The Michael Wood Column

Friday 1 August, 2003

Keeping the faith on the 1st of August

It probably screams from the odd paragraphs I write for BfB and if it did not then the odd mention of the St Anthony's - St Edmund Campion - St Bedes school route give it away. I was raised Catholic.

Catholics, funny bunch, have one currency, the solemn vow, and pretty much what they do is refresh those vows. Communions, christenings, confirmations: it's all about repeating the vows.

At City we have a date, the 11th of May, in which we are retrospective. We take a look back at ourselves in the context of being a random football fan and consider ourselves lucky. It's good we do that but it serves a greater, more general theme than just questions about Bradford City.

On this day, the 1st of August, we should look back at 2002 and take a look at the state of Bradford City.

On the 1st of August, 2002 we were laid low. We were on a nine count and the fact that we got up to at least last another day still amazes me. If anyone ever tells you that getting the right people onside for the CVA was not a close run thing do not believe them.

However in the year since then we have renewed our club. On the field we have the youngest side we have seen in years. Off the field we are doing more than paying lip service to youth development and are scouring the leagues for fresh talent who we can get on the way up, not cradle on the way down. The lessons of the 33m have been learned.

Perhaps ever 1st of August we should take a look at Bradford City and make sure that we have not forget those lessons. I have sympathy for Geoffrey Richmond's six weeks of madness cause if I had had the purse strings and been shown such a basic lack of respect for what we had done by staying in the Premiership then I would probably have done the same. As the man says: "No one ever looks like Joe McCarthy, that's how they get past the door."

We should mark this day, the 1st of August, as the day we look at the club and make sure we have not slipped back to bad ways.

At the moment Bradford City are moving more towards the club when it is at it's best. We seem to be progressive for the first time in three years and have the sort of team we have not had for twenty and I like to think that we, the fans, have had a hand in shaping that.

Lewis Emanuel, Simon Francis, Danny Forrest, Tom Penford, Kevin Sanasy... all these players have been greeted like sons graduating by Bantam fans sending a signal to the bench and to the board that we want to see our kids coming through. On the 1st of August, 2002 I asked What kind of Bradford City do you want anyway? and suggested that far from being a thing we do not get involved in development of young players was core to the City fan experience.

Over the last year we as fans have shaped the team with our reactions to Law's young side and that is how it should be and every 1st of August we should take a look down the squad list and make sure that the team is still as we would like it.

Every year on the 1st of August we should renew our faith as Bradford City fans. We should look at the club and were we find fault, we should set about correcting it in some way. Football club's are hard beasts to take to water but I believe we have had influence this year and that we can do next.

"Ask not what you club can do for you but what you can do for your club..." is a whole different article but today, one year on from the day which could have seen an end to something that was so good and is getting back that way again we should make this date the day we renew our Bantamhood.

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