STEPHEN WARNOCK believes Bradford City are in danger of drifting unless the board give financial backing to the club’s manager next season.
The Bantams are waiting to finalise Simon Grayson’s future after holding talks over whether the 48-year-old will stay on at Valley Parade.
With the noises coming out of the club suggesting the playing budget will be similar to the 2017-18 campaign – which former manager Stuart McCall described as mid-table – keeping hold of Grayson could be a tall order, especially as it is known other clubs are interested in the former Leeds United and Huddersfield Town chief.
Regardless of who takes charge, however, Warnock, now retired after ending the season on loan at Bradford, believes owners Stefan Rupp and Edin Rahic need to provide the necessary financial backing if next term is to bring a sustained promotion challenge.
“The club needs investment,” the 36-year-old told The Yorkshire Post. “The chairman needs to dig deep into his pockets and back the manager.
“This club’s fanbase is incredible, the biggest in this league, and the fans deserve more. It is a massive club that deserves to be in the Championship, if not higher.
“But you need resources to get up there. It doesn’t happen on a shoestring. Look at the top six this season, in the main they all have big budgets.
“The club needs massive backing. The situation with the manager also needs sorting out quickly. People need to know what is happening.
“That is not just the players, but the fans as well. Also, to attract new players, they need to know what is happening.
“The club could drift. Things need to be set in stone quickly. The fans need the belief to come back to the stadium next season.
“It is a great place to play when Valley Parade is bouncing and tough if you are an opponent.”
Grayson, who has four promotions from League One on his CV, succeeded McCall in February on a short-term deal until the end of the season with a view to then deciding whether or not to stay in his native West Riding.
“I don’t know if the manager will stay,” said Warnock, a member of the Wigan Athletic side that lifted the League One title in 2015-16. “You will have to ask him. But if you are the club, you do everything you can to make him stay because of his reputation.
“Whether the club sees things in another way, I am not sure. But whether the manager is Simon or someone else, dig deep and back the manager.”
The club could drift. Things need to be set in stone quickly. The fans need the belief to come back to the stadium next season.Stephen Warnock
Warnock, meanwhile, is embarking on a new chapter in his life after calling time on a playing career that featured 540 appearances.
He was given a fitting send-off by both sets of supporters when substituted towards the end of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United.
“When the board went up it did hit me a bit,” added the former left-back, who suffered three broken legs as a teenager. “But I am sort of glad the day is out of the way. I wasn’t that emotional before the game, I just wanted to go out there and enjoy it.
“The things people have said have been nice, maybe that is down to the commitment I have shown every day in training, I don’t know. But I have appreciated what a lot of old team-mates have said on social media. They understand what I have been through from my younger days. It was very touching.”