Jon Pepper insists he has left a far stronger City youth set-up than the one he inherited.

Pepper has left Valley Parade by mutual consent, six years after being brought in by Nicky Law.

The former youth-team manager admits he is ready for a fresh challenge following an eventful spell at the club.

Pepper said: "It's been a rollercoaster because every year something has happened. We've been in administration, changed the manager, changed the ownership and gone bust.

"I was only thinking the other day that every summer something's got to happen - and now it's me going.

"But it's been a good experience for me and I certainly feel the youth department is in a far better state than when I arrived.

"It had been severely neglected but we have improved greatly. One or two players are getting through to the first team and others have been sold.

"Joe Colbeck was one I brought into the club so I was really pleased for him to be named player of the year. There's a lad who will run through a brick wall for Bradford and I'm delighted that we're now seeing the best of him on a consistent basis.

"The club may have been spiralling in terms of the first team over the last few years but the youth department has steadily improved in that time and hopefully people will recognise that."

Pepper believes the length of his stay at the club after close pal Law was sacked in November 2003 shows that his efforts have been appreciated.

"I'm friends with Nicky and people might have wanted me out when he left. But that was nearly five years ago so I must have done something right.

"I always gave 100 per cent to the job and put long hours in, getting up at 5.30am every day to travel up from Chesterfield and make sure I was one of the first in.

"It's been a challenge but a good one which I've enjoyed. Now it's time to move on and make a fresh start somewhere else, hopefully in an academy set-up or as another youth-team coach.

"It would be nice to go somewhere that I won't face constant battles for finances and facilities."

As Stuart McCall lines up his replacement, Pepper made clear there is no ill feeling on his part - and is convinced City have the perfect man at the helm to revive their fortunes.

"The first team is definitely in the right hands with Stuart. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met in football and Bradford City through and through.

"As long as the club continue to believe in Stuart and stick by him, then they will definitely see success again in the future."

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