The Michael Wood Column

Friday 28 June, 2002

Welcome home Mr. Richmond

Confession: I did not trust Geoffrey Richmond from the moment I set eyes on him and when he sacked Frank Stapleton that confirmed my fears that the man was untrustworthy and had come to City for all the wrong reasons.

Yes I started out as anti-Richmond. I changed my mind though. Correction. He changed my mind.

Somewhere between the day that he said goodbye to Frank Stapleton and the day he said hello to new manager Paul Jewell the big man had convinced me that he was doing the right thing. Perhaps it was the way he acted sooner rather than later in the second season with Lennie Lawrence and not only saved the season but turned it into the glory of Wembley. Whatever it was it had become clear to me that how Geoffrey Richmond was running Bradford City is very much how I would be running Bradford City.

So now I ask the question to myself, would I have made the mistakes Geoffrey Richmond made in running Bradford City?

Would I have gone after the second season in the Premiership like some crazed Ahab figure bent on being right above all else? I cannot say I would not have.

Would I have believed Jim Jefferies when he said that a team that beat Derby and Charlton in the back end of the Premiership were good enough to mount a challenge for next term? Well I did.

Would I have put the club into administration? If I did I know that I would have moved Heaven and Earth to get us out of it. It would seem that GR has done.

Mine is not to praise Geoffrey Richmond. I just say it straight. Many, but not all, of his decisions are my decisions. I'm not the only city fan who thought that after staying up we needed to spend to stay up again.

Richmond has much to do on his return to Valley Parade. He has the wrongs carried out in his name to right, forget talk of the likes of Benito Carbone losing their jobs, Steve Smith, loyal club man at City, is also out of work after administration.

Their is also unfinished business that GR had failed to prioritise. The football academy becomes a must for a team without funds to spend in the transfer market. Richmond also has to expect to be asked about dividends, a question that the dissolving of his partnership with Pf. Rhodes may free him to answer. GR may find he is asked to dip into his pockets, we shall see how long his arms are.

All those points aside though I welcome Geoffrey Richmond back to Valley Parade. In the past he has seen things and done things at Valley Parade that even the most ardent City fan never expected would be possible. For a while he took us to Bob Martin's Cloudcookooland when most other people could not even see the possibility of it.

Geoffrey Richmond knows what Bradford City is. He knows what he is getting himself into (again). If he is prepared to come and fight our corner again then I will fight side by side with him and not against him.

Welcome home Mr. Richmond.

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From: Nigel Hall

I trust you've heard the news about the admin. extending to its final date.

If the creditors knock this back then that will be it.

Everything that was said by the Chairman at the last forum has proved to be wrong.

The person he lambasted then , MR GORDON TAYLOR, is now being called a hero by the club itself.

It has become a farce.

4 men playing tic-tac-toe with 99 years of the clubs history.

And still we have no team.

Its all in the balance and still people kiss GR's arse.


You make some very valid points here about how a person can turn from villain to hero in a remarkable short space of time. You talk of 99 years of history. For the vast majority of them we were a nothing team, and also ran. Geoffrey Richmond was one of very few people who suggested that Bradford City fans could expect something other that getting by in the lower leagues. City have never had a backer with such a clear belief in what can be done with this club. In short Geoffrey Richmond believed Bradford City could do better when no one, including most of the fans, did.

You talk about villain to hero in a short space of time? Look at it the other way around.