BRADFORD CITY fans who believe in omens may want to look away now, writes Richard Sutcliffe.
As the club bids farewell to Nahki Wells, the Bantams sit 12th in the League One table.
Seven years ago during the season when City last suffered high-profile departures as Jermaine Johnson and Dean Windass left for Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, respectively, they occupied the identical position going into the weekend’s fixtures. By the end of that 2006-07 campaign, Bradford had been dumped back into the basement division.
The big question, therefore, is whether history is about to repeat itself? The hope, of course, is ‘no’ and there are a couple of major reasons working in Bradford’s favour.
First, Phil Parkinson has already proved since taking charge that he has an eye for talent. Any money that comes his way from the Wells sale is likely to be used well.
Secondly, City’s accounts are in a much better shape than was the case in 2006-07 when the finances were in such a perilous state that Johnson and Windass had to leave because the club simply could not afford to keep them.
As the Yorkshire Post exclusively revealed earlier this month, the Bantams were heading – before Wells’s sale – for a £1m loss this season after posting a profit of £1.4m last term.
With joint-chairman Mark Lawn having been repaid a £1,088,000 loan during the summer, Bradford are debt-free once again – a situation that is in stark contrast to seven years ago.
It is why as Wells prepared to leave yesterday, Bradford were bringing in Aston Villa winger Jordan Graham and Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Arron Jameson on loan. Concerted efforts were also being made to bring in a striker capable of filling the gap left by the departure of the club’s 18-goal striker.
Hull City’s Aaron Mclean is understood to top that list and if the Bantams can capture a striker with a proven pedigree at League One level from his days with Peterborough United, Parkinson’s side may well yet be able to force their way back into the play-off reckoning.
Quite a contrast to those dark days of 2006-07 when David Wetherall’s attempts to keep City up were hampered by perilous finances.