December 26, 2006

Heffed Off

Bradford City 0

Doncaster Rovers 1 Heffernan 14

Attendance 10,069

Lets look back at something we (rather foolishly) said here back in September:

Early days admittedly, but there is something different about this season. Two wide players who are a real threat to the opposition and not a hindrance to their own side makes such a difference. And a striker to partner Windass who can score goals is a real help. The next 3 games are a much sterner test, but if they come through, a good season looks on the cards. Only 2 clouds on the horizon; the left-back slot is still a problem position, and the loan players may all leave in January. But enjoy it while the sun shines. This was so much different to the last 3 or 4 years.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. How it has all come unstuck again. New Year’s Resolution: Not to waste any more time travelling up here to watch games. I’ll go and watch the Cheltenham game on Saturday, because I’m here, but I’m not wasting another penny piece this season on coming to anymore games.

It was so grandly inept today as to almost defy lucid description. To describe them as a rudderless, leaderless, disorganised shower is not overstating the case. From the word go, only one side ever looked like scoring. They wore all blue, but that’s where the Chelsea comparison ends. Doncaster were efficient, but no more. They didn’t have to get out of first gear today, and so yet more points leave VP. This division is the pits. The standard of football is generally awful, 20 sides are as good (or is that as bad?) as each other, yet we cannot put these sides under any consistent pressure at all, especially in midfield areas.

“Oh”, I hear the reader say, “here he goes again”. Damn right he does. The Bradford City midfield cannot pass water, tackle their way out of a wet paper bag, or cross a road. The only thing they can press is the self-destruct button. Most matches are lost before a ball is kicked one way or another. Carlton Palmer may look like Ronaldinho in comparison. JJ, so often the only threat to teams this season, looked very disinterested today. Schumacher was nothing short of atrocious, Bentham battled away but 3 games into his season after 4 months out injured it was a struggle for him, and MBW, shunted out to the left was horribly ineffectual.

So it came to pass that with noone pressing the ball, Doncaster worked a throw-in 25 yards from goal down the right, and without a tackle in sight, Paul Green crossed and Paul Heffernan headed in from 6 yards. Game over. After 14 minutes. Doncaster should really have added to the score when Forte fired wastefully over from 6 yards after City were carved apart down their right. But apart from that, Ricketts had not a lot to do. But the visiting keeper had even less.

Second half should have been time for the kitchen sink, but all the paying idiots Bradford public were treated to were aimless long balls at the ineffectual front two. Graham was replaced by Brown, but this is the footballing equivalent of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, I will make a professional centre forward before Joe Brown does. And yet with almost the last kick of the match, City nearly equalised, when MBW’s long distance free-kick crashed off the angle of post and bar in the 95th minute of the match. But that would have been a travesty.

We keep thinking it can’t get any worse, but it does. Someone said to me “it’s worse than Docherty or Law”. I wouldn’t have agreed with them then, but I do now. Where, on the pitch is the leader? Where is the beating heart that drives them forward and rallies them when trailing?

The club seems to be inexorably spiralling downwards, and no-one seems capable of stopping it, from the permanently invisible chairman, to the equally invisible board of directors, to the useless buffoon of a manager who insists that Matt Clarke or Mark Bower must be the overlapping left back, when they have played most of their career as a centre back and there is a left back on loan from Leeds who only gets a game on the left wing or centre midfield!

The apathy in the crowd today was remarkable. Most sat in near silence. The two biggest cheers of the afternoon were reserved for the score from Sunderland. Gallows humour was the only way to pass the time. A child played his Nintendo DS for about 25 minutes of the second half. I was sat there, like thousands of others, not vaguely interested in what the result was. As the song goes (rather ironically titled ‘Mess’)

There are rooms in this house, that I don’t open anymore
Dusty books of pictures on the floor

It is time for someone with the feelgood factor. Someone who is not on one last fat contract before he retires, and who actually cares. They could bring in some players with the same motivation and pride in the shirt, and the attitude of not giving anything less than 100%. It is time for The Ginger Prince. It is time for The Third Coming…

MOTM: Doyle. Says something when he was stretchered off after 75 minutes and he’s still MOTM. Oh for 10 other players with the same level of commitment and enthusiasm. And he’s not even our player!

Bradford (4-4-2): Ricketts – Doyle (Swift), Wetherall, Bower, Clarke – J. Johnson, Bentham, Schumacher, Bridge-Wilkinson – Windass, Graham (Brown). Subs not used: Howarth, Parker, Penford

Doncaster (4-4-2): Smith – O’Connor, Lee, Lockwood, Roberts – Forte (Guy), Wilson, Coppinger (Thornton), Green – Heffernan, McCammon. Subs not used: Budtz, Dyer, Noble.

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