Category Archives: Managerial Stats/Records

The best-performing managers in Bradford City history

45 men have held the distinction of managing Bradford City in competitive football on a permanent basis. A small handful of those – namely Peter O’Rourke and Stuart McCall – have done so on more than one occasion, while others have enjoyed vastly-contrasting reigns in the Valley Parade dugout.

That is underlined by the win percentage ratios of all the 45 men that have held the job; from Robert Campbell in 1903 through to Gary Bowyer in the present day. Here, in reverse order, are the five best-performing managers in the Valley Parade dugout.

5. George Mulhall (November 1978-March 1981)
Record as Bradford City manager (all competitions)
Played: 124 Won: 52 Drew: 33 Lost: 39
Win Percentage: 41.94%

Former Halifax Town manager George Mulhall’s time in charge of Bradford City ultimately didn’t end with promotion: that came via his successor in the post, Roy McFarland. But the work Mulhall did during his time in charge at Valley Parade certainly laid the groundwork for the era of Bantam Progressivism.

Mulhall was the man who signed Bobby Campbell from Halifax, transforming him from an erratic striker into a goal-scoring legend in claret and amber. Peter Jackson was also blooded under Mulhall’s stewardship, and would go on to captain the club to promotion just a few years later. Les Chapman was another fine piece of business from Mulhall, and though he left the Valley Parade dugout in March 1981, he had laid the groundwork for what would follow across the 1980s.

4. Jack Barker (May 1946-January 1947)
Record as Bradford City manager (all competitions)
Played: 23 Won: 10 Drew: 6 Lost: 7
Win Percentage: 43.48%

Jack Barker did not have a long stint at Bradford City, but the first man to lead City in competitive football post-World War Two did bring some short-term success to the club.

At the time of his resignation in January 1947, Barker was the shortest-reigning manager in Bradford City history: yet the fact he is still fourth-highest successful in terms of win percentage makes his decision to leave all the more perplexing.

=2. Fred Westgarth (March 1938-July 1943)
Record as Bradford City manager (all competitions)
Played: 60 Won: 30 Drew: 13 Lost: 17
Win Percentage: 50%

World War Two ultimately deprived Bradford City fans of the opportunity to see how far Fred Westgarth could take the club. Westgarth stabilised the club after a turbulent 1930s, and even brought a piece of silverware to Valley Parade, too.

The 1938-39 Division Three North Challenge Cup remains the last trophy City won, some 80 years on from Westgarth leading the Paraders to success. He stayed with City for most of the war as City sides filled with guest players and temporary signings competed in the Wartime Leagues, but in 1943, he stunned the club’s board by announcing he was returning north to take the managerial post at Hartlepools United.

=2. Terry Dolan (January 1987-January 1989)
Record as Bradford City manager (all competitions)
Played: 76 Won: 38 Drew: 18 Lost: 20
Win Percentage: 50%

Under Terry Dolan, Bradford City came desperately close to reaching the promised land of Division One football after a wait of over 60 years. They fell just short of that goal, losing to Middlesbrough in the 1987-88 play-offs: but Dolan remains a popular figure at Valley Parade to this day.

He had a tough job taking over from the hugely-popular Trevor Cherry, but assembled an exciting side that were a joy to watch during his time in charge. The disappointment of losing in the play-offs in 1988 resulted in a number of big names leaving however, and Dolan left the following January. He still holds a mightily impressive win percentage of one win in two in all competitions, though.

1. Roy McFarland (May 1981-November 1982)
Record as Bradford City manager (all competitions)
Played: 82 Won: 46 Drew: 21 Lost: 15
Win Percentage: 56.10%

Roy McFarland’s Bradford City were one of the most popular sides in the club’s history – but the acrimonious departure of the manager 18 months after he took charge still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many supporters to this day.

City broke a number of records on their way to a 2nd-placed finish in Division Four that secured promotion. under McFarland during his first season in charge. McFarland even stabilised the club in Division Three during the early months of the 1982-83 season: before his former club Derby came calling in a hugely controversial episode.

McFarland and assistant Mick Jones stunned the board when they handed in their resignations in November 1982, and after a lengthy dispute, the Rams eventually had to shell lout a significant compensation package for the services of the City manager and his assistant. It was a highly-tempered end to a managerial reign that will always be overshadowed with controversy.

Every Bradford City manager’s first game in charge

This weekend, Gary Bowyer will become the 44th man to take charge of Bradford City in the role of permanent manager (NB. There have been 46 permanent appointments; Peter O’Rourke and Stuart McCall have been in charge twice). With that in mind, here’s a rundown of how EVERY single one of the 43 men who preceded Bowyer have got on in their first official game in charge.

Robert Campbell
1st September 1903 v Grimsby Town
Lost 0-2

Peter O’Rourke
4th November 1905 v Grimsby Town
Lost 0-1

David Menzies
27th August 1921 v Oldham Athletic
Drew 0-0

Colin Veitch
26th August 1926 v Port Vale
Lost 1-2 (Alcock)

Jack Peart
30th August 1930 v Charlton Athletic
Won 3-2 (Woolhouse 2, Cochrane)

Dick Ray
6th April 1934 v West Ham United
Lost 0-1

Fred Westgarth
5th March 1938 v Port Vale
Lost 3-4 (Robertson, Whittingham 2)

Jack Barker
31st August 1946 v Accrington Stanley
Won 3-1 (Hinsley, Wass, Wollett)

Jack Milburn
2nd January 1947 v Gateshead
Won 2-0 (Whittingham 2)

David Steele
21st August 1948 v Barrow
Drew 0-0

Ivor Powell
23rd August 1952 v Port Vale
Won 1-0 (King)

Peter Jackson Snr
5th February 1955 v Southport
Lost 0-1

Bob Brocklebank
19th August 1961 v York City
Drew 2-2 (Cartlidge, Reid)

Bill Harris
8th March 1965 v Stockport County
Lost 0-2

Willie Watson
4th April 1966 v Port Vale
Drew 0-0

Grenville Hair
20th January 1968 v Lincoln City
Lost 0-2

Jimmy Wheeler
10th August 1968 v Doncaster Rovers
Drew 1-1 (Swallow)

Bryan Edwards
27th November 1971 v Notts County
Lost 2-3 (C Hall, Middleton)

Bobby Kennedy
16th August 1975 v Brentford
Drew 1-1 (McGinley)

John Napier
4th February 1978 v Chester
Lost 2-3 (Cooke, Ratcliffe)

George Mulhall
18th November 1978 v Barnsley
Won 1-0 (Cooke)

Roy McFarland
29th August 1981 v Wigan Athletic
Drew 3-3 (Campbell 2, Black)

Trevor Cherry
11th December 1982 v Mansfield (FA Cup)
Drew 1-1 (Gray)

Terry Dolan
10th January 1987 v Oldham (FA Cup)
Drew 1-1 (McCall)

Terry Yorath
4th February 1989 v Blackburn Rovers
Lost 1-2 (Abbott)

John Docherty
21st March 1990 v Newcastle United
Won 3-2 (Mitchell, Abbott, Woods)

Frank Stapleton
14th December 1991 v West Bromwich Albion
Drew 1-1 (McCarthy)

Lennie Lawrence
13th August 1994 v Chester City
Won 4-1 (Taylor, Jewell 3)

Chris Kamara
2nd December 1995 v Preston (FA Cup)
Won 2-1 (Jacobs 2)

Paul Jewell
10th January 1998 v Stockport County
Won 2-1 (Jacobs, Blake)

Chris Hutchings
1st July 2000 v FK Atlantis (Intertoto Cup)
Won 3-1 (Blake, Windass, Rankin)

Jim Jeffries
25th November 2000 v Middlesbrough
Drew 2-2 (Carbone, Windass)

Nicky Law
8th January 2002 v Walsall (FA Cup)
Lost 0-2

Bryan Robson
29th November 2003 v Millwall
Won 3-2 (Branch, Gray, Cadamarteri)

Colin Todd
7th August 2004 v Hartlepool United
Lost 1-2 (Windass)

Stuart McCall
11th August 2007 v Macclesfield Town
Drew 1-1 (Ndumbu-Nsungu)

Peter Taylor
20th January 2010 v Accrington Stanley
Lost 0-2

Peter Jackson
5th March 2011 v Gillingham
Lost 0-2

Phil Parkinson
3rd September 2011 v Morecambe
Drew 1-1 (Hannah)

Simon Grayson
13th February 2018 v Charlton Athletic
Drew 1-1 (Robinson)

Michael Collins
4th August 2018 v Shrewsbury Town
Won 1-0 (Payne)

David Hopkin
8th September 2018 v Blackpool
Lost 2-3 (Doyle, Payne)

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.

The David Hopkin Reign in Numbers

Bradford City are now searching for the 38th permanent manager in the club’s history following the resignation of David Hopkin on Monday morning.

Hopkin leaves City following a difficult 174-day reign, with a win ratio which, unfortunately, has created an unwanted piece of Bantams history.

Excluding caretaker managers such as David Wetherall over the club’s history, none of the 36 incumbents of the manager’s position before Hopkin recorded a win ratio lower than Hopkin’s 20%. From his 35 games in charge, Hopkin’s final record in all competitions was:

Played: 35
Won: 7
Drawn: 11
Lost: 17
Win ratio: 20%

Hopkin’s low win ratio is marginally worse than Peter Jackson, who managed 4 wins from his 19 games in charge, a win ratio of 21.05%.

However, there was perhaps an argument that Hopkin was beginning to turn Bradford City’s fortunes around, irrespective of the result at Walsall on Saturday afternoon. Splitting his 28 league game-reign in charge down the middle, the first 14 league games under Hopkin yielded a woefully-low eight points. Contrast that with the 14 league games thereafter, and City registered 19 points.

But more telling than that is the fact that City are now on the lookout for their fifth permanent manager (sixth if you include Greg Abbott’s interim game in charge, but we won’t) in just 13 months.

This is comfortably the biggest turnover of managers in the club’s history. The closest comparison you can find is around the turn of the century, when there were three permanent managers (Paul Jewell, Chris Hutchings, and Jim Jeffries) in charge between June 2000 and December 2001, an 18-month period. Never before have three successive permanent managers failed to occupy the post for less than a year.

Having created unwanted Bradford City history earlier in his reign (CLICK), unfortunately, David Hopkin departs BD8 with more unwanted statistical records to his name.

David Hopkin aiming for unwanted City managerial record on Saturday

To suggest it has been a tough inauguration for David Hopkin as Bradford City’s 37th permanent manager would be an understatement – though he has undoubtedly not been helped by matters off the field.

However, Hopkin will be aiming for victory on Saturday to not only hopefully move the Bantams off the bottom of the League One table, but to also avoid creating an unwanted managerial record.

Since the switch to three points for a victory at the beginning of the 1981-82 league season, 22 men have managed Bradford City on a permanent basis – beginning with Roy McFarland.

McFarland, who left City under controversial circumstances shortly after guiding the Bantams to promotion, has the best record of any manager during their first ten league games in charge – taking 25 points from a possible 30.

At the other end of the scale, two men share the worst points return from their first ten games. Chris Hutchings, who was dismissed shortly after managing City for ten games in the Premier League, and Trevor Cherry – who is the only man not to win any of his first ten league games – have just six points between them.

The other man to have won just six points, Michael Collins, was in charge for just six league games.

The fact it is those two men, Hutchings and Cherry – one who was sacked so quickly and one who would go on and produce one of the most iconic Bradford City sides in history – who share that record suggest nothing is fatal, or indeed certain, at such an early stage in Hopkin’s managerial career.

But with the Scot having won just four points from his first nine league games in charge – the draw against Bristol Rovers followed by the win at AFC Wimbledon in the space of four days last month – it means only a win will save Hopkin from having the worst start to any City manager’s reign since three points for a win was introduced 37 years ago.

City managers since 1981 and points return from first 10 games in charge

Michael Collins
Points from first ten games: 6 (dismissed after six games)
Simon Grayson
Points from first ten games: 8
Stuart McCall
Points from first ten games: 18 (unbeaten)
Phil Parkinson
Points from first ten games: 9
Peter Jackson
Points from first ten games: 11
Peter Taylor
Points from first ten games: 14
Stuart McCall
Points from first ten games: 10
Colin Todd
Points from first ten games: 13
Bryan Robson
Points from first ten games: 9
Nicky Law
Points from first ten games: 13
Jim Jeffries
Points from first ten games: 9
Chris Hutchings
Points from first ten games: 6
Paul Jewell
Points from first ten games: 17
Chris Kamara
Points from first ten games: 16
Lennie Lawrence
Points from first ten games: 17
Frank Stapleton
Points from first ten games: 12
John Docherty
Points from first ten games: 8
Terry Yorath
Points from first ten games: 12
Terry Dolan
Points from first ten games: 12
Trevor Cherry
Points from first ten games: 6 (no wins)
Roy McFarland
Points from first ten games: 25