The Jonathan Jackson Column

Monday 24 December, 2001

Jim Jefferies: Will He Fall or Is He Being Pushed?

The rumour mill was doing its best on Sunday, regular comments on Five Live & Talk Sport telling us JJ was on his way after the match. Then a mate rings to say he knows a man, who knows a man, a knows another who's dad is on the Board who says that JJ has already gone and won't be at Highfield Road.

Who's the source I ask? Don't know he replies, but Sam told me so it must be true.

Come 6.00 JJ is at Highfield Rd, City are once again minus McGod and normality reigns, or does it.

Contrast the two Chairmen. Richardson having looked pensive and a little displeased for most of the first half sits back at 7.30 lights a huge cigar and puffs on it like Winston Churchill having just swallowed a Cheshire cat. The camera pans to Sir Geoff. Not a pretty sight, and looking like a man with either a very short time left to live or one with something on his mind.

JJ looks a bit that way too, but then hasn't he always.

Brought in as a saviour when the ship was sinking, he was never going to turn it around immediately. For a start we couldn't afford to gamble to get back into the Premiership like Man City, or Coventry. Us being there at all was, to most outside of Bradford, a freak and an affront to the football world a scale never seen before.

But I think JJ is starting to prove his worth, and early promising signs are beginning to be seen.

Despite appearances of having the Midas touch in reverse, not knowing his best line up or formation or being able to get his bunch of (lets face it) pretty talented and expensive footballers to play as a team for much more than 30 minutes per match, his hatchet is beginning to work.

The wage bill is down from £14million to £7.5million.

New shoots are starting to appears, and old expensive ones will be further cut back in the spring.

Promises of further new growth to come and despite results JJ tries to play attractive attacking football.

JJ's big problem is (possibly was by now) the aforementioned Ginger God. Even at 37 he is still a class act, but JJ has a power struggle on his hands that he seems intent to win. Using Stuarts age as a tool its a battle he can't win, because despite JJ's attempts to convince us, we know that Stuart's legs haven't gone and his heart pounds on stronger. His importance to the team as captain is greater than the sum of its parts.

It could be a battle too far, and JJ should be using Billy Brown's departure to get Stuart back on side rather than thinking Hogmanay in Edinburgh with his old pal BB, and a bottle of 12 year old malt.

My gut feeling (apart from indigestion) is that JJ will go today (Monday), but from the hounded look on Sir Geoff's face its going to be one of those "hardest decision I ever had to make" days.

I just hope that when he does, he resists the temptation to give the legend that is Stuart McCall the job.

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