The Michael Wood Column

Friday 6 June, 2003

On Richmond's return to football

At the request of Michael Wood wrote a few paragraphs on Geoffrey Richmond being appointed Chief Executive of Notts County answering if Richmond be good for Notts County and what his strengths/weaknesses as our chairman were?

Not many Bradford City fans have a good word to say about Geoffrey Richmond. His record at the club includes a win at Wembley in the play offs against the Magpies, a glorious day when we were promoted to the Premiership and a better one when the world watched David Wetherall head us to another season mixing with the big boys. However, Richmond has gone down in history as the man who took this club into administration. The man who almost killed the Bantams.

It says as much about the Bradfordian mentality as it does the merits of Mr Richmond that we remember his faults and not his benefits. His faults were there for all to see in the Summer of 2000 when he appointed a rookie manager and sanctioned the purchase of the likes of Ian Nolan, David Hopkin, Ashley Ward and most notoriously Benito Carbone setting the club on a downward spiral that ended up 33m in the red. As Notts Chief Executive he gets to control your purse strings, but not how much money is in the purse and that could be the best thing all round.

Best thing because what Richmond does well, he does very well. He was often mistakenly called a self publicist at City, not true. His star rose but in line with that of our club. He loved the limelight make no mistake about it but the fact that our gates went from 3,000 to over 15,000 suggests that whatever publicity the club got it registered in the right places. He is forthright and imaginative. The quid-a-kid scheme that most fan praise and the sponsored stadium idea that we curse all started under Richmond at Scarborough.

He is a builder. He has grand ambitions and he plays with big stakes. We were up in the game in the Premiership because of him and likewise when we were in administration it was his fault too. As you know administration is a Hell of it's own but it takes a very brave man to say that in exchange for not going though that you would give up the glory of the Premiership. That could sum Richmond up but it does not.

The best way to sum Richmond up, the final thing that he has left Bradford City with is simple: Self belief.

Before Richmond as a club we ambled by, now we talk of plans to get back into the Premiership. He instilled an idea that this club, any club, need not just get by. How he did it is almost immaterial next to the idea that when we kick off next season Bradford City supporters, famed for negativity and pessimism, will be thinking that the rag tag bunch of kids and seniors we have should be pushing for the biggest league in the world.

That is Geoffrey Richmond's legacy to Bradford City and that is what he is best at and if you can get belief that without going through administration he will be a very good for you indeed.

Index of column & Biography | Mail