Richard Sutcliffe – Serious work needed to tidy up ‘legacy’ left behind Bradford City by Edin Rahic

Bradford City co-chairman Edin Rahic celebrates the League One play-off semi-final win at Fleetwood Town. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Bradford City co-chairman Edin Rahic celebrates the League One play-off semi-final win at Fleetwood Town. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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AMID the euphoria of Bradford City reaching the 2017 League One play-off final, the words inevitably became rather lost.

But when Edin Rahic, while speaking to The Yorkshire Post on the touchline at Fleetwood Town’s Highbury home, shone a light on his relationship with manager Stuart McCall, the German businessman inadvertently defined his own time in English football.

“It is difficult for Stuart to understand,” said Rahic, as McCall and his celebrating players filed past just yards away after booking a Wembley date with Millwall.

“I am head of football. I will comment if we concede a goal because I know football. You have to take me seriously.”

The timing was strange. Rahic, together with majority shareholder Stefan Rupp, had just moments earlier been cavorting on the pitch in front of the equally-elated City fans.

But now, here he was effectively airing Bradford’s dirty laundry in public. Those close to the club were well aware of the increasing disagreements between Rahic and McCall.

Bradford City's new head coach Michael Collins & Edin Rahic.

Bradford City's new head coach Michael Collins & Edin Rahic.

The pair had clashed over everything from signings to team selection and even who should take the penalties.

Few, however, outside the Valley Parade inner-sanctum knew exactly how much relations had deteriorated and Rahic’s words, at least to this correspondent, seemed an unnecessary jibe aimed at a manager who potentially stood just 90 minutes away from leading the club into the Championship.

In fact, Rahic’s words caused few ripples after appearing within these pages as supporters instead rightly focused on the upcoming day out at Wembley.

Eight or so months later, however, and those same comments when revisited in the wake of McCall’s dismissal took on a new significance as it pointed towards the decision being personal, not least because City still occupied a play-off place at the time.

Those close to the club were well aware of the increasing disagreements between Rahic and McCall. The pair had clashed over everything from signings to team selection and even who should take the penalties.

Richard Sutcliffe

McCall’s sacking proved to be a watershed moment for Rahic. To follow this by the sidelining and eventual departure of a perfectly-able chief executive in James Mason was bad enough.

But the appointment of 32-year-old Michael Collins, the club’s youth team coach, despite him not applying for the post, pointed to a club that had spectacularly lost its way.

Further fuelling this notion was the Bantams having already been active in the transfer market during the six or so weeks between Simon Grayson leaving and Collins agreeing a three-year contract, begging the question just who was truly driving recruitment at Valley Parade.

Collins, of course, lasted just six games before being discarded. It was difficult not to feel sympathy when the axe came, not least because the former midfielder had seemed perfectly happy to continue his coaching education with the club’s Under-18s before being promoted.

I'M IN CHARGE: Bradford City co-chairman Edin Rahic  Picture: Tony Johnson

I'M IN CHARGE: Bradford City co-chairman Edin Rahic Picture: Tony Johnson

His successor, David Hopkin, has been left to pick up the pieces and faces an almighty task to save City, who are rock-bottom of League One and seven points adrift of safety.

Off the field, Julian Rhodes, in charge until the end of the season following Rahic’s exit, has a similarly tough task on his hands.

City’s playing budget, on the back of 20 signings having been made since the summer, is understood to be the highest the club has had since dropping out of the second tier in 2004.

That, together with season ticket sales dropping to around 14,000, means there is serious work to do to get Bradford City back on an even keel. That is the true legacy of a man who thought he knew football.