GEORGE MULHALL, during his two-and-a-half years as Bradford City manager, had a typically caustic turn of phrase to describe the ever-changing moods of Valley Parade.
“When we lose they stay on to jeer me,” the Scot would tell friends about his post-match walk along the touchline in front of the old main stand. “But if we win all I see is the back of their a***s.”
Most of these players are only at an early stage of their careers. We need the fans to stay with us. It will change, I am sure of that.Bradford City head coach, David Hopkin.
Almost exactly 40 years on from the day Mulhall, who died earlier this year, was appointed by the Bantams, fellow countryman David Hopkin would surely be happy if tonight’s final whistle was met by a similar dash for the exits by spectators if it meant City had snatched a badly-needed victory.
These are miserable times right now and the club’s owners are the ones in the firing line.
Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp, into their third campaign at the helm, have presided over a spectacular decline that has left fans genuinely fearing a return to League Two.
Just 28 points have been claimed in 2018, the joint lowest total in the Football League, and the atmosphere in the stands is turning more and more toxic with each passing week.
Hopkin, the fourth incumbent in the home dugout since February, has been left to pick up the pieces of a dreadful summer on the recruitment front.
“We have to stick together through these tough times,” said the Scot ahead of tonight’s clash at home to Coventry City.
“Most of these players are only at an early stage of their careers. We need the fans to stay with us. It will change, I am sure of that.”
History does show all is far from lost at Valley Parade. Twenty five years ago, in fact, City started even more poorly in the third tier than this term and had just seven points after 14 games.
Rescuing a draw after being 3-0 down to Millwall in their next outing, however, sparked a remarkable turnaround and Trevor Cherry’s Bradford went on to finish seventh. “I have been in football a long time and things can change very quickly,” added Hopkin, who is without Kelvin Mellor due to a broken toe. “Sometimes, just one win can be enough.”
Last six games: Bradford City DWLLLL Coventry City DLWDWW.
Referee: R Joyce (Cleveland).
Last time: Bradford City 3 Coventry City 1; August 20, 2016; League One.