City’s players paid late as financial crisis deepens at Valley Parade

JOINT-chairman Mark Lawn has admitted Bradford City are facing a “challenging” summer after the club were late in paying some players’ wages last month.

The Bantams may have secured their Football League status with a 1-1 draw at Hereford United on the penultimate weekend of the season.

But the club’s financial problems continue to mount, as underlined last Thursday when City’s high-earners had to be paid by cheque in April due to a lack of cash flow.

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With Friday and yesterday having been Bank Holidays, the players in question are unlikely to receive their money until later this week due to the time it takes for a cheque to clear.

Following on from last month’s revelation in the Yorkshire Post that Bradford are considering a move away from Valley Parade to Odsal in an attempt to slash costs, the latest problem to hit the club will only add to the growing sense of unease among supporters.

Lawn said: “Due to problems with cash flow, we did have to pay the higher earners at the club by cheque last Thursday. This means that they will not get their money until Wednesday or Thursday this week.

“The low earners were paid as normal so already have their wages. The players were fine, especially as we made it clear there was no danger of anyone not being paid.

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“We are hoping there will not be a repeat, but a lot depends on cash flow. I am not going to pull any punches and pretend there are not problems to overcome in the summer, that is going to be challenging.”

Among the big decisions that the City board will have to make is who to appoint as the club’s next manager.

Peter Jackson has been doing the job on an interim basis since February but remains in the dark over the future amid suggestions that Dagenham & Redbridge manager John Still is also in the frame.

With this weekend seeing Bradford host Crewe Alexandra on the final day of the League Two season, clearly time is of the essence due to whoever gets the job wanting to shape his squad as early as possible.

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A bigger headache for City, however, is what to do about Valley Parade after Lawn claimed last month that the club could no longer afford the rent and overheads such as Council Tax, utility bills and so on.

Valley Parade is owned by the Trustees of Flamingo Land Ltd Self Administered Pension Scheme, while the office block that stands next to the ground is owned by investment company Prupim.

Bradford are hoping to strike a deal whereby both rents are reduced as long as the club are in League Two, but then rise if they win promotion.

Lawn added: “The landlords want us to put our proposals in writing, so that is what we are going to do.”