Phil Parkinson’s City have rekindled the spirit of 1985 during their history-making promotion campaign.
Mark Lawn reckons the bond between the current squad is the strongest since that legendary Valley Parade team of Stuart McCall, Bobby Campbell and John Hendrie.
The fans will get the chance to see their new heroes celebrate winning the League Two play-offs at tonight’s open-top bus parade. The squad set off from the ground at 6.30pm before the party really kicks in at City Hall in front of a predicted audience of thousands.
Joint-chairman Lawn believes that Parkinson – who is set to tie up his future with the club today – has generated such a powerful feeling among the players that it can keep propelling the Bantams further up the league ladder.
He said: “The spirit is amazing and I think it’s the best since the 1985 team.
“I know a few from then – Mark Ellis is one of my best friends, Stuart obviously, John Hendrie, Peter Jackson, Greg Abbott – and they were just like fans playing on the pitch. You get that same sense from watching this side. That’s what Phil has got into them and it’s so important.
“I gave him a hug on Saturday night and said I’m glad we didn’t sign so and so. I won’t mention the player’s name.
“Even though he’s a prolific goal-scorer, he would have been a bad egg and Phil was right to say no. We haven’t got anyone like that in this squad.
“When the new Premier League parachute payments kick in, it’s going to throw the whole league skew whiff. It’s not going to be money that overcomes that and breaks the stranglehold, it will be team spirit – and Phil has proved that his sides have that.”
Parkinson will spend the day discussing contracts with the board – not just his own and his backroom staff but the players whose current deals are also up at the end of next month. City are still to announce their retained list.
Lawn, who expects the whole management team to sign on the dotted line, admits the club’s extended season – and Parkinson’s single-minded approach to the play-offs – has left them with a hectic schedule to make up.
He said: “Realistically nothing gets done until June but we didn’t do anything before the play-offs so we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“Phil wouldn’t let us do anything else after the season ended. He didn’t want to talk about his contract, about plans for any celebration, anything – it was all about the play-offs, nothing else.
“And after we lost the first Burton game, the man just switched totally into business mode – and look what we did. He proved that to be the right decision.
“It’s not a complete overhaul this time. We certainly want to keep young (Carl) McHugh and there are a lot of business deals to be done.
“You’ve also got the likes of Luke Oliver coming back from injury. Phil’s a very shrewd man so he’ll know where to strengthen or not.”