The Roland Harris Column

Monday 24 December, 2001

The morning after the night before

My Mum said a lot of right stuff.

My Mum is the woman who took me to City in the early 90s and told me that even though they were winning the Championship, had an exciting French player called Eric and all my mates and the rest of my family supported them, I should take a wide berth of Elland Road and stick with City

My Mum used to tell me that it never mattered who everyone else thought I should go out with, it mattered who seemed right to m. As a teaching aid to this she used Gregroy's Girl. She said it was a good film. It is.

Another thing my Mum used to tell me was to sleep on my anger. That if you still feel angry after a night's kip then act, if not then you will not regret what you did the night before.

I'm still angry about Jim Jefferies.

I'm angry that there is a mismatch in how much we care. Like most City fans I'm going to be encountering a bunch of family members with different scarves on this Christmas. Like a lot of City fans most of these scarves will be white, yellow and blue.

Sure I have 100 reasons why Leeds are Satan. David O'Leary's defending the indefensible Mark Viduka tackle of Newcastle's Nic Dabiazas as "Old fashioned Centreforward play" is the latest. Nat Lofthouse, Jackie Milburn, Jimmy Greaves these are old fashioned centreforwards and none of them tried on field amputations.

I do not remember the Germany going off on a stretcher in the 1966 World Cup final with Hurst's boot marks in his shattered knee. O'Leary sickens me more than Jim Jefferies at the moment, but at least O'Leary seems bothered about the results of his side, even if to get them he will go to stupid degrees.

But unlike most years when they are chelping at me about Elland Road and I am breaking them down I will have little in my locker to come back at them. O'Leary is a bad man, but Jefferies is a bad manager. Their centreforward cuts off knees, but ours misses from three sodding yards out. They have violent thugs for a midfield, but our midfield is non-existent. If they were to attacking anyone down a side street you can not imagine them inflicting that much damage. We can hardly point fingers at Lee Bowyer's drinking when we have Lee Sharpe in our midfield.

So I have slept on it and this is what I have come up with. Jim Jefferies is our manager but he does not want to be. This makes most of us sad because we all need to be loved and quiet a few Bradford fans think that JJ is great at his job. I have never seen any evidence of this. Where are the games where City punched above their weight? In which games did a Jim Jefferies master stroke win it for us. I remember thinking that against Grimsby and Watford he very nearly lost us games with his "tactical changes".

He thinks that Stuart McCall is over the hill but I remember against Manchester United six months ago seeing him put the 36 and a half year old Stuart against David Beckham (And Wayne Jacobs against Ryan Giggs). Where are these tactical masterstroke, these moments of genius that mean that Jim Jefferies is a great loss to Bradford City?

I will give Jim Jefferies his attacking football. I like that and I like his 433 when he plays it although the way he scrambled for a new tactic when 433 was sussed out was embarrassing. Everyone in VP could see that the full backs needed support when defending. 442 should have been the first choice, not the 18th after umpteen defeats.

Aidan Davison simply is not a better keeper than Gary Walsh, he makes too many errors. That Jim Jefferies put him in shows a lot of about the desperation the manager was feeling, or the fact that he thinks he can experiment with impunity, cause he does nt care enough about the outcome.

What has the new broom of Jim Jefferies left us? Take the two loan players out of the team who has he brought us that would get into the starting eleven? A full strength City side would be Walsh | Locke Wetherall Myers Emanuel | Jess McCall Whalley Sharpe | Ward Blake, only two of these players are JJ signings and one could argue that Jess would be out and Benito Carbone would be in. This revolution of JJ's has been getting a bunch of guys he knows to sit on the bench with him.

As for falling out with Stuart McCall I have this to say: If Jim Jefferies does not want Stuart McCall to figure somewhere in City, McCall with his attitude so much what City is about, then I don't want Jim Jefferies. Bradford City should always have a home for Stuart McCall, not for what he has done for us, although that is case enough, but because if we want to make a club in someone's image then he is the best starting point.

So I am not upset about a Christmas without Jim Jefferies. In fact I hope that at the Monday meeting GR brings up the idea of resigning and that on Chris Kamara's birthday (25th of December BTW) City are managerless.

That way I might not be able answer all the stuff that Uncles Steve and William say, but I will know that it is changing.

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