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Bradford City job nearly had Russell Slade’s name on it
Table-topping Russell Slade heads for City this weekend as it was revealed just how close he came to landing the Valley Parade hot-seat.
Slade’s Leyton Orient continue to lead the way in League One, holding off hot favourites Wolves with a haul of 43 points from 19 games.
Their visit kicks off a testing four-match run for the Bantams against sides who are all above them.
It will also be Slade’s first appearance at the club since he was pipped for the manager’s job in 2010.
Slade lost out in a head-to-head with Peter Taylor two months before landing his current role at Leyton Orient.
City joint-chairman Mark Lawn said: “We interviewed Russell with Peter Taylor and it really was touch and go between the pair of them. The man came with a dossier on every single one of our players. He came across as a very, very professional manager.
“We were really impressed. But we just went with Peter because of how many promotions he’d got with teams from that league.
“There but for the grace of God, we’d have had Russell Slade.”
Taylor’s reign at City never got off the ground and he left 13 months later. Slade is now the fifth longest-serving manager in England and Saturday will be his 200th Leyton Orient game in charge.
Lawn added: “Things didn’t work out the way we’d hoped with Peter but I think 90 per cent of people (at the time) thought we’d chosen right.
“But then Russell has had time down there. Not being rude to Leyt-on Orient but they’re not in the spotlight, they weren’t getting 13-14,000 home fans and you’re not being put under that pressure to do it straight away.
“It’s taken him three years. I don’t know whether the Bradford public would let that happen.”
Leyton Orient began the campaign in blistering fashion by winning the first eight games. But their impressive form stems from the end of last term.
They lost only two of their final 13 games to finish just outside the play-offs and set the tone for their current charge.
Lawn said: “It reminds me of the Bradford City promotion year in 1985. We’d gone on a good run towards the end of the season before and just carried it through.
“This is a tough league and every team seems to be going through a good run and then a bad one – apart from Leyton Orient.
“But they’ve got some good players. We went after Kevin Lisbie but he wouldn’t move north.
“We tried because Phil (Parkinson) had him down at Charlton but he just didn’t fancy coming up here.
“Some footballers do like to stay in the same area like that, so it does cut down your options sometimes.”
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