Stefan Rupp and Edin Rahic bought Bradford City back in May 2016. Milwall had just beaten Bradford in the play-off final but the takeover buoyed some fans. However, five years on Bradford City are still living with the mistakes made by both owners. However, is the feeling of despair lifting?
Stefan Rupp is Regaining Bradford City’s Trust
Stefan Rupp is Rebuilding the Bond With the Fans
Stefan Rupp admits there were mistakes in his stewardship of Bradford City that led to disaster. Although, Rupp did not cut his losses, nor does it seem likely to happen soon. A major renovation at the West Yorkshire club is starting to build the anticipation for what may come. Ryan Sparks, a shock appointment to the CEO role, is a breath of fresh air.
The youngest CEO in the top four divisions is making waves with off-the-pitch refurbishments. These little tweaks here and there will make all the difference to the experience at the Utilita Energy stadium, more lovingly known as Valley Parade. Sparks’ influence is not going unnoticed and the changes keep on coming. A recent renovation of the dugouts is just one of the many improvements. Speaking to the Telegraph and Argus, Sparks revealed he wants to bring Valley Parade up to date: “This piece of work – which is long overdue – is a symbol of the long-term approach, and another piece of the puzzle in our overall strategy to improve and modernise Valley Parade.”
From the outside looking in, a dugout renovation may seem bland. Alongside this, there is a new players’ tunnel and the team has been cleaning up shabby areas of the stadium. However bland all of this is to football fans, these are tangible changes that are a direct result of proper management. Something that has been desperately lacking in recent years.
Sparks and Rupp are working together to create a more appealing, clean, fresh Bradford City. For the first time in Rupp’s reign, it feels like there is a clear, distinct plan.
Derek Adams’ Bradford Army
The Bantams are preparing for their third season in League Two, however, Derek Adams may prove the difference this time. The out-spoken Scotsman joins Bradford fresh from a promotion-winning campaign with Morecambe. With a knack for rebuilding smaller clubs, the master of League Two promotion seems to be an ideal appointment at Bradford City.
The style of football Adams employs is effective first and the rest comes after. Most Bantams fans will be happy to see pragmatic football as long as it gets results. Too often the urge to emulate the big teams in world football can obscure the real aim: promotion.
Adams is seven signings deep into his first transfer window with Bradford. There is definitely a desire to find players with the right mentality. Much like the beloved Phil Parkinson, Adams expects a no-quarter-given attitude from his players. Fiacre Kelleher, 25, is Bradford’s newest signing. A 6’5 centre-back that fits Adams’ ideals.
Speaking to the Telegraph and Argus, the City boss said: “Fiacre is another player who adopts a win-at-all-costs mentality, which will be essential if we are to be a successful side this season.”
On and Off the Pitch
Stefan Rupp and Ryan Sparks have a clear plan for the future. One that is sensible. They do not promise the impossible but plan for steady progression. The signing of Derek Adams is a clear indicator of intent. His track record gives Bradford a good chance of competing for promotion.
Adams is also working unstifled, being able to craft the team with a clear vision. With seven signings already, Abo Eisa being a notable addition, the foundations are bedding in nicely. Meanwhile, Sparks set about updating the stadium, strengthening advertising bonds, and putting the fans’ experience first.
There is clarity at Bradford City where there once was confusion.
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