RYAN Sparks has been appointed City’s chief executive officer – the youngest in the top four divisions.

Sparks, who has been at Valley Parade since the summer of 2018, has been promoted from his role as director of communications and commercial.

He will take over from Julian Rhodes, who had returned to the club in an initial consultancy role two years ago.

Sparks said: “It is a real honour and privilege to be tasked with what is such an important role within our football club.

“Anyone who knows me personally knows I am an ambitious, hard-working person, who has Bradford City Football Club firmly at heart.

“This is a role I have worked towards from a young age and I am excited and entirely prepared for the challenges which lie ahead.

“I have plans to help us address the immediate situation, with focus already on January

“I would like to thank Julian Rhodes, Stefan Rupp and the staff for their support. Julian returned to Valley Parade in one of the club’s darkest periods, with huge financial issues facing its very future.

“He has been extremely supportive of me and everyone at the club and has helped put us back in a position from which we can build and be successful once again.”

Sparks revealed that he is already looking towards the January transfer window as City bid to lift their flagging fortunes.

Stuart McCall’s side currently sit fifth-from-bottom in League Two – the club’s lowest position since 2012.

“I will not hide from the fact this season has not so far gone to plan,” added Sparks.

“We are some way away from where we would like to be, and our focus is on moving away from the position we currently find ourselves in.

“I have a great relationship with Stuart McCall and we work closely together.

“I have plans to help us address the immediate situation, with focus already on January, and am determined to play my part in building a Bradford City which boasts a clear identity, direction and - quite frankly - meaning.

“Over the past few months, I have been working across the business in a bid to make several improvements which can have a positive impact on our long-term future, which I plan on sharing further over the coming weeks.

“As chief executive, I intend to remain transparent and run the football club very much alongside supporters and partners. I will be present and approachable, as I always have been, and hope to earn respect through my actions.”

Rhodes said: “Ryan is an experienced operator in professional sport, shows great initiative and has always stepped up to the plate.

“Over the course of the summer, it was extremely pleasing to see how he worked on the club’s behalf during negotiations with the EFL and its member clubs.

“This is undoubtedly a tough position for the club to be in but I know Ryan will grasp the opportunity with both hands. I have every confidence in him achieving his ambitions for Bradford City.

“The decision was taken a couple of months ago and, although I was not able to immediately hand over formally, he has in the meantime been actively involved in leading the club on a day-to-day basis.

“I know the immediate challenges facing him and the club do not faze him in any way. Ryan can guide the club through this difficult period and put plans in place for a more consistent, brighter future - on and off the field.”

City chairman Stefan Rupp added: “Ryan is someone I trust and has worked extremely hard, in not the easiest circumstances, over the past few years.

“There are big decisions to be made over the coming weeks and months, and we are working towards a longer-term approach - which will be beneficial for the club as a whole.

“This season has not started how we hoped it would, and our current league position is disappointing.

“However, today we have made a permanent appointment as Ryan takes over as our chief executive officer - and he has my full support.

“I am confident we will pull clear of the situation we currently find ourselves in and finish the season as well as we possibly can.

“Today's appointment allows the club to build and look further down the line at what we would like to achieve in the future, and how we look to do so.”