Stuart McCall returns for third spell as Bradford City manager

Bradford City legend Stuart McCall is returning to the club for a third stint as managerBradford City legend Stuart McCall is returning to the club for a third stint as manager
Bradford City legend Stuart McCall is returning to the club for a third stint as manager
Bradford City have moved quickly to replace Gary Bowyer and attempt to heal divisions with their supporters by appointing club legend Stuart McCall as manager for a third time.
Read More
Bradford City little option in sacking Gary Bowyer after woeful run – Stuart Ray...

The Bantams sacked Bowyer on Monday after a run of just three wins in 18 matches in all competitions saw them drop out of the League Two play-off places.

McCall has signed a contract “until at least the end of next season”, and brings with him his long-term assistant Kenny Black.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His first two matches back in charge will be at Valley Parade, starting with Saturday's League Two visit of Grimsby Town.

“I am naturally delighted to be here again and am fully focussed on the 15 games we have left to play,” said McCall of his return.

“It is always difficult taking over from a manager who has lost his job, so I feel for Gary. But, when Julian (Rhodes, Bradford's interim chief executive) contacted me, I was desperate to return.

“We have to assess the squad very quickly and get ready for the remainder of the season. I obviously know a few of the players from my previous spell here, so am looking forward to the challenge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The club is a huge one in this division and, with everything still to play for, the job is to try and get us back to where we should be.

“We are going to get our heads down, work as hard as we can and, hopefully, get the best out of what is a strong squad.

“I cannot wait to get on the training pitch with the lads and am really excited to be back in and around the place.”

The disillusionment amongst fans with Bowyer's brand of football, as well as his results, had been growing for some time. Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Oldham Athletic was the second time City had lost by that scoreline away from home on consecutive weekends.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The return of arguably the club's most popular figure should go down well on the terraces.

Bowyer's sacking came two years to the day after McCall's last match in charge of Bradford, ironically a defeat at Oldham, his sixth in a row at that time.

McCall had two spells as a Bantams midfielder. He was appointed as a player-coach by then-manager Chris Hutchings in 2000, and succeeded him as caretaker for two matches. He took the job permanently in 2007, for three years, and walked away from a job on Scotland's coaching staff to return again in 2016, for two more years.

The Leeds-born 55-year-old made 413 appearances for the Bantams either side of moves to Everton, where he won the first of his 40 Scotland caps and scored twice in the 1989 FA Cup final, and Rangers. He finished his playing career at Sheffield United, where he was on the coaching staff, serving as assistant manager and reserve-team manager.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He has also managed Motherwell, Rangers and Scunthorpe United, where he was sacked as manager last March. In November he was interviewed to be the manager of Heart of Midlothian, but the Edinburgh club instead went with former Barnlsey manager Daniel Stendl.

In his last spell at the helm, McCall took the club to the League One play-off final in his first season, only to lose to Millwall at Wembley. They were sixth in the division when he was sacked in February 2018.

Bradford are now eighth in League Two, a point behind Cheltenham Town, who sit in the final play-off place with two games in hand. Bradford trail third-placed Plymouth Argyle by seven points, but again the Pilgrims have two more matches to play.

Having come down from League One in 2018-19, the expectation was that Bradford would claim one of the three automatic promotion spots, and they invested heavily to overhaul their squad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In his final week as manager, Bowyer made significant changes again, allowing captain and top-scorer James Vaughan to leave on loan, and selling Eoin Doyle to Swindon Town, where his goals on loan in the first half of the season had made him the fourth-tier's leading scorer. Lee Novak, Kurtis Guthrie and Glenn Middleton were brought in on deadline day.