JULIAN RHODES, back at Bradford City in a consultancy role, has delved into the back catalogue of his time at the helm of the club to try to breathe fresh life into a flagging season by slashing ticket prices for today’s visit of Oxford United to just £1.
The last time the Bantams did the same was in 2011 for the visit of Stockport County as two teams in dire relegation trouble at the foot of League Two went head-to-head.
City won 3-2 in front of a bumper crowd to give their own survival fight a timely lift and Rhodes, then in joint charge with Mark Lawn, is hoping for a similar outcome today.
“For me, that afternoon is up there in my top five favourite Bradford City games,” said lifelong fan Rhodes. “Maybe not at the time as everyone was so nervous due to the stakes being so high.
“But I look at where Stockport are now and think, ‘That could have been us if we had lost that afternoon’. The reason we slashed tickets to just £1 was we simply had to win that day against a team in just as much trouble as us.
“The football wasn’t great but I always remember no one left early that day, which was a good thing as it turned out.
“Stockport went down to nine men and it was effectively ‘attack and defence’ for the final half hour. Finally we equalised with 15 minutes remaining and then won it in stoppage-time. We went on to stay up and Stockport went down.”
With City boasting around 14,000 season ticket holders this term and around 4,500 supporters having taken advantage of the cut-price offer, David Hopkin’s men are set to be cheered on by Valley Parade’s second highest crowd of the season behind the 19,487 who watched Sunderland’s 2-1 triumph in October.
“We want to generate the same sort of atmosphere as we had that afternoon against Stockport,” added Rhodes. “Anything to try and help the team get a victory.
“Seven points separate us from safety, with Oxford fifth bottom. We can’t let that become ten points and we are hoping the fans can do their bit. I sensed a bond between the players and fans at Peterborough. All the fans want is effort.”
Former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Karl Henry, 35, is in the squad after signing yesterday as a free agent.