Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with the Bantams, the editor of Vital Bradford City answers a few questions for us.
Having been among the favourites at the start of the season, I guess the Bradford fans’ expectations were high. What are they now?
‘I think we’re at a point where expectation has gone out of the window. We’re in a lot of trouble on the pitch and right now we want the season to end as quickly as possible with our league status intact and another disappointing year behind us.’
How do the fans feel about Peter Taylor, do they believe that given time, he’s the man to turn the club’s fortunes around?
‘Taylor had big shoes to fill in replacing Stuart McCall. I don’t think anybody enjoyed seeing Stuart struggle at the helm of the club he loves so much but there was widespread acceptance that you couldn’t keep a manager based on emotion alone. And of the candidates available Peter Taylor was head and shoulders above the rest, a proven manager at this level with an excellent record of promotion from League 2.
But if we can’t keep a manager for emotional reasons it must mean they live or die by their results. Taylor’s speak for themselves – we can’t score goals, we can’t keep them out and we have crumbled in game after game. He has alienated fans and proven an unpopular figure in the dressing room with players pushed out (and even sent to Thailand) for daring to question his methods.
At the start of the season we were dubious about his only getting a 1 year contract. Now we wish he’d abandoned us for Newcastle just 4 weeks ago.’
You were unlucky to lose at our place earlier this season and looked a good side, how on earth are you 19th?
‘There is no consistency to anything associated with the club this season. We might play very well one week and then be beyond awful the next. Peter Taylor might pick one set of players who perform well and then choose a completely different eleven. He might play players in positions in which they’re skilled or he might put Luke Oliver up front. It’s all very mysterious. Ultimately if you don’t score you can’t win and we have not been able to find goals consistently despite Taylor trying 8 or 9 strikers.
As an aside, our game earlier in the season was the final appearance of then club captain Zesh Rehman. Shortly afterwards he was interviewed on the radio and expressed frustration at being repeatedly benched in favour of loan signings despite being involved in some of our better performances. Not many Bantams disagreed with his sentiments but Taylor transfer listed him and he’s now enjoying his football in Thailand. Whoever replaces Taylor will miss the presence of someone who was an excellent ambassador for the club in our community as well as being a steady and experienced head to have around the club.’
How would you describe your style of play and do you enjoy watching it?
‘I think you might know the answer to this one. Taylor’s brand of football is not easy on the eye. It’s not entertaining. It’s not a joy to watch. We were happy to suck it up on the basis that we knew it was effective. How many one-nil victories did you grind out on your way out of League Two? To play negative and depressing football and STILL lose 15 times this season tells its own story. It’s just horrible.’
How do you feel about the the Omar Daley – Kevin Ellison swap?
‘Omar Daley is the marmite of our squad – people do either love him or hate him. I used to have very little time for Omar (there’s print evidence in 4-4-2 of my saying I’d gladly drive him to his next club) but that season he applied himself well and looked to have both more confidence and a greater passion for his team mates. This year he’s scored some really important goals and at times looked our most dangerous player but particularly in our last home game (a 2-1 defeat against Lincoln) it looked like he had been told to play narrow and stay deep. He is a winger. He thrives when he’s running at his man and putting defences on the back foot.
Sadly in a Taylor team flair is a luxury and sadly it looks like Omar couldn’t find a way to get stuck in to the fight we find ourselves in. As he’s out of contract in the summer it looks like Taylor is saving his successor the job of making a decision over his future and perhaps it’s paying for some of his other excesses in the loan market but generally speaking I’m not that impressed.
Nothing against Ellison but he’s an average player who has never really impressed me with talent or temperament when I’ve seen him play. He’s probably consistent but so few of Taylor’s signings have been up to much I don’t have high hopes. I rate him less than I rate Daley so our squad is the poorer for the switch.’
Having played all the other teams in the division now, who do you fancy for the top three places?
‘It’s strange, I’ve seen us outplayed and outclassed by teams who are really struggling whilst taking six points from Bury and running Chesterfield very close a few weeks ago and they’re supposedly nailed on to go up. Notwithstanding our performances against them I’m pretty sure that Chesterfield are looking good to occupy one of those spaces alongside yourselves and Bury. Bury and Chesterfield have been in and around the promotion hunt for years and it finally looks like they’ll manage it this year.’
What’s been your highlight of the season so far?
‘Omar has scored a couple of absolutely incredible goals this year and I think the volley he scored to give us three points against Bury at the start of this year will be my preferred memory over the disinterested shadow he cast against Lincoln. It was after all the last time we won a game!
And the one ray of light in an otherwise dark season has been the signing of Dave Syers for which (begrudgingly) the credit goes to Peter Taylor. An absolute find.’
What’s been your worst experience?
‘I just don’t care about Saturday coming. My love for Bradford City is far more about choice than feeling at the moment. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a club with the level of disenchantment and disappointment surrounding it than ours. The last decade has been tortuous. When will it end?’
Take a guess at Saturday’s final score?
‘We’ll take the lead in stunning fashion, a debut goal from Kevin Ellison but then we’ll switch off at the start of the second half. After you equalise we crumble, you run out 4-1 victors and neither chairmen or directors are allowed out of the ground by the baying mob outside the ground calling for Peter Taylor’s head.’
Thanks Wellers – you certainly didn’t pull any punches there.