The Michael Wood Column

Thursday 23 May, 2002

Thinking about a future without Bradford City

I saw Darren Slingsby in Bradford Interchange with a copy of the Telegraph and Argus.

Darren, well known as a character to readers of the City Gent and those who followed City away during the eighties and nineties was not reading the paper, the headline of which read sacked, but clearly had.

He looked like his world had just ended. Perhaps it has.

There are furrowed brows and dazed faces across Bradford tonight. People are confused. On one hand the talk seems positive from the club and from Geoffrey Richmond as he delivered us into administration. Perhaps that is not that case.

When you listen to the administrators, that is hear then and not read them, they do not sound confident. They use words like "might" and "maybe". They "hope". They are anything but sure of finding a new buyer for City. They seem even less sure that the Bantams would be allowed to play in the Football League.

The PFA have softened their line on City being expelled from the league. They want the Football League to send a message to football through the Bantams. "It's disgusting and puts the whole game in jeopardy." say the PFA as if the game below the top fourteen of the Premiership was as not already in jeopardy.

What sort of future do the Bantams face? That censure will the Football League give the Bantams if any? Some are already suggesting that the administrators have taken this First Division club and made it a Second Division one. I have faith in Nicky Law but I'm not sure he will be able to turn five young professionals into a proper team in two months. Perhaps City's only hope could be that three other clubs in the division suffer a worse fate.

How can a team without any players be a team? What will a buyer be buying? The loyalty of Bantams fans is great but is getting tested. I am not sure that the support base would survive if the team do a Stockport this year. One could suggest that a new buyer would need to fund the club to get in a decent squad but we have done that buying a team thing before and look where we are.

There is also the issue of signing players. If City survive into June 2002 then Nicky Law will get a budget to sign players and perhaps money for transfer fees but how does he go about signing players to the club that ripped up contracts. Such a tag is unfair, no one at City had anything to do with sacking the players but tags stick.

Back to Darren Slingsby and his like which as I give a couple of hours a day to BfB I should probably include myself in. What would we do if come August we were looking at the fixture list without our name on it? What would I do, what would you do?

As with most things around Bradford today, contemplating such a question results in a furrowed brow.

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