Trust Statement - On backing the Club and team in the fight to stay in League One
By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Mar 6 2019 11:41PM
Dear Members and City supporters,
First of all the Trust would like to give a warm welcome to Gary Bowyer as the new City manager and his assistant Andy Todd. We are pleased that they are relishing the unenviable challenge of giving all they can to instil the Bantams with a fighting spirit to try and avoid relegation with 11 games left.
It is no understatement to say we have all felt frustrated and down hearted with the Bantams current form. Many of us were surprised with the news of David Hopkins’ resignation on Monday 25th February after the disappointing 3-2 defeat at the Bescott Stadium, losing to a fellow struggling side who wanted the win much more than us. We can all agree that this slump flows from the tumultuous period the Club found itself in during the time of Edin Rahic’s horrendous mismanagement and indeed Gary Bowyer will be manager number 4 since Stuart McCall departed last February. Although he is with us initially until the end of the season, we would welcome a long term approach to the situation in the way managers are hired and fired in the modern game. Such an approach means providing the best possible support to the manager in a way that provides long-term stability for the Club which then means giving a manager time to build the team over a sustained period of time and this would alleviate the pressure to sack even in a rough period of poor results. History has proven that it will take a club longer to build having a short-term approach. Phil Parkinson has been the most successful manger in recent history and that was no overnight dream team he built. It took patience and time and that needs to be built into any long-term strategy.
Furthermore, we would like to give thanks and appreciation to Julian Rhodes who felt it necessary to come in and attempt to turn things around and it is with great appreciation that he has re-introduced the cheap season-tickets back to £150 and a longer period in which fans can take advantage of buying them at this price than in the previous season.
As we can all recognise, there are many uncertainties – the most immediate one is we do not know at this stage what division we will be playing in next season and there is a a bigger question mark as to whether Julian will extend his temporary tenure at the Club. All this may well depend on whether the German owners decide to put the Club up for sale. Indeed, doing this does not necessarily guarantee a buyer will necessarily come to fruition in the short term and of course there is always the lease payments of the ground to Gordon Gibb still going on in the background.
Since the creation of the Premiership and the re-branding of football through the massive investment of TV money and all-seater stadium requirements in the top two tiers, the game has changed so much. We have seen a widening wealth gap mirroring society where we have a few rich, top teams and the rest of the clubs struggling to compete in an ever more demanding and volatile situation as the cost of survival goes up for most clubs. Sky and BT Sport paid a record £5.136bn for live Premier League TV (PL) rights from 2016 to 2019, and from 2013 to 2016 the Premier League generated over 3 billion pounds in revenue from its marketing of TV broadcasting rights per year. The current £5.136bn deal represents a 70% increase. At the same time the EFL secured a £595million five-year deal from the start of next season 2019/20. It is a 35% increase on their last deal but it is considerably smaller that the PL slice of the TV investment in comparison, and the impact of that, further down the EFL divisions means an even smaller slice of the gravy train and indeed parachute payments.
What the TV money investment shows, is a disproportionate distribution of wealth where the top clubs get the lions share. It is in other words a lack of a redistribution of wealth to create healthier competition. This means that today, certainly for the bigger clubs at least, gate receipts and income from advanced sales in season ticket sales is no longer the most important income. That comes from TV and other sources such as the success of the brand and sponsorship deals internationally, but for smaller clubs, survival means that it does rely heavily on season-ticket income and gate receipts. We, the fans are still the largest investors and therefore are a big influence on the direction of our football clubs and at Bradford City, this is no different.
The Trust believes all fans should rally behind the Club and the team (whatever we personally think of the current crop of players) for the survival of the Bantams and the hope to stay in League One. On match days we should do all that we can to encourage the management and the team to put in a real effort in the final run of the season.
And finally, the Trust encourages supporters to renew your season tickets and back the team come what may next season. We believe that fans, in our eyes, are a vital ingredient that makes our football clubs what they are and therefore as City fans we should have a greater say at Bradford City. Being the largest group of supporters and long suffering investors collectively, the Trust will always strive to engage with our Club and offer a constructive way forward to get fans more involved and valid points listened to in Bradford City’s deliberations going forward.