Well where do we start with this?
No one can pretend that the news that filtered through in the last few days suggesting that Phil Parkinson would become the new manager of Bolton Wanderers wasn’t disappointing. Yesterday it was confirmed that one of the greatest managers in our clubs history would be making the move to the Macron Stadium and Lancashire. Phil Parkinson ad his coaching staff brought this club back from the brink during his near five year stay with the Bantams but as they say in football, all good things must come to an end.
First of all we have to thank Phil Parkinson for his time at the club. Struggling towards the bottom end of League Two he turned this club around. During his tenure we have improved season on season, rising from the doldrums of League Two to the play-off semi-finals of League One this time around. Enjoying promotion from League Two via the play-offs in 2013, Parkinson has given us some unforgettable moments and memories, the Capital One Cup final of the same year, the beating of Chelsea and Sunderland in the FA cup, the list goes on. We say thank you but now is the time to move on.
Phil Parkinson’s departure is a bitter one to swallow, the manner of it is a bit saddening and taints his image at Bradford a little; everything seems to have been done a bit secretively. Only last week the man was releasing players from our club and giving that interview with COO James Mason, everything seemed to be heading in the right direction but now he’s gone and the situation all seems a little strange.
Maybe his departure is best for all involved however. Parkinson wanted his new, fresh challenge whilst the owners, even though they said they would back him to resume his duties at the club, would have likely preferred a fresh new start with the club including bringing in their own manager. It’s evident that Parky wasn’t pushed out of the door by Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp and that this is just a natural parting of ways that suits everyone involved to an extent.
So who can we expect to be brought in Valley Parade?
Let’s start with the most likely candidate, Uwe Rosler. The German manager, former Brentford, Wigan and Leeds, is currently out of work and ever since the change of ownership at Valley Parade has been heavily linked with a switch to the Bantams. During his management career the former Manchester City player has experienced various high and low points. He led Brentford to the League One play-off final, led Wigan into the Championship play-offs and semi-final of the FA Cup back in 2014 but then suffered a torrid time at Leeds United being sacked after only 12 games in charge of our closest rivals, albeit with Massimo Cellino in charge..
With reports suggesting that Uwe Rosler has already attended several Bradford City matches in recent months, including the play-off loss to Millwall at the New Den, this move seems very likely to be concluded.
Rosler is renowned for his teams to play a high, pressing style of football and is also a fan of squad rotation among players, especially youth players. The German manager enjoys attacking play with powerful quick football accompanied with quick transitions from attack to defence, a counterattacking type of play. His arrival could usher in a real new era at Valley Parade and could prove to be a fantastic acquisition for the Bantams.
Another manager linked with the vacant Bradford City job and is high up on the betting odds is former Boston United, Crawley, Rotherham and Leeds manager Steve Evans.
This rumour has been greeted with a lot of dislike on social media by Bradford fans and to be fair, that’s understandable. Not only has Steve Evans managed two of our bigger rivals in Leeds and Rotherham but whilst in charge of Crawley his team caused chaos after the full time whistle resulting in a combined five red cards between the two then League Two sides, a English football league record. How bad would his appointment really be though?
Given a clean slate by Bradford fans, Evans could prove to be a shrewd appointment for the Bantams. He’s enjoyed 7 promotions with 4 different sides including back-to-back promotions with rivals Rotherham, his sides play appealing football and his passion cannot be called into question. With a win ratio of 43% over 831 games, Steve Evans could guide this club to further success if brought in.
Stuart McCall too has been named as one of the frontrunners in the process of replacing Phil Parkinson on Midland Road. The Bradford City legend, who played 395 times for City over two spells with the club, was previously in charge of the Bantams between 2007 and 2010 but largely struggled in his position as manager at Valley Parade.
His time in charge came as the club was struggling on the field in League Two and also financially off the pitch. McCall took charge of 133 games with City, only managing a 34% win ratio as the gaffer during his three year stay with the club. Since leaving Bradford, he went on to manage Motherwell successfully and further had a short stint with Rangers and the Scottish national side. Certainly there’s a sense of unfinished business with the Bantams for Stuart McCall but if he was brought back to the club as manager, could it all end in tears?
Out of those three names I’m inclined to back Uwe Rosler the most. His teams play nice, fashionable football and I genuinely think he could be a good shout as the next Bradford manager especially as he could fit right in with our new German owners. Steve Evans has a good record but could be too controversial if appointed whilst Stuart McCall could be a dangerous idea considering his past with the club and so on, does he have the CV to take over a club aiming for the Championship and beyond?
There have also been a number of other names linked with the job in the past few days. Managers such as Steve Cotterill, Nigel Adkins, Paul Jewell, Dougie Freedman, Gianfranco Zola have all been touted to take over at Bradford to name but a few. If I could choose a slightly realistic appointment but that is outside of the box I’d love to see someone like Karl Robinson or Tim Sherwood take over as first team manager however those appointments are highly highly unlikely.
All that needs to be said is that only time will tell if a manager is successful or not. Regardless of who is appointed as the next manager of Bradford City football club it is pivotal that the fans give the new manager enough time and support the club as fantastically as they have done in the past.