Tommy Doherty – an apology

Warning: this article features bad language, please look away now if offended or too young to read such horrible words.

Tommy Doherty is not the first player to depart Bradford City with grievances – but with the advent of Twitter and the growing popularity of footballers to use social networking to share their views, the bitterness which the midfield playmaker feels towards our beloved club is there for all to see.

Much has already been made of his bizarre and at times abusive behaviour, but despite signing for Blue Square Premier side Newport County a week ago, the tweets of anger continue. After Lenny Pidgley read an interview with new Bantams Chief Scout Archie Christie, the former City keeper had tweeted: “just seen on bbc sport bradfords new scout thinks the club will be in the championship in 4 years, #bcfc what u think of that???” to which the Doc replied:

ill suck your dick if they are pal

Quite why any footballer in the public spotlight would think such phrasing and use of language is appropriate to air publically, given the responsibilities they carry, is one the FA and their new social networking policy might want to consider. But even ignoring the coarseness of the tweet, just what is the chip on his shoulder that is causing him to act in a petty manner towards his former employees? And what of the respect shown to us supporters who paid good money that went towards paying his wages?

In response to City fans on Twitter having a go at his views, they were treated to tweets back such as “well who is the mug there then, whilst you work I play golf or sleep or do whatever the f**k I like clownboy”. These kind of abusive comments – which it has to be said were triggered by some City fans, who should also know better, slating him by sending some nasty tweets – have been directed at fans for weeks now, and some of the words he’s used are disgusting for someone in his position to use. Take this one – which I’ve censored: “you pathetic pr**k uglymangotnolife now f**k off u mug.”

His attitude unmasks an extremely low opinion of football and City supporters. Of course he has the right to reply to criticism, but in the style he has chosen.

Clearly things didn’t work out for Doherty during his time at Valley Parade, and while we don’t know what went on behind the scenes the fact that Doherty returned to fitness from a long-term injury – playing a reserve game – but was then never selected by manager Peter Jackson suggests the relationship was not good. Were we to hear Doherty’s side of the story we might even have some sympathy for him. But instead we watch him publically slag off the football club and swear at our fellow supporters; the latter for no obvious reason other than getting a kick out of winding people up.

Back at Newport, Doherty has already contributed something that he never delivered at Valley Parade – an interview with the local media. Reference to his time at City are brief, but his unhappiness is still made clear:

I’ll be able to live with my family in Bristol after travelling up to four hours to Bradford last season. That will be a big plus. I wasn’t happy up there. It was a bad move for me and I didn’t play much because of injuries. Now I’m looking forward to concentrating on my football again and enjoying the game.

One can understand the unhappiness working so far from your family and, with almost all of Doherty’s career prior to joining City playing for Southern-based clubs, this was perhaps the first time he’d experienced such difficulties (not withstanding the four-month spell playing in Hungary prior to moving to Valley Parade). But that doesn’t mean the club and us supporters should be blamed or viewed at bitterly in the manner Doherty is acting.

I did have some sympathy for Doherty last season. I don’t believe he under-performed to the extent others have claimed, and I do feel that – as a player of such obvious talent – the management and team-mates were guilty of not utilising him as effectively as they could have done. At times he was asked to do too much, at others he was required to play far too deep. Nevertheless when on his game and the rest of the team on theirs he was a joy to watch stroking the ball around.

But having watched his behaviour on Twitter since departing the club, I feel compelled to apologise to people I’ve argued with, regarding him, over the past year and to readers of this site who have read my articles defending him. Whatever the rights and wrongs of how Jackson and the club treated him after his beloved Peter Taylor left, there is no excuse for publically slagging off the club and for showing such lack of respect to Bradford City supporters as he continues to demonstrate.

The guy doesn’t care – and if that was his attitude when he pulled on our colours it is no wonder last season went so badly. So I’m sorry for wasting my breath trying to stick up for him, and I’m glad that he has moved on to a place where he can be happier.

And whatever happens to Bradford City over the next four years, we stand a better chance of progressing forwards without paying someone as arrogant, petty-minded and spiteful as Doherty a large weekly wage to play in our midfield.