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Thread: Lost souls

  1. #201

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Andy need to get over this Chloe chick. Plenty more fish in the sea and a good night on the pull with Joe in Bradford will soon sort him out.
    Ah love...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    You wanted the new formation to protect the defence. I make it 4 clean sheets on the spin, so tick in that box.
    Right, best defense so far with 6 goals conceded.

  2. #202

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    5 October 2019



    For their first match in October, Bradford traveled to the South Coast to meet Plymouth. The Pilgrims were third in the table, five points off the leaders.

    When they arrived at Home Park, two and a half hours before the game, Andy, Jordan and the players went directly to the pitch, as they always did. This was a way to recognise the dimensions of the field and to have a look at the turf in order to choose the right studs.

    Jordan noticed that Andy was particularly quiet, standing a couple of yards away from the group. He knew why. It was here, in this stadium, that Andy had lived his first game as manager of a professional football team.

    It was 18 years ago. But he understood that, for Andy, this match was only a few months old.

    "Everything allright, son ?" he asked, putting his arm around Andy's neck.

    "Yeah, sure." Andy responded with a grim face. "Look Joe, why don't you take the players with you and start unpacking and dressing ? I'll be with you in a minute."

    When he was alone, he walked slowly towards the Devonport End where Doni Clarke had scored his first two goals in professional football. The young forward had even missed a penalty on that day. He stood on the penalty spot for a few minutes, looking around him, deep in his thoughts.

    He was walking back to the players tunnel when he noticed a group of people in suits, chatting on the touchline. There were Stefan Rupp, Bradford City AFC President, Edin Rahic, a member of the Board of Directors and Elias Kingsley, the Financial Director.

    They were greeted by a group of men, also dressed in suits, who were visibly Plymouth Argyle executives. One of them was laughing while he told his Bradford counterparts a dream he'd had about the game the night before:

    "... and in the end we won 3-1, imagine !" Andy heard him say.

    "No way !" countered an amused Kingsley. "We have the best keeper and the best defense in League Two. And we haven't conceded in our last four games !".

    Then they procedeed to move inside, probably in the direction of the VIP lounge, still joking and laughing loud.

    Two hours later, when Byron Moore scored the second goal for his team after just 21 minutes, Andy couldn't help looking up at the VIP area and thinking: Best defense in the league, eh ?

    O'Donnell was not at his best on this goal, parrying Moore's weak shot right into the path of the Pilgrims forward and leaving him with a simple finish.

    On the first goal, scored by Ryan Taylor with a header, he'd not come out of his line on a corner, putting Connor Wood in a difficult situation.

    Best keeper in the league, eh ? Andy thought again.

    Two-nil down away at third placed Plymouth, the prospects of coming home with a point, let alone three, were slim. But the second goal had the merit to awaken the team. Andy asked his players to play higher up the pitch and press their opponents in their own camp and slowly the match turned.

    Bradford didn't create clear opportunities before the break but at least they had the control of the ball.

    After a wartime motivational speech given by Joe Jordan, they started the second half like possessed men and after 58 minutes it was two-two ! First James Vaughan converted an excellent Wood cross then, following another cross from Apkan, Guthrie powered one of his trademark headers past Michael Cooper and into the net.

    Argyle had a goal disallowed for offside three minutes later but after that there really was only one team on the pitch.

    Bradfort battered their hosts, creating chance after chance, but once again their finishing lacked a cutting edge. Middleton twice, Akpan, Devit and Ismail all missed glorious opportunities.

    And what had to happen happened.

    In the dying seconds, George Cooper took charge of possession just inside the Bantams camp and delivered a hopeful long punt towards the visitors area. O'Donnell came out to catch the high ball but, out of nowhere, Josh Grant sneaked in and climbed above him to score with a header.

    This capped a miserable day for the "best keeper in the league" and he knew it.

    If anyone thought we'd be granted automatic promotion this year, they're in for a cruel deception. Andy thought while leaving the pitch.

    Plymouth Argyle 3
    Bradford 2


    5 October 2019, Home Park, Plymouth - League Two

    Goals: Taylor (13), Moore (26), J. Grant (89); Vaughan (55), Guthrie (58)

    Spoiler!
    Last edited by LucasGills; 17-06-20 at 07:16 PM.

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  4. #203

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    That damned crystal ball failed again.

    Atleast I've been promoted from sleazy agent to finance director
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  5. #204

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    That damned crystal ball failed again.
    Haha it was to be expected

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Atleast I've been promoted from sleazy agent to finance director
    Never been an agent. I quote myself:

    After the lunch, Andy had a meeting with Rupp about the finances and he was happily surprised to meet Elias Kingsley, the former assistant to the Financial Director at Huddersfield Town AFC.

    Kingsley was now the Head of Finance at Bradford and they had a good chat about their time at the West Yorkshire club.

  6. #205

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    Still a promotion and good to know that I was never sleazy
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  7. #206

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Still a promotion and good to know that I was never sleazy
    You can be a sleazy Financial Director if you insist

  8. #207

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    A little chink in the armour, but still long while to go. Little bumps is nothing but a reality check

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  10. #208

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZanSnake View Post
    A little chink in the armour, but still long while to go. Little bumps is nothing but a reality check
    Sure, I don't expect to win all the games.

    That said, it seems to me the latest data update is much more challenging than the original DB, which is a good thing.

    With the ODB, pretty all the teams in the lower leagues played a simple 442. Now I see much more variety in the tactics used.

    There may be a clearout in the winter though, since I'm not happy with some of my players. And I think I need FW to compliment my tactics.

  11. #209

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    28 October 2019



    It was a grey Monday morning in West Yorkshire.

    Andy was in his office, reviewing the matches played in October with Jordan. The rain was lashing the windows and sometimes they had to raise their voices to cover the noise.

    The players had been given a day off and they were pretty happy to be able to take their time to analyse things.

    The first match after the defeat at Plymouth was an EFL Trophy tie at Port Vale, a team Bradford had defeated with difficulty three weeks before. A few underused players had been given a chance to impress, like Luke McGee in goal or Lee Novak in attack.

    The game was barely 3 minutes old that the Bantams were one goal and one man down after a Burgess scorcher and the sending-off of Jamie Devitt. From then on it was a matter of defending well and trying to craft chances on the counter. And that's what they did, equalising 9 minutes to the end through the inevitable Kurtis Guthrie, on for Novak.

    The penalty shootout then turned in favor of the Clarets and Ambers, skipper Anthony O'Connor converting the decisive kick.

    Port Vale 1
    Bradford 1 p


    8 October 2019, Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent - EFL Trophy North 2nd Rnd

    Goals: Burgess (3); Guthrie (81)

    Spoiler!

    Then the Bantams embarked on a tour of the bottom of the table. Morecambe, Stevenage, Macclesfield and Crawley were all in or just above the relegation zone.

    Morecambe came first to Valley Parade and they almost got home with a point, despite being heavily dominated all game. McGee who'd played well at Vale was selected in goal ahead of O'Donnell and he was beaten on the only two shots on target he'd to face.

    Unfortunately for the Shrimps, Bradford had their massive destruction weapon: Kurtis Guthrie scored his 12th, 13th and 14th league goals of the season in a devastating show of efficiency. He also had a goal disallowed for a dubious offside position while McCartan twice hit the post.

    In conclusion, it was an excellent team performance, even if it was not reflected in the score.

    Bradford 3
    Morecambe 2


    12 October 2019, Valley Parade, Bradford - League Two

    Goals: Guthrie (52, 76, 85); Wildig (54), Slew (90)

    Spoiler!

    The next game was at Stevenage and, despite conceding first after 9 minutes, Bradford came on top thanks to another brace from Guthrie and a goal from Ryan Hedges.

    The team now looked more comfortable with the new formation and this was reflected in their individual performances on the field. Andy and Jordan made subtle adjustments after each game to try and extract the best of the players and it seemed to pay off.

    Stevenage 1
    Bradford 3


    19 October 2019, The Lamex, Stevenage - League Two

    Goals: Fernandez (9); Guthrie (11, 63), Hedges (32)

    Spoiler!

    After this game, Andy had got good news from the medical staff: Jake Reeves was back in training after his long term injury. It would take some time until he could play in a competitive match but it was definitely a morale boost, both for the player and the squad:



    The last two games in October were quite similar and finished on the same score: 3-0.

    Against Macclesfield Bradford were two-nil up after half an hour, thanks to a powerful Vaughan header and a somptuous volley from central defender Paudie O'Connor. In the second half, Nathan Cameron was sent to an early bath by the referee for a second bookable offense and McCartan, on for Guthrie, scored the third goal for his team shortly before the end.

    Bradford 3
    Macclesfield 0


    22 October 2019, Valley Parade, Bradford - League Two

    Goals: Vaughan (22), P. O'Connor (30), McCartan (85)

    Spoiler!

    Against Crawley at Broadfield Stadium, the scenario looked pretty the same. Guthrie opened the score after a quarter of an hour then Sendles-Withe scythed down Akpan in the penalty area. VAR confirmed it was a professional foul and the referee pointed to the spot while showing the Crawley defender a straight red card.

    Ryan Hedges converted the penalty kick to put his team two-up. And in the second half the inevitable Kurtis Guthrie scored a third one with a simple tap-in, after a header from Hedges was saved by the hosts keeper.

    The only bad note was the stupid sending-off of Hope Akpan ten minutes to the end for headbutting Allarakhia.

    Crawley Town 0
    Bradford 3


    26 October 2019, Broadfield Stadium, Crawley - League Two

    Goals: Guthrie (15, 53), Hedges (32 pen)

    Spoiler!

    And so, after 16 matches played, the Bantams topped the League Two table with a little cushion of five points over second placed Swindon, and six over Plymouth:




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  13. #210

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    Guthrie firing you up the table!

    Some points advantage in case it's needed too - which isn't a bad thing

    Long may the flight of the Bantams forever rise

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  15. #211

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZanSnake View Post
    Guthrie firing you up the table!

    Some points advantage in case it's needed too - which isn't a bad thing

    Long may the flight of the Bantams forever rise
    Yeah we're a bit too dependent to Guthrie to my liking.

    I can only hope he stays fit.

  16. #212

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    Quote Originally Posted by LucasGills View Post
    Yeah we're a bit too dependent to Guthrie to my liking.

    I can only hope he stays fit.
    As long as he shows consistency I wouldn't worry too much. There's enough talent in the pool to hold off any I hurries or band, think you've got it in the bag tbh.

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  18. #213

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    30 November 2019



    November had been a good month for Andy and Bradford City.

    It started with a FA Cup 1st rnd match against Nantwich at Valley Parade that the Bantams won quite comfortably 4-1. Andy had rotated his squad, notably giving starts to Luke McGee in goal, Daniel Devine in central midfield and Lee Nowak in attack.

    The 31 years old forward hadn't scored yet this season and here he took his chance by netting a hattrick. Devine, the local boy, also put his name on the scoresheet and, despite the low level of the opposition, it was a very satisfying game for the Bantams.

    Bradford 4
    Nantwich 1


    9 November 2019, Valley Parade, Bradford - FA Cup 1st Rnd

    Goals: Novak (21,69, 84), Devine (60); Saunders (7)

    Spoiler!

    On the next Saturday, Bradford hosted 12th placed Colchester. Guthrie who was back in the team opened the score after 2 minutes then doubled his team lead after half an hour. When Paris Cowan-Hall was sent off 7 minutes into the second half for arguing with the referee, the match was definitely over for the U's. Vaughan added a third goal, pouncing on a rebound after a Devine free-kick was blocked by the wall, and the match finished 3-0.

    Bradford 3
    Colchester 0


    16 November 2019, Valley Parade, Bradford - League Two

    Goals: Guthrie (2, 29), Vaughan (78)

    Spoiler!

    Cheltenham away were Bradford's next opponents. The Robins, like Colchester, were sitting at mid-table but the game was much different. They rapidly opened the score thanks to a Tom Nichols header then, minutes after McCartan had hit a post, they doubled their lead through Alfie May. After that they were content to sit deep, slow the play and launch counter attacks when possible. And since Freddie Lapworth was having a great game between the hosts sticks, they reached half-time with a two goals lead.

    The second half went like the first, with the Bantams dominating and the hosts defending well. 20 minutes to the end Cheltenham even scored a third one, Campbell heading in after a long run and a cross from Boyle. And despite a couple of good opportunities for Devine and Guthrie, the match finished three-nil for the Robins.

    Cheltenham 3
    Bradford 0


    23 November 2019, Whaddon Road, Cheltenham - League Two

    Goals: Nichols (10), May (22), Campbell (68)

    Spoiler!

    The last games in November were two Cup games. First Bradford traveled to Crewe for an EFL Trophy North Quarter Final. Andy and Joe Jordan took this opportunity to test a new, more defensive formation, designed to play on the counter in away games or against better opposition:



    Against the Railwaymen it worked to the perfection. The team played sligthly deeper, soaking the pressure and moving the ball quickly to the two forwards when back in possession. It was not a pretty match but it was a solid performance from the lads, capped by a goal from the substitute McCartan following a divine Devine cross two minutes to the end.

    Crewe Alexandra 0
    Bradford 1


    26 November 2019, Gresty Road, Crewe - EFL Trophy North Qtr Final

    Goals: McCartan (88)

    Spoiler!

    Andy kept the same formation in the next game, an FA Cup 2nd Round tie with League One Fleetwood. The Fishermen were only 20th in the table but they were a very good side, with Glenn Whelan patrolling the midfield and Ched Evans leading the attack.

    The match was very disputed and it was a little wonder that only one goal was scored, Fleetwood having four shots on target against Bradford six. Again it was Northern Irish striker Shay McCartan who found himself at the right place at the right time to push the ball into the net after a bullet header from Guthrie was saved by the keeper. This was just before half time and in the second half both teams exchanged punches but the two keepers, Alex Cairn and Luke McGee were not ready to leave anything go past them. Thus it finished one-nil and Bradford City were through to the FA Cup Third Round where they'd meet QPR at Loftus Road.

    Fleetwood 0
    Bradford 1


    30 November 2019, Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood - FA Cup 2nd Round

    Goals: McCartan (41)

    Spoiler!

    At the end of November the Bantams were still topping the League Two table, even if their lead had been reduced to three points over Plymouth in second place and seven over Swindon in the last automatic promotion spot:




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  20. #214

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  21. #215

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    1 January 2020



    Bradford had five games to play in December, all in the league.

    The first one was an away game at Walsall that the Bantams won 2-0, thanks to goals from Kurtis Guthrie and Chris Taylor. Andy had kept his faith in the 4-4-1-1 formation used in the latter matches, with Taylor and Middleton starting on the wings.

    It was a very open game (a bit too open to Andy's liking) that, but for an excellent performance from Richard O'Donnell between the sticks, could well have turned in favor of the Saddlers.

    Fortunately the Bantams keeper was outstanding, as was the whole defense, and the power of Guthrie did the rest. Andy was also happy for 33 years old Chris Taylor who made the most out of a rare start by scoring his first goal for the club.

    Walsall 0
    Bradford 2


    7 December 2019, The Bescot Stadium, Walsall - League Two

    Goals: Guthrie (61), Taylor (71)

    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

    On the following Saturday, Bradford took on Grimsby Town. Again the match was to be played away from home, at Blundell Park, in the seaside resort of Cleethorpes.

    The Mighty Mariners were only 14th in the table and had conceded twice as much as their visitors of the day. Joe Jordan was in joyous mood and the morning of the match, during a walk along the Central Promenade with the team, the Scotsman joked he would dive into the ocean if Bradford were beaten here.

    Andy on the other hand was not as confident as his friend. Sure, the Bantams had won their last 3 matches without conceding. But they'd often been dominated in play and had relied a lot on the individual performances of the likes of O'Donnell, Guthrie and McCartan.

    When the same Guthrie opened the score just 10 minutes into the match after a excellent team move, everything seemed to go well and Andy started relaxing a little bit.

    One hour later, when the substitute Matt Green deservedly put Grimsby two up, Andy wondered what the ocean temperature was in early December. He looked at Jordan beside him. The Scotsman was shivering with cold on the bench, as if he already had one foot in the water.

    The goal from McCartan two minutes to the end gave the Bantams hope, but it was Grimsby who had the last chances and the match finished 3-2 for the hosts.

    Fortunately for Bradford's assistant manager, the mood was so low in the dressing room after the game that none of the players remembered his promise.

    Grimsby 3
    Bradford 2


    14 December 2019, Blundell Park, Cleethorpes - League Two

    Goals: Hessenthaler (16), Wright (62), M. Green (69); Guthrie (10), McCartan (88)

    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

    Two home games followed and Bradford won both of them by the slimmest of margins. The first one was against Northampton and even Jordan had to admit the win was undeserved.

    Indeed the Bantams scored with their only shot on target through their skipper Anthony O'Connor, well placed in the Cobblers box after a Daniel Devine free-kick was only half cleared by the defense.

    Northampton was the better team and they could count themselves very unlucky to return home beaten after another brilliant performance from Richard O'Donnell. Bradford's keeper was in the form of his life of late and Andy had to fend off offers for him almost every week.

    Bradford 1
    Northampton 0


    21 December 2019, Valley Parade - League Two

    Goals: A. O'Connor (44)

    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

    Against Crewe, the team performance was a little better and the 14'150 souls who'd come to Valley Parade saw a rather entertaining game. The score at half-time was nil-nil despite some clear opportunities on both sides but 15 minutes into the second half, Jake Reeves found some space on the right and, after evading a challenge from Powell, put a good low cross that McCartan converted from close range.

    Bradford's lead lasted only 8 minutes though, Porter taking advantage of a nice through pass from Powell to beat O'Donnell with a low drive. And the Railwaymen wanted more, pushing forward, taking shots left and right, creating chances seemingly at will. They were clearly in the front seat at this moment of the game and Andy was perplexed.

    Instead of giving them confidence, the opening goal had visibly hurt the Bantams. Clearly something was not working with this lot. Or was it him ? Right now on his bench, he felt helpless, at a loss to figure out what was wrong and unable to find solutions. He rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming.

    Had he been too long away from the game ? Had football changed so much during the last sixteen years ? Was he still... up to it ?

    A sudden rise of volume in the stadium took him out of his thoughts. The play was stopped and a group of players, mainly from Crewe, were surrounding the referee.

    "What did happen ?" Andy asked Jordan who was standing on the touchline, gesticulating and shouting at the man in black.

    "This fella Pickering has just attacked Kurtis from behind ! I f*** hope he's not broken his leg !"

    While the physios were hurrying to the young striker, the Crewe full-back got his marching orders and left the field to a shower of boos from the Bradford fans.

    Fortunately it was not too serious and Guthrie came back to the pitch after a couple of minutes on the sideline.

    Bradford then took full advantage of their numerical superiority by scoring the winner in the dying moments through McCartan again. Andy was relieved but it was now clear to him that something had to be done if this club really wanted to achieve their ambitions. The January transfer window was about to open and he was decided to take full advantage of it.

    Bradford 2
    Crewe 1


    26 December 2019, Valley Parade, Bradford - League Two

    Goals: McCartan (64, 88); Porter (72)

    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

    Two days later, the Bantams traveled to Oldham for what would be their last match in 2019. As a first step in the overhaul he intended to operate, the team lined up at Boundary Park with three out and out strikers:




    Exit all the wingers and wide midfielders whose contribution to the team performance had been so limited. Thus the loans of Glenn Middleton and Ryan Hedges were immediately terminated and Zeli Ismail was put on the transfer list.

    Another change was the adoption of a more direct passing style which, combined with the three forwards, was designed to constantly put the opponents defense on the back foot:




    Even if it would take the players some time to get used to this new approach, the overall team performance was very satisfying. McCartan opened the score after 33 minutes and the Bantams, without really controlling the game, created a lot of chances. Their quick, direct play caused the hosts a lot of problems.

    There was still some work to do on the defensive side though, and Andy was taking a lot of notes he would use during the next training sessions. Against the run of play, Oldham equalised 10 minutes after the break, Sylla out-jumping O'Donnell on a corner to head in from close range.

    Andy made some changes -Novak for McCartan, Reeves for Devine- then had to replace the injured Riley with Mellor. The end of the match was clearly in favor of the visitors and, after a couple of missed opportunities, they got a free-kick that Guthrie converted, sending a missile that flew into the net past a stranded de la Paz in the Latics goal. And so, thanks to their talisman, Bradford got another well earned win on the road.

    Oldham 1
    Bradford 2


    28 December 2019, Boundary Park, Oldham - League Two

    Goals: Sylla (55); McCartan (33), Guthrie (88)

    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

    And so, at the end of the year 2019, Bradford were comfortably leading the League Two table with a cushion of nine points over second placed Swindon:




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  23. #216

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    31 January 2020



    Andy took a lot of bold decisions in January.

    In the last days of 2019 he had had several meetings with Stefan Rupp, Elias Kingsley and various members of the Board of Directors. They had reviewed the first part of the season in details, talked about the contracts that finished in June -there were quite a few- and Andy had presented his vision for the next two and a half year.

    He and Jordan had drawn a list of players they were interested in and who, they thought, would help the club move into the right direction. There were available funds for transfer (more than 10 millions pounds) but Rupp and Kingsley were insisting on the importance of offloading any player who was not in Andy's plans.

    A request he was more than happy to fulfill for two reasons: he was not satisfied with the performances and commitment of several players and he'd always prefered to work with as small a squad as possible.

    Among the players whose contract would expire next June, a few had refused to start renewal discussions and the rest had been given the license to look for another club. All in all, six players would leave Bradford City AFC on a Bosman: full-backs Adam Henley and Kelvin Mellor, midfielders Chris Taylor, Jermaine Anderson and Jake Reeves and forwards Lee Novak and Clayton Donaldson.

    The departure of Reeves was a blow. This was a player who'd been out injured for more than a year and whom the club had supported and kept faith in during all this time. As soon as he was fit to play, Andy had slowly reintroduced him to the team, giving him playing time and responsibilities. But he'd steadily refused to negociate a new contract, even on much better terms. Clearly Andy felt betrayed by the lad.

    Andy has also reluctantly accepted an offer of 2.8M from Aston Villa for his skipper Anthony O'Connor. At 27, it was probably the Irishman's last chance to play in the Premier League and Andy didn't have the heart to deny him. He'd still play the second part of the season with Bradford then he'd join the Villans in June.

    But the real shock for many fans was the departure of Kurtis Gutrie and Richard O'Donnel during the first days of January. Arguably, it was Bradford best two players who left the club in quick succession.


    Rupp had received an offer from Preston North End for Kurtis Guthrie that matched his release clause and there was nothing the club could do to prevent a transfer. A new contract was offered to the player but to no avail. At least Bradford would receive 4.9M in cash, a sum which would be invested entirely in new players.

    The O'Donnell situation was different. The Bantams goalkeeper was 31 and Andy had already refused a lot of offers for him but, with transfer sums approaching the million for a player valued at 120K, the club had decided to cash in on him.

    So, below is a summary of the players who'd left the club in January:


    And the list of players who'd leave the club next June:


    In terms of acquisitions, three players joined the club. The first one was the defensive midfielder Andy and Jordan had been craving for since the beginning of the season:


    Joe Williams was only 23 but he had very interesting mental skills which, coupled with his physical attributes, made him the perfect candidate for the anchor role in front of the Bantams defense. The young man was looking for more playing time, Wigan was keen to cash on him and so the transfer was quickly arranged for 4.2M.

    The next player to join Bradford was a left-footed attacker from Barnsley:


    Chaplin, 23 like Williams, was an explosive forward who had already scored 10 goals this season in the Championship with the Tikes. Quick, agile and a good finisher, he was destined to play on the left of the attacking trident Andy intended to put in place.

    The last player was also a striker, hired to replace Guthrie in the center:


    Lee Gregory, after spending almost his entire career at Millwall, had joined Stoke in the Summer. Underused with the Potters, he was looking for an exit and was more than happy to sign for Bradford on a three and a half years contract as a player/coach.

    Strong and hard-working, he'd be the fulcrum in the Bantams attack.

    Finally, there was the question of the replacement of Richard O'Donnell. After much thinking, instead of looking for a new keeper, Andy opted to give his chance to 20 years old George Sykes-Kenworthy who was playing well for the Reserves.


    Like Daniel Devine, George was a product of the Bantams youth system and Andy was keen on integrating as much local boys as possible.

    He still had the on loan Luke McGee in reserve, in case it came out that young Sykes-Kenworthy was not up to it.

    Below a summary of the new arrivals, with their transfer sum:


    And the financial state after the January moves:


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  25. #217

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    That is a huge turn over of players. You were going so well until then, so I hope it doesn't upset the balance.
    Guthrie is a massive loss. Not sure that Gregory is going to be as prolific. Big money spent on Williams. You must have really wanted him.
    Fingers crossed that the new guys can hit the ground running and that the 9 point lead can be maintained.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  27. #218

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    That is a huge turn over of players. You were going so well until then, so I hope it doesn't upset the balance.
    Guthrie is a massive loss. Not sure that Gregory is going to be as prolific. Big money spent on Williams. You must have really wanted him.
    Fingers crossed that the new guys can hit the ground running and that the 9 point lead can be maintained.
    Guthrie's transfer is a hard blow, no question about that. I've rarely had a striker as lethal with his headers as him.

    I may have overspend a little on Williams but, as you say, I badly needed this type of player for the formation I want to use from now on.

  28. #219

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    31 January 2020



    Bradford had eight games in January and they started the new year with a draw at Mansfield.

    Vaughan, Guthrie and McCartan started up front in Andy's new 4-3-3, with Taylor, Reeves and Anderson behind them. Anderson played in front of the defense in the absence of Josh Hare who was injured.

    Husband, the two O'Connors and Mellor formed the defense while O'Donnell was between the sticks.

    As the match stats would show, Bradford were unlucky to the extreme to return from Nottinghamshire with only one point. It was a totally one-sided game but, sometimes, things just don't want to work out. Yet it had started well, Vaughan opening the score after a mere 6 minutes.

    However, just five minutes later, Mansfield equalised through a magnificent shot from the former West Ham player Nicky Maynard. And after a McCartan goal was disallowed for offside, they even took the lead: MacDonald collected a disastrous goal kick from O'Donnell and beat him easily with a low shot.

    The Bantams were shaken but they didn't have to wait too long for the equaliser. After 35 minutes, Reeves took a corner after Holy had saved a shot by Guthrie, and the same Guthrie headed in brilliantly at the near post.

    In the second half the Bantams enjoyed near total domination but, as they say, dominating is not winning. Holy made miracle after miracle and, with fatigue creeping in, the chances dried and the match ended with a 2-2 draw.

    Mansfield 2
    Bradford 2


    1st January 2020, One Call Stadium, Mansfield - League Two

    Goals: Maynard (11), MacDonald (26); Vaughan (6), Guthrie (35)

    Spoiler!

    Just three days later Bradford traveled to London to meet QPR in the FA Cup.

    The Superhoops were at mid-table in the Championship and only 13'754 spectactors were present at Loftus Road. The absentees missed a real thriller: Bradford twice took the lead in the first half through McCartan and Guthrie only to be caught back each time.

    They then fell behind just after the break but found the resources to equalise a quarter to the end, Guthrie completing his brace with one of his trademark headers. Joe Williams had an excellent debut in the anchor role which boded well for the future. This meant a replay would have to be played, in ten days at Valley Parade.

    It turned out it was Kurtis Guthrie's last game in Claret and Amber, the striker joining Preston three days later for 4.9M. His 29 goals and 4 assists in 27 starts ensured he'd long remain in the heart of the Bantams fans.

    Q.P.R. 3
    Bradford 3


    4 January 2020, Loftus Road, London - FA Cup 3rd Rnd

    Goals: Eze (32), Pugh (45), Barbet (47); McCartan (2), Guthrie (36, 73)

    Spoiler!

    Four days later, Bradford won 3-1 at Newport thanks to a brace from Lee Novak and a goal from the substitute Clayton Donaldson.

    This was the first match without the departed Guthrie and O'Donnell and both Novak and Sykes-Kenworthy, their replacements, were excellent.

    The young goalkeeper, in particular, impressed in his debut game. He was good on his line, claimed a lot of high crosses with authority and had a good distribution of the ball.

    It was a very satisfying performance, even if the Ironsides were reduced to ten men after 22 minutes following the sending-off of Lawlor, for headbutting McCartan.

    Newport 1
    Bradford 3


    8 January 2020, Rodney Parade, Newport - League Two

    Goals: Waters (44); Novak (22, 55), Donaldson (88)

    Spoiler!

    15'087 spectators were present at Valley Parade the next Saturday to see the top of the table clash with Swindon.

    Conor Chaplin started his first game for the Bantams who lined up in their now customary 4-3-3:


    The game was a high octane affrontement between two good teams and the result could easily have been different, as the match stats would show.

    James Vaughan opened the score after 32 minutes, then doubled his team lead just after the break by blasting a Henley cross past Henry in the visitors goal.

    Swindon reduced their deficit just six minutes later, through substitute Jerry Yates and Sykes-Kenworthy was called several times into action after that. Bradford was not in rest, Chaplin hitting the post and the bar successively in the space of two minutes.

    The best chance was for Swindon though, when after 78 minutes Hallam Hope managed to put the ball over an empty net from five yards after the Bantams keeper had saved a fierce Doughty shot. This incredible miss seemed to demoralize the Robins, for not much happened after that and the game ended 2-1.

    Bradford 2
    Swindon 1


    11 January 2020, Valley Parade, Bradford - League Two

    Goals: Vaughan (32, 46); Yates (52)

    Spoiler!

    On Wednesday Bradford received QPR for the replay of their FA Cup 3rd Round tie in front of an attendance of 21'512.

    The scenario of the game was very similar to the first encounter between these two teams: the Bantams opppened the score after 21 minutes through their new man Lee Gregory but QPR equalised at the half hour through Ilias Chair.

    Gregory scored his second goal of the game just before the break but again the Londoner came back at the hour mark thanks to Jordan Hugill.

    The end of the game was very tense, both teams trying to avoid a penalty shootout. Novak who had replaced the injured Vaughan had a glorious opportunity to win the game for his team five minutes to the end but his volley from a Husband cross was miraculously diverted into corner by Joe Lumley.

    And three minutes later QPR obtained a corner that Eze took rapidly. Barbet out-jumped Mellor and his glancing header looked destined for the net but Sykes-Kenworthy blocked brilliantly. Unfortunately the rebound fell to Masterson who scored with a simple tap-in.

    This was a cruel end for the Bantams but they were warmly applaused by the 21'000 spectators when they left the field for they had really pushed their Championship opponents to their limits.

    Bradford 2
    Q.P.R. 3


    15 January 2020, Valley Parade, Bradford - FA Cup 3nd Round Replay

    Goals: Gregory (21, 41); Chair (30), Hugill (59), Masterson (88)

    Spoiler!

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  30. #220

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    You must hate QPR - 6 goals against you in the month
    Like that you have nicknamed Sykes-Kenworthy "George" (but think of the loss of revenue per letter on the back of the replica shirts)
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  32. #221

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    You must hate QPR - 6 goals against you in the month
    More on this subject later…

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Like that you have nicknamed Sykes-Kenworthy "George" (but think of the loss of revenue per letter on the back of the replica shirts)

  33. #222

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    31 January 2020



    Bradford City experienced quite inconsistent results in the second part of January.

    The best example of this was the double confrontation in the space of three days against Salford. In the first game, the Bantams trashed their opponents on their own ground 4-1. Gregory, Chaplin twice and McCartan were the scorers of the day.

    Sure, once again their opponents had a player sent off, Ashley Eastham receiving his marching orders after just 10 minutes for a dangerous two-footed tackle on McCartan.

    But all in all, given the recent turnaround of players, it was an excellent team performance, with a lot of chances and four goals scored.

    Salford 1
    Bradford 4


    18 January 2020, Moor Lane, Manchester - League Two

    Goals: Elliott (8); Gregory (7), Chaplin (10 pen, 31), McCartan (53)

    Spoiler!

    However, just three days later at home against the same opponents, Bradford lost two-nil and were dumped out of the EFL Trophy.

    Andy had rested Joe Williams and Conor Chaplin for this game but otherwise it was a full-strenght squad so the result was difficult to explain. The first half had been in favor of the hosts and both Gregory and Novak squandered good chances.

    The second half was more even and it wasn't really a surprise when Salford opened the score through a good header from Towell. Andy replaced Hare with Williams but the visitors doubled their lead almost immediately. Sykes-Kenworthy saved a volley from Armstrong but the same player followed up well and scored with a simple finish.

    Bradford pushed hard and Novak hit the post with a header after 83 minutes but Donaldson sustained an injury right after that. Since Andy had already made his three substitutions, Bradford had to finish the match with ten players which effectively sealed the result.

    Bradford 0
    Salford 2


    21 January 2020, Valley Parade, Bradford - EFL Trophy North Semi Final

    Goals: Towell (76), Armstrong (78)

    Spoiler!

    Leyton Orient in the league were next. The game was played at Valley Parade in front of 13'961 spectators and Bradford won 2-1.

    McCartan opened the score after 36 minutes, following a good through pass from Devine and so, at half-time, the Bantams lead 1-0. Dayton equalised for Orient just after the restart but the Bantams didn't have the time to doubt since they re-took the lead just two minutes later.

    Chaplin collected a loose ball just inside the box and smashed it past Vigouroux in the visitors goal. Bradford had several chances to kill the game after that but they missed them all and, in the end, they were happy with the three points.

    Bradford 2
    Leyton Orient 1


    25 January 2020, Valley Parade, Bradford - League Two

    Goals: McCartan (36), Chaplin (48); Dayton (45)

    Spoiler!

    For their last game in January, Bradford visited Port Vale who were in the chasing pack.

    And despite slightly dominating their hosts, the Bantams again succumbed to their own inconsistency by being at the receiving end of a straight 3-0 defeat.

    Tom Pope was their main tormentor, the 34 years old striker finishing the game with a brace. Keeper Scott Brown had an excellent game but it was not an excuse for such a poor result.

    Of course Andy and Joe knew that playing with three out and out strikers was risky but clearly there was a still of lot of work to do in the defensive department.

    Port Vale 3
    Bradford 0


    28 January 2020, Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent - League Two

    Goals: Pope (16, 82), Burgess (70)

    Spoiler!

    It was a mixed month in terms of results but there were a lot of satisfying facts: the good debuts of new signings Joe Williams, Conor Chaplin and Lee Gregory, the excellent performances of local boys Daniel Devine and George Sykes-Kenworthy and the improvements in gameplay and playing style.

    Despite one defeat and one draw this month, the gap with second-placed Swindon was still of 9 points. The rest of the chasing pack with Argyle, the surprising Salford, Cambrigde and Colchester was slightly more detached :




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  35. #223

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    Top of the pile!

    With a little safety net too, let's hope it all plain sailing

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