Bradford City rebuild begins with 20th the new target

Bradford City's Julian Rhodes.
Bradford City's Julian Rhodes.
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BRADFORD CITY interim chief executive Julian Rhodes has pledged to treat owner Stefan Rupp’s money “as if it is my own” when trying to put the club back on an even keel following a troubling 2018.

The Bantams parted company with controversial chairman Edin Rahic earlier this week.

Rahic, in day-to-day charge for the past two-and-a-half years, had become a hate figure among supporters after presiding over an alarming on-field decline that has left Bradford rock bottom of League One.

Four head coaches have taken charge since the turn of the year, while the financial picture is equally bleak with falling attendances caused by supporters staying away in protest coming in a season when City are understood to be operating with their highest playing budget since dropping out of the second tier in 2004.

“The bottom line is we need to get things moving again,” said Rhodes, who will be in charge until at least the end of the season with Rupp remaining in Germany looking after his other business interests.

“Stefan came over this week to address a few issues. It was a very useful few days for everyone at the club and we now have a clear path forward.

Edin Rahic, left, left the Bantams earlier this week with Stefan Rupp, right, remaining at the club.

Edin Rahic, left, left the Bantams earlier this week with Stefan Rupp, right, remaining at the club.

“I said to Stefan, ‘You have got to trust me’. And let me get on with it.

“There might be a few things we have to talk about as we go along.

“In fact, I am sure there will 
be.

“Stefan knows I will treat his money, the club’s money, as if it is my own.

Stefan knows I will treat his money, the club’s money, as if it is my own. I will make sure I don’t spend more than we have. That would do no-one any good.

Julian Rhodes

“I will make sure I don’t spend more than we have. That would do no-one any good. We need to get the financial side straightened out.

“That has to be a priority, along with staying in this division. None of us wants to go back to League Two.

“And we are all working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Away from the many off-field problems Rhodes will have to address, City face a potentially key period during the run-up to Christmas.

Saturday brings a trip to third-from-bottom Plymouth Argyle, which is followed by a run of three consecutive home games that includes the FA Cup second round replay with Peterborough United.

That run also brings the return of former manager Stuart McCall with his Scunthorpe United side on Saturday, December 22.

“We have got to get some points on the board,” added Rhodes, who spent 19 years on the board before selling to Rupp and Rahic in May, 2016. “Nothing has changed with this week’s news in that regard. It is still the same plan – get to January, still be in touch and then attack things from there.

“Then, we can do the necessary business to make us stronger.

“If we can finish 20th, that would be a success for Bradford City this season. Without a doubt.

“Stefan is very supportive of David (Hopkin, head coach) and so am I.

“We both believe he can turn this around.

“Away from the football, we need to build a few bridges. We need to get the supporters back on side and we need to reconnect with our sponsors.

“We need to get this club back to the way it was run not that long ago.

“Stefan has committed to provide the funds to take the club forward.”

Asked about his relationship with Rupp, Rhodes replied: “We don’t know each other that well but I think he trusts me.

“It was his idea to ask me to come back in the first place, as far as I understand. Stefan might come over to games from time to time. But he has his own life in Germany.”