Friday 14 September 2018

Bradford owner is controversial

Bradford City face Charlton at Valley Parade tomorrow at a time when they are second from bottom in the League One form table while Charlton are 7th. But new Bantams boss David Hopkin is not fazed. Citing his experience as captain of Crystal Palace he says, 'I have always been a leader.' Well, Leamington's mad binman captain could say that as well after hitting the post last Saturday from inside his own half.

Hopkin swapped a safe post in Scotland for what the Football League Paper described this week as 'England's most perilous post.' [Shome mishtake shurely?] The 48-year old led Livingston to two successive promotions and quit days after securing a place in the Scottish Premier League. He may well have decided that the new town team had got above their level and it could well be that he gets a bigger salary in Yorkshire.

Hopkin told the FLP, 'I had five or six offers in the summer but there was none that looked like a challenge. This is different. It's one of those clubs in England that should be much higher and that's the attraction.'

Bradford co-owner Edin Rahic is seen as controversial (i.e., barking) and is on his fourth manager of 2018. Stuart McCall got the boot in February despite reaching the play off final the previous season and sitting sixth in League One. Michael Collins was appointed in the summer at the age of 32 and told get on his bike after just six games.

In between, caretaker Simon Grayson rejected a two year deal amid concerns over the owner's involvement, rumoured to include meddling in tactics and team selection. In other words, it is the opposite of the Roland problem: too much hands on instead of hands off.

In fairness to him, he has apologised for his mistakes which is more than Roland has done: Apology to fans

Rahic and Hopkin emphatically deny these claims and having met with Edin and the other co-owner Stefan Rupp insists that he is in control of everything on the football side. Hopkin also rejects suggestions that he has unfinished business at Bradford after his club record £2.5m move from Leeds in 2000 lasted just 11 games. He admits that 'It didn't go as I'd hoped, but Bradford made their money back when I joined Palace.'

Back then Hopkin was a midfield destroyer with a fearsome reputation and this followed him into coaching. In his early days at Livi he was described as a 'tattooed nutter' who acted as 'bad cop' in the dressing room.

Hopkin insists that, while he is not Mr Nice Guy, his style is now more nuanced. He will even put an arm round a player, 'but some people need a bollocking … My players just have to understand that I have certain standards - and that if those standards drop, I will let them know.'

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