The Roland Harris Column

Division One 2001-2002 Preview

August 2001

Why the only way really is up

A claret and amber shirt has the ball, he pings a pass, it's pinged back ambitiously but lost, intercepted. City are coming forward, caught out, the ball powers past in within seconds it's in the back of the Bantams net.

Well I guess it would have been fun if we had been the team doing that to other clubs but we weren't and that fact is that at time the Premiership could be about as much fun as having your testicles sandpapered.

Oh I'm not bitter about it, well not much, but the fact is that with the mismatch that was the case in at least a third (I'm a very loyal fan remember) of our Premiership games did not make for entertainment. Old Trafford 6-0? Thanks but no thanks.

The problem with the Premiership, and really by that I mean the problem with us in the Premiership, was that eternal losing the ball problem. At any level of football lower you don't get punished as much for your mistakes as you do in the Premiership. Even in Italy they have the decency to punish mistakes slowly, artistically. Not the Premiership, it's just Wham, in your net.

This year will be different. Firstly we have to hope that fewer passes are going to go astray. Are the players better? Not really (Although Whalley, Jorgensen and perhaps Makel could all be passing improvement over Hopkin and Windass) but the opposition are less able to snaffle up possession. If Crewe or Stockport have a Roy Keane to rob the ball from our toes I'll rethink, but I don't think they do.

Likewise in front of goal players are more scatter gun. It's trench war, not the Thierry Henry/Emile Heskey guided missiles. Sure it's not as much fun to watch on Match of the Day, what you lack in art you make up for in attempts.

Which is probably the heart of this year. Less quality, more quantity.

Quality though, is City's main weapon this year. Obviously Benito Carbone has it, but so does David Wetherall, I can not thing of a better defender in the division. Stuart McCall can play a bit, Gary Walsh is still the goalkeeper I would rather have given the choice of any in this league. Coventry can point to an impressive pool of talent as can Birmingham, but beyond that I do not see anyone who will be able to do to other clubs what Man United did to us.

So here it is, Division One. Odd thinking. We were 77 years without the Premiership, many City fans never even dreamed of seeing the Bantams get there, but now we are without it I'm like a junkie needing his fix. You see for all the talk of losing the ball and deadly finishes and how too much skill can be a bad thing, we City stride out this year your always going to know in the back of your head that this is not the best. Sure it might be more fun and we should enjoy it while we can, because we do not want to be back here next year.

Really I mean it when I say, the only way is up.

Index of column & Biography | Mail