The Jonathan Jackson Column

Wednesday 02 January, 2002

Richmond Out? Are You Completely Off Your Head?

The word on the street (or internet) has it that defeat today could spark off a big "Richmond Out" campaign, followed by some pretty nasty scenes at the AGM next week.

Once again the "D" word is doing the rounds, with the protagonists blaming City's current plight squarely on Sir Geoff's head because of money that Bradford City Holdings has paid out to its shareholders in dividends. Money they say that should have been spent on high fee, high earning players (players who would currently be adding to the wage budget had they been signed and thus preventing Nicky Law from reassembling his squad).

They (the fools who rush in) also say that amongst other things, Geoff only deals with 2 agents because they give him "bungs", that seats in the ground have been "sold" to a leasing company to raise funds and are being leased back by BCFC, that GR is responsible for the signings and picks the team, that it is his fault that we have no effective youth development scheme because he has starved it of money and that Bradford City Holdings Ltd is some sort of scam company set up so Geoff and his co directors can cream money out of BCFC.

The worrying thing is that some of these people in the "GR Out/ Smash The Rose Tinted Specs Brigade" have the ear of (or are close to those who have the ear of) the City Gent.

I am firmly in the pro Richmond camp. That has not always been the case. After we lost at home to Portsmouth at the end of 1997/98, I genuinely thought he had lost it and was ready to sell the club's soul to the devil. But he put up the cash to fund a promotion and proved that he had picked the right man in PJ.

I see similarities with the appointment of Nicky Law, but if and when someone proves wrong doing I reserve the right to change my view. Until I back my man.

For a start Bradford City Holdings is a perfectly legitimate company set up to PROTECT the football club should we ever be in a position to float on the full stock exchange. Should this have happened and BCFC Holdings had gone belly up, the football club could have been sold off from within the group and taken its assets with it.

The talk of selling parts of the ground baffles me. Ok so we sell half of the CIBA stand and lease back the seats. What happens if we don't pay. Do the company it was sold to remove the seats or close that part of the ground? What kind of company deals with such illogical financing? Maybe naming rights or the snack bars etc have been sold, but as long as we get income from that who really cares.

Agents are scum of the earth who, in my opinion, have developed the same mass hysteria of greed and selfishness in football that the Wicked Witch Thatcher has engendered in this once proud nation's society. Some are worse than others and I can understand if looking at the reverse angle Geoffrey has certain agents he refuses to deal with (such as Mel Stein and the morons who so badly advised both Matt Clarke and Robbie Blake), but taking bungs or kick backs from agents is illegal. Mr Richmond is NOT stupid and is NOT dishonest. Nothing more needs to be said.

The persistent rumblings of the press and village idiots that GR picks the team and decides who to buy refuses to go away. I personally find this very hard to swallow. Ok so he owns the club and may give advise and instruction where he sees fit. He has the right to so and any right minded company boss does the same with his departmental managers.

Have any one of the managers who have come and gone under Richmond actually confirmed this? No. The knockers say he pays off his managers so they don't talk, but the fact remains that of these only Jim Jefferies has walked away of his own accord. Compensation for breaking the contract is a legal right to sacked managers and payment to gag free speech could not be included in this as the sacked men have that right to have their contracts paid up. If such actions were being taken by Geoff you could put money on it that it would have been exposed in the press by one of them, most likely Chris Kamara.

Richmond is a hard taskmaster, but remains close to some of his ex managers, Warnock in particular. Has he ever made such allegations? Again the answer is no. In fact the only ex "manager" to make any such comments is Stuart Pearson. A bitter man who inherited GR as his chairman and like his "Boss" Frank Stapleton didn't have the ambition to match Geoff's. (And have you seen the queue's of folk looking to employ these two in football management since leaving BCFC? - No neither have I)

Confidence is low, the club has the worst injury crisis I can remember since the flu bug that caused the multi postponement of the Norwich FA Cup tie in 1976, add to this the suspension of the only decent target man we have and of our on field leader and we are on a hiding to nothing on Saturday.

Defeat is a strong possibility, but now is the time to back the men at the top not hound them out.

Give GR the backing, shout down the morons who would have him walk away and work his magic elsewhere, and lets help Nicky Law get off to a winning start.

Geoffrey Richmond walking is unthinkable.

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