Bradford City v Leyton Orient – Why Bantams handed Conor Sellars and Mark Trueman the permenent managerial reins at Valley Parade
Contracts until the end of next season are fitting reward for transforming a club sleepwalking to relegation in mid-December, but now eyeing up the play-offs.
There will barely be a murmur from a supporterless stadium, which will be the one sadness for the man who appointed them as caretakers, and vindicated himself and them yesterday.
“I’ve seen some real crowds here and fantastic atmospheres even when things haven’t been going too well,” said chief executive Ryan Sparks.
“I just think how wonderful it would be for them to feel that moment. I do feel a bit for them on that. At some point, whether it’s this season or next, I hope they do get that reception. I’m sure they’ll like it. They do deserve it because they’ve pulled this club out of the mire.”
The Bantams dropped into the relegation zone the match before Stuart McCall was sacked as manager but with a thoroughness players regularly remark on, Trueman and Sellars won seven of 11 matches in charge, losing just one.
The appointment allows Sparks to begin replacing the pair, previously under-18s coaches, and he hopes to bring more of the continuity on show yesterday. All three have worked their way up the club, which Sparks joined as a press officer.
“We know what this place should be and can be,” he argued.
“The next under-18s coach will be someone who potentially can be the next Bradford City manager. We would like that internal pathway because it reminds people you have ability within. We could have lost Mark and Conor to another club and never known their true capabilities.
“It’s not about getting back to what we were. We’re very proud of what this club achieved – you can’t necessarily replicate it but you’re inspired by it.
“Recruitment has been an issue for a few years but there is a clear strategy going forward. There will be further appointments off the pitch and we will restructure the football department in the summer.”
Another thing the trio have in common is their youth. Sparks and Sellars are 29, the youngest chief executive and manager in the league, and Bantams history. Trueman is only 34.
It is nearly three years since Sellars, son of former Leeds United winger Scott, gave up a semi-pro playing career to join former FC Halifax Town youth coach Trueman at Valley Parade.
“Sometimes you’ve got to ask what’s the quality of your experience instead of the years,” he argued. “We started our coaching journey a long time ago and we’ve been able to try out our methods and keep developing.”
Trueman added: “In January when we were starting to speak about the players who could improve the club, that’s when we started to think this could be a long-term thing for us.
“The team’s shown we’re ready to fight, compete every game and be hard to beat while also showing qualities in possession.”
Last six games: Bradford City WWLWWD; Leyton Orient DDDLLW
Referee: J Adcock (Nottinghamshire)
Last time: Bradford City 3 Leyton Orient 1, November 29, 2014, League One.
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