Lawn: On paper Bradford City signings are a lot better than last year (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Mark Lawn: On paper Bradford City signings are a lot better than last year
Joint-chairman Mark Lawn gives his assessment of the new season’s expectations for City:
I’ve said before that since I’ve been here we’ve had managers who are hard-working and managers who are intelligent. Phil Parkinson is the first intelligent AND hard-working one.
He’s very articulate and that helps when he’s trying to get his point of view over. He’s a very fair-minded man too – if you upset Phil, you’ve been a bit of a troublemaker.
The players that he’s brought in are a real plus. I don’t want to pick out individuals but Gary Jones, for me, is the catalyst we’ve been missing of late.
He’s that type of player who doesn’t just win the ball but looks for it all the time. He makes shapes and positions for other people so they can lay it off. I’ve only seen him in a couple of friendlies but he looks very impressive – and fit too.
Then there’s Andrew Davies, who nobody thought we would sign – including me. I did a talk at a meeting of the Skipton Bantams and said there was no chance of us getting him. That was no bluff. I honestly believed it.
So you’ve got to turn round and say it’s down to Phil again that he’s come back. It’s the even-handed way he has treated his players and Andrew has come here to prove himself this year. It will be a big season for him.
You look at the other signings and the likes of Garry Thompson, Rory McArdle, James Meredith, Stephen Darby and Alan Connell. On paper they are all a lot better than we had last year.
Watching pre-season, it looks like Will Atkinson has turned it round a bit. He has something to prove and he’s going out to do that. Ross Hannah , too, has looked sharp and scored goals and we’ve still got James Hanson and Nahki Wells.
The squad is promising this year but there is a long way to go and all sorts of things can happen. Look at what happened that year I put the extra £1million in. We were flying until Omar Daley broke his leg and that one injury destroyed us.
We’ve got to keep our heads down and plug away. Take a leaf out of Phil’s book. Whether we won or lost last year, I think there was only one reaction I saw out of him and that was at Northampton when we were safe. He let the mask slip that day and gave us all a hug because we’d done it.
But he generally keeps everything on an even keel through the highs and lows. We all know how bad the lows can be. When you’re winning it’s easy but it’s getting out of those lows and that’s when you need someone who won’t get carried away either way.
There will be lows this year. There will be times when everybody’s saying “it’s all gone wrong” because that’s the nature of the game. It’s up to Phil to sort that out and bring everyone round to go again.
The fixtures have given us a hard challenge from the start. I’d rather play Fleetwood six or seven games in when the euphoria of getting into the league has calmed down a wee bit.
They will be hyped up for coming to our stadium for their first away game and the task for us is to cope with that. But that’s nothing new for Bradford City. Even when we were bottom four last year, people were still coming here to shoot us.
We’ve got to have people that won’t stand for that. You look at this squad and there are ones in there who will relish playing in front of a big crowd.
That’s why we brought in the treble 50 bonus for the season-ticket holders and flexicard members. Let’s get more fans in and return to the 13,000 crowds and let our players lead them on.
Be vociferous. You’ve seen what they do at our neighbours in Leeds – Vinnie Jones used to get the whole place rocking and rolling. Opposition hated it and it would be great if they had the same sense of dread about coming here.