Peter Pan of the Parade... Bradford City back in safe hands as Stuart McCall relishes challenge

Stuart McCall.
Stuart McCall.
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Seeing Stuart McCall in a Bradford City tracksuit makes you think everything in the world is as it should be.

As McCall flicked his ginger hair into place ready for the cameras, never mind looking just as he did when he last left two years ago to the day today, the Peter Pan of the Parade appeared no different to his first stint as manager in the mid-Noughties, or even his two playing spells, either side of the Millennium and in the 1980s.

His old sidekick Kenny Black is back as assistant manager.

There are important changes, though.

“It’s much nicer this, isn’t it?” says a smiling McCall as he breezes into the light, airy room which now houses press conferences at Bradford’s Woodhouse Grove School training ground.

McCall’s job title is different too – manager, not head coach as last time.

Owner Stefan Rupp, who sacked McCall after six straight defeats dropped the Bantams to sixth in League One – what they would give for that now? – remains, but crucially not then-chairman, chief executive and director of football Edin Rahic.

“I’ve spoken to Stefan by text,” says McCall. “I never had any issue with Stefan.

“I bumped into him prior to Stephen Darby’s game against Liverpool earlier in the season and we had a five-minute chat.

“Stefan said what he needed to regarding the departure of his partner (Rahic), shall we say.

“I think everyone knows he had the wool pulled over his eyes.

“I know he’s not been to many games but he’s got a keen interest and in Julian (Rhodes, the interim chief executive) he’s got someone with experience of the club, it’s in good hands.

“I was always a manager in my own head! Head coach is only a name, isn’t it?

“I’m not really bothered about titles but there’ll be no interference from anyone else, apart from Julian ringing me last night telling me one of the lads had scored a few goals.

“He’s a football man. You can talk football with him all day but never for one minute would he tell me when to bring subs on or who to bring on or whatnot. That will probably be slightly different.”

Only sacking Gary Bowyer on Monday, days after the transfer deadline, following a run of three wins in 18 matches means McCall has had a squad thrust upon him – a bloated, imbalanced one, he argues, pointing to six wingers. Even so, it took all of two minutes to decide he wanted the job.

“I probably should have looked more into things like budgets!” he jokes. “It was an absolute no-brainer. I saw managers on Wednesday at an LMA function at St George’s Park who are out of work and every one of them would have been in to do a job at this sized club in this division.

“If it’s done properly this can be a Championship club.

“A lot of things have changed, the staff, the playing side has naturally changed a little bit. The pitch is the pitch (he laughs).

“But I’m back doing something I love and if I could have a choice of club, this would be it.

“Now the talk’s got to stop and we’ve got to go out there for 15 games. There are no set targets, no guarantees, we just want to go out from the first minute to the last, give everything we’ve got and try to bring success to this fantastic football club.”

What has changed most this week is the mood. Replacing Bowyer and his handbrake-on football with a club legend promising to go on the attack has been just the fillip needed.

It feels like Bradford City again.