst the manager gets on with his job the club’s focus must be on what follows him. Jason has talked of the desirability of a smooth transition however unlikely it seems it will be at the moment given the personal and financial situations at the club. Yet the club does have a valuable opportunity to prepare for next season and it must be taken.

Whatever the business ethics involved, there has to be a way, however untenable to Peter Taylor, in which Bradford City can work around the manager as well as with him.

Now go cat! Go!

Given the number of managerial “lives” Peter Taylor has used up at Bradford City then maybe this should read “Go Pete go”.

Whilst I concur with a lot of what Jason has to say in his piece I don’t agree with his conclusion that there is nothing to be gained by changing the manager now.

Nothing in Peter Taylor’s time as manager has had the mark of continuity so would a change of manager disrupt the already disrupted nature of what we have now?

The reliance of the present manager on his “system”(?) suggests that Peter Taylor is, to borrow a business phrase from Lord Sugar, a “one trick pony” and that trick is clearly not working at City. Changing the manager has obvious and historic risks as Jason has pointed out. But compare these with the inherent risks of not changing a failing organisation and you have a blinkered outlook that relies on hope rather than intervention.

In our current situation is doing something not preferable to doing nothing – or are we constrained by the money after all?

Whatever the outcomes regarding the manager, the message to the board and through them to the players is “Do anything, but stay off of those Blue Square shoes.”

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