Bradford City and caretaker managers

Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars became the latest in a long line of men to take charge of Bradford City on a caretaker basis on Tuesday, for the 1-1 draw with Crawley Town. Trueman and Sellars join a small, but interesting, list of people – including some club legends – to have assumed the role of caretaker manager.

Some of those reigns have been for solitary games – others have lasted longer than some permanent managerial reigns in the club’s history! Here’s a look at their predecessors as caretaker boss.

Martin Drury (2019)
1 game: 1 defeat

After David Hopkin left Bradford City in early-March 2019, coach Martin Drury stepped up to take charge of the Bantams for a solitary game. Unfortunately, it did not end well – as City were hammered 5-1 at Portsmouth prior to Gary Bowyer’s arrival as manager a few days later.

Greg Abbott (2018)
1 game: 1 draw

Long-serving City stalwart Greg Abbott took the reins for less than a week in February last year, prior to Simon Grayson’s arrival for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. His one result was a 2-2 draw against Bury, with Charlie Wyke and Shay McCartan scoring.

Colin Cooper (2011)
2 games: 1 win, 1 draw

When Peter Jackson was dismissed just four games into the 2011-12 season, the caretaker position was handed to former Middlesbrough defender Colin Cooper: who did an impressive job. In his first game in charge, City won their first game of the season, beating Barnet 4-2 – before a 1-1 draw a week later at Morecambe proved to be his final game before Phil Parkinson’s arrival.

Wayne Jacobs (2010)
1 game: 1 draw

When Stuart McCall’s first stint in charge of City ended in February 2010, the club turned to another playing legend, Wayne Jacobs, to take caretaker charge. He was in charge for one game; a 1-1 draw with Burton Albion.

David Wetherall (2007)
14 games: 2 wins, 4 draws, 8 defeats

One of the longest caretaker reigns in history, legendary City defender David Wetherall took charge for the remainder of the 2006-07 season in February tasked with keeping the Bantams up following Colin Todd’s departure. Ultimately, he failed to do so; winning just two of his 14 games in charge.

Four senior players (2003)
1 game: 1 defeat

Wetherall and Jacobs have had two spells in caretaker charge, the first coming in 2003 when, following Nicky Law’s dismissal, the duo teamed up with Peter Atherton and Dean Windass to take charge against Stoke for a solitary game – a game they lost. Shortly after, Bryan Robson joined City.

Steve Smith (2001)
2 games: 2 defeats

Smith is notoriously the only person from Huddersfield to manage Huddersfield Town – a role he held in the mid-1980s. However, almost two decades later he returned to the dugout on a temporary basis, taking charge of two games – losing them both – after Jim Jeffries’ dismissal.

Stuart McCall (2000)
2 games: 2 defeats

When Chris Hutchins left City in late-2000, the Bantams turned to then-captain Stuart McCall on a temporary basis. The Scot took charge of two games, unfortunately losing both of them, before Jim Jeffries joined the club as permanent manager.

Ray Wilson (1971)
10 games: 5 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats

Legendary England left-back Ray Wilson had a very brief playing spell with City at the end of his career: and when he retired, he served as caretaker manager between September and November 1971 after the departure of Jimmy Wheeler. Wilson did well; winning five of his ten games in charge.

Jim McAnearney and Tom Hallett (1968)
12 games: 5 wins, 5 draws, 2 defeats

Following the sudden death of then-manager Grenville Hair in March 1968, playing duo Jim McAnearney and Tom Hallett were tasked with finishing the job Hair started, and getting the Bantams promoted out of Division Four. The duo did well, securing a fifth-placed finish – but it wasn’t enough to ensure promotion. Jimmy Wheeler took permanent charge that summer.

Albert Harris (1952)
17 games: 5 wins, 4 draws, 8 defeats

Perhaps more commonly known as a director of the Bantams in the 1950s, Harris took temporary charge when manager David Steele was dismissed in 1952. He was in charge for the remainder of the 1951-52 season, before Ivor Powell took over that summer.

Jack Foster (1928)
19 games: 10 wins, 4 draws, 5 defeats

Foster succeeded Colin Veitch in January 1928 as caretaker boss for the remainder of the 1927-28 season, eventually leading the Bantams to a sixth-placed finish in Division Three (North), missing out on promotion. That summer, Peter O’Rourke took over.

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