The 2018/19 season goes from bad to worse for Bradford (Park Avenue).
Two 5-0 defeats started the campaign and led to the sacking of rookie manager Garry Thompson.
In came interim boss Marcus Law. Results improved initially, but have now deteriorated to the extent that they were embarrassingly annihilated 8-0 by Brackley Town – one of their worst results in 30 years as a reformed club.
As someone who was brought up watching Avenue, it sad to see.
The BPAForum is compulsive viewing for any follower of Avenue, but currently it is full of supporters are tearing each other apart.
Something has to change fast, and ultimately it is the manager.
Law was a sensible choice as interim boss for a few weeks while the club sorted themselves out, but now nearly two months have passed since he walked through the door. He’s still got the temporary sign above his head.
Law is from the Midlands, he’s not local. He has been a very good Non League manager with Barwell and Kettering, but he’s not the man for Avenue’s future.
Random players are being recruited from the same neck of the woods and travelling from two or three hours away. One player signed recently has had almost 20 clubs in three years. It doesn’t breed confidence.
From a travelling point of view, you can hardly develop a good team spirit if players are only spending three hours in Bradford a week.
If you are a club in a remote area such as Scarborough, as constantly proven, a recruitment strategy of signing players from outside the area can work.
But Bradford is a hotbed of talent, and is surrounded by Leeds, Huddersfield, even Manchester – full of good Non League footballers. They very fact Avenue are looking at the Midlands is ludicrous.
The blame may be put on budgets, but you can’t tell me that there isn’t local and good enough players out there who want to play for Avenue in the National North.
Avenue need a local manager who will tap into these areas and primarily create a squad which has a fantastic team spirit. That may give them a chance of avoiding the drop and in the worst case scenario, a firm base to build from in the BetVictor.
There are a whole host of ex-Avenue players – who did well for the club – who have had decent managerial careers. Why not take a punt on one of them?
An ex-player would unite the fans. They would understand the club and ensure the players would play for the badge. Excluding Simon Collins who was given the job during the summer months of 2010, Phil Sharpe was the last ex-player appointed as the club’s manager during a period of crisis.
Before his appointment in 2006, Avenue fans were in the middle of a civil war over Gary Brook’s management, but Sharpe came in, reunited warring factions and took a seemingly hopeless relegation battle to the final day. Local lads and team spirit were a big factor.
Had Neil Ross and Dean Calcutt not got injured ahead of the final day, Avenue would have won at Radcliffe to stay up.
Sharpe had also prepared for the worst case scenario and his team flew out of the blocks at the beginning of the following season.
If Avenue want to self-destruct then they should stay as they are, but there are other options.