The Permanent Revolution

On Saturday Stuart McCall’s team will try record a third win on the bounce and continue a run of good form that started on Boxing Day and has given rise to some optimism at Valley Parade. The 14,000 odd at Valley Parade have reason to be happy with the way that the team is going and Julian Rhodes should be given an award for that.

Rhodes – along with Mark Lawn – will probably pick up the Football League award for the Perform Best Fan Marketing campaign after going down a division but doubling the attendance. They are planning on getting 20,000 into Valley Parade next season through similarly impressive decision making but even if they do one doubts it will make as much difference as dropping season ticket prices last season has.

Back in October, 2005 – Friday 7th to be exact – I wrote the article A rough sketch of a business plan for the future of Bradford City in which I said

A permanent revolution in pricing is needed. City need to set the cost of going to Valley Parade around the level of a trip to the cinema in order that is represent something approaching value. A cursory glance around VP will tell you that the £15 plus price has put off a generation of supporters with older faces outnumbering the young considerably.

After a half season of what in the history of modern football is by far the closest thing to the permanent revolution in pricing those words are starting to bring fruit.

While the atmosphere at Valley Parade has been up and down all season the weight of a support behind Stuart McCall’s side when they capture imagination is impressive. Not only impressive but it seems to be working. I have gone on record as saying I’d like to have the cacophony behind the Bantams at all times but we cannot have everything we want and until City fans get the unfettered support that really would be a permanent revolution then I’m happy that 14,000 people can chant “Barry, Barry, Barry” when the man trundles onto the field. It is the sort of support that builds atmosphere.

And atmosphere – for want of a better phrase – begets enjoyment and enjoyment brings return visits. Just like the kid-a-quid scheme of Geoffrey Richmond the work being put in now is building a generation of supporters for the future. One could only estimate how many City fans would be retained next season should prices have been returned to former levels for 2008/2009 but one can be sure that that number is greater than it would have been in the season following our relegation last term.

So Rhodes and Lawn push on with the two-for-one offer which hopes to bring 20,000 to Valley Parade for League Two football – or perhaps better fingers, toes, eyes crossed – and they deserve credit for not resting on their laurels.

More than credit though they deserve recognition that what Bradford City have done this season is special, should be copied and in a very significant way is giving football back to the supporters.

A shiny trophy is the least they deserve.