10:00am Tuesday 15th May 2012
By Simon Parker
On the face of it, the football campaign just gone did not throw up too many positives for Bradford City fans.
But the much-improved form at Valley Parade over the second half was certainly one of them.
Six league losses on your own soil sounds nothing to write home about. But only one of them – that fiery night with Crawley that was overshadowed by the post-match events – came after mid-November.
Throw in the FA Cup win over Wimbledon and City have been beaten just once in the last 15 Valley Parade matches.
It seems Phil Parkinson is going the right way to sorting the mental demons that have held the home side back for so long.
Joint-chairman Julian Rhodes certainly thinks so and that’s why he is confident that season-ticket sales will again be healthy.
He said: “Phil’s had a ten-game unbeaten run at home and lost one out of 15. The last time we achieved that kind of run was in the Stuart McCall season when we really went for it with the budget. Before that, it was under Paul Jewell when we got promoted in 1998/99.
“Admittedly a lot of those games last season were draws but it was probably only against Port Vale when we were lucky. The rest we should have won.
“People talk about making your home patch a fortress and Phil has pretty much turned round a team that looked like anybody could beat into one that’s very hard to break down.”
The £199 ticket offer runs until the end of the month and City expect a late rush. The launch had been held back by the club because of the uncertainty of their league future.
Rhodes added: “We didn’t have any choice. If we were going out of the league, we couldn’t have taken people’s money.
“The flip side with the deadline being later is that it allows people to get the money together.
“Season-ticket prices are a bit more expensive this year but still very cheap compared with everybody else.”
Many fans are likely to go with the 50/50 option, paying £50 up front to book their seat and then a half-price tenner every game they attend.
Rhodes said: “I’d like to think hardcore support will buy a season ticket. But those fans who are not so sure would be mad not to buy a 50/50.
“It costs at least a tenner to pay on the gate at any of the non-league clubs round here. For £50 more, you can have your own seat to watch League Two.
“Why wouldn’t I be confident? I think home performances will simply keep getting better.
“Most people I’ve spoken to think it’s been a lot better at home than the previous two seasons.
“I can remember coming here years and years when you felt we were going to lose. But we’ve put in some good performances here.
“You can see the belief in the team, especially when we’ve played the bigger teams and really taken the game to them.
“Shrewsbury finished the second best team in the league but they didn’t know what hit them coming here.
“Is the 50/50 scheme a gamble? No. We always have to come up with new ways of selling tickets to people.
“It’s difficult because there’s a big recession. People don’t have much money but we want them to come and watch and believe the entertainment on offer is getting better.”
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group