How have City managers fared in their first (official) game in charge?

With the David Hopkin era beginning at Blackpool on Saturday, here’s a brief look at how his more recent predecessors have fared during their first competitive match in charge of Bradford City. This list excludes caretaker reigns in charge.

Michael Collins
Won v Shrewsbury Town (A) 1-0
4/8/2018

The Michael Collins era began in August with a much happier tone than how it abruptly came to an end after a matter of weeks. Jack Payne scored the only goal on the opening day of the season as City beat last season’s play-off finalists Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, however, Collins would win only one more game before being sacked.

Simon Grayson
Drew v Charlton Athletic (A) 1-1
13/2/2018

When City turned to Simon Grayson, they had registered just four points from a possible 21, which ultimately resulted in the sacking of Stuart McCall. Grayson’s impact felt immediate, as City headed to then play-off rivals Charlton and earned a respectable draw, Tyrell Robinson scoring City’s goal.

Stuart McCall
Drew v Port Vale (H) 0-0
6/8/2016

The second coming (as a manager) of Stuart McCall started in sombre fashion. The first official game of Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp’s tenure in charge resulted in a 0-0 draw with Port Vale on the opening day of the 2016/17 season – though it was the start of a run which saw City begin the season unbeaten all the way through to mid-October.

Phil Parkinson
Drew v Morecambe (A) 1-1
3/9/2011

The reign of arguably the greatest manager in City’s modern-day history began with a draw at Morecambe. Colin Cooper had overseen the 4-2 win at home to Barnet days earlier, and Parkinson’s tenure began with a goal from Ross Hannah, as City left the seaside with a point.

Peter Jackson
Lost v Gillingham (A) 0-2
5/3/2011

The Peter Taylor reign had ended with a victory days earlier, and when City turned to legendary former captain Peter Jackson, they were still not mathematically assured of a place in the Football League the following season. Those fears were not helped by Jackson’s first game, a loss at Gillingham: though he stabilised City to help them survive with some ease.

Bantams Worldwide: Asia

Other editions: Africa, Caribbean (I)

While players from all across the world have appeared for Bradford City since the club’s formation in 1903, one part of the world which hasn’t had too much representation is Asia.

So much so, in fact, that of the 1200+ players to have worn the claret and amber shirt since 1903, only one of those has either been born in Asia or gone on to represent an Asian country at international level.

That makes this a very compact, small edition of Bantams Worldwide: but the one man in this exclusive group is somewhat of a flag-bearer for Asian footballers.

Pakistan – Zesh Rehman
(#1056, 71 apps, 2 goals, 2009-10)

Born in Birmingham in 1983, Zesh Rehman’s footballing career began when he made his debut for Fulham in 2003. However, it was the following year, against Liverpool in April, when Rehman came on for the final minutes (replacing another ex-City player in Bobby Petta) to become the first British Asian to play in the Premier League.

Rehman subsequently became the first British Asian to play in all four professional divisions – but only achieved that when he signed for City in January 2009 on loan.

He was quoted at the time as saying the only League Two team he would have dropped down to play for were Bradford, making his debut on January 27, 2009 during the 1-0 defeat to Bury.

Rehman actually turned down a Pakistan call-up in March to help City push for promotion, which they ultimately failed in achieving, but he still signed a permanent, two-year deal with City in the summer of 2009 – as well as being named captain.

However, despite making 42 appearances in the 2009-10 season, the arrival of Peter Taylor as manager coincided with Rehman’s game-time decreasing. He then made some public comments about his lack of action which led to him being transfer listed, eventually being let go by the Bantams later that year.

In total, Rehman made 18 appearances for Pakistan at international level – and is still the only Pakistani international to play in the Premier League.

How many men have both played for and managed Bradford City?

David Hopkin’s recent appointment as the latest Bradford City head coach/manager added his name to an illustrious list.

While over 1,200 people have played for Bradford City, only 45 have been entrusted in the role of manager on a permanent basis, with Hopkin the latest. And Bradford City’s new manager is part of an exclusive club just 16 strong: men to have both played and managed the Bantams. Here is a closer look at that group, in chronological order.

Peter O’Rourke (#12)
Played: 1903-05
Managed: 1905-21; 1928-30

Peter O’Rourke played in Bradford City’s second-ever game, against Gainsborough in September 1903 – but he is more famous for his first spell as manager of the Bantams, which spanned an incredible 16 years: and included the legendary 1911 FA Cup victory.

John ‘Jack’ Milburn (#393)
Played: 1946-47
Managed: 1947-48

Cousin of the legendary Newcastle striker Jackie Milburn, John ‘Jack’ Milburn’s playing career ended with the Bantams – but not before he became City’s first-ever player-managed in 1947. He stepped down a year later to be replaced by David Steele.

Ivor Powell (#469)
Played: 1952-54
Managed: 1952-55

Powell was also player-manager after arriving from Port Vale, before continuing to manage City after a knee injury ended his playing days in 1954. He left a year later, in 1955.

Bill Harris (#593)
Played: 1965-66
Managed: 1965-66

Welsh international Harris was City’s third player-manager, after joining the Bantams from Middlesbrough, where he had made almost 400 appearances for the club. Unfortunately, Harris was in charge during one of the lowest period’s in the club’s history, where they twice had to reapply for election to the league in four years.

John Napier (#670)
Played: 1976-78
Managed: 1978

Napier was City’s first Irish-born manager, though having made over 100 appearances in an earlier spell with City, his short time as manager was more testing. City were relegated to Division Four in 1978 under Napier’s management, and he resigned thereafter.

Roy McFarland (#719)
Played: 1981-82
Managed: 1981-82

A cornerstone of Brian Clough’s legendary Derby side, McFarland arrived at City in 1981 with many of the traits inevitably learned during his time with Clough. He was an instant hit as player-manager, and City were promoted to Division Three in first season in charge before he was controversially lured back to Derby – which resulted in the Rams paying City compensation.

Trevor Cherry (#725)
Played: 1982-85
Managed: 1982-87

Cherry succeeded McFarland as a time where the Bantams were about to endure serious financial difficulties – but he steered the club through those testing times as player-manager before leading them to the Division Three title in 1985. He and Terry Dolan kept the club going commendably during their time away following the fire, before Cherry was surprisingly dismissed in 1987.

Terry Dolan (#687)
Played: 1976-81
Managed: 1987-89

Bradfordian Dolan succeeded Cherry upon his sacking, after a 5-1 thumping of Oldham in the FA Cup helped him land the job full-time. He led the club away from relegation worries in Division Two but in his first full season, came desperately close to promotion, as City finished fourth and narrowly missed out on promotion to Division One for the first time in over 60 years. He left in January 1989.

Terry Yorath (#726)
Played: 1982-85
Managed: 1989-90

Welsh international Yorath joined City in 1982 as a player/assistant-coach, but made only a handful of appearances before taking the manager’s job at Swansea in 1986. However, three years later he was back at the Bantams, this time as manager – but he lasted only a year in charge, despite being also manager of Wales at the time.

Frank Stapleton (#800)
Played: 1991-94
Managed: 1991-94

Republic of Ireland international and former Manchester United great Stapleton arrived from across West Yorkshire in 1991, joining as player-manager from Huddersfield Town. This was a testing period for City, having been relegated to Division Three, but Stapleton solidified City before he was sacked in 1994.

Chris Kamara (#829)
Played: 1994-95
Managed: 1995-98

City were in a relegation scrap in the newly-renamed Division Two when Chris Kamara was promoted to succeed Lennie Lawrence. They would finish that season a Division One side – a position they would secure the following season after that final day victory over QPR. Eventually, he and chairman Geoffrey Richmond parted company – but not before Kamara recommended his own assistant to replace him.

Paul Jewell (#768)
Played: 1988-98
Managed: 1998-2000

Few men have a prouder place in City’s history than Jewell. He succeeded Kamara in January 1998 and led City to a respectable 13th-placed finish in Division One that year. However, armed with several big signings the following season, Jewell shook off a poor start to lead City into the Premier League for the first time – City’s first taste of top-flight football for 77 years. He kept them up, too – but left in the summer of 2000 following a fallout with Richmond.

Stuart McCall (#722)
Played: 1982-88; 1998-2002
Managed: 2007-10, 2016-18

Bradford City’s favourite son. McCall has seen City at their heartbreaking, tragic worst, and their absolute highest as a player – before being lured back as manager to try and get them out of League Two in 2007. He ultimately failed with that task, but returned when the club were taken over by Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp in the summer of 2016. It was a popular appointment, and McCall came within one game of restoring City’s Championship status in 2017, before eventually leaving at the start of the following year.

Peter Jackson (#706)
Played: 1979-86; 1988-90
Managed: 2011

Captain of Bradford City in their darkest hour, Jackson remains one of the club’s greatest-ever players – so it was no surprise that his appointment as manager in 2011 was seen as a good move by the club’s owners. He became interim manager following the sacking of Peter Taylor and did enough of a job to land the gig full-time that summer – but he resigned just weeks into the season, being succeeded by Phil Parkinson.

Simon Grayson (#939)
Played: 2002
Managed: 2018

Grayson arrived on a short-term loan deal from Blackburn in 2002 as City were still reeling from relegation out of the Premier League. He made only seven appearances and didn’t return for 16 years, before he was unveiled as Stuart McCall’s successor on a short-term deal in February 2018. He left that summer.

The Michael Collins reign: In Numbers

Michael Collins’ time as Bradford City head coach came to an end on Monday evening when he parted company with the club.

The 44th man entrusted with managing the Bantams on a permanent basis, Collins took charge of City for just six league games, plus the League Cup defeat to Macclesfield Town last month.

Comparison of Collins’ Reign in Games Played

Unfortunately, it will come as no surprise to learn that no permanent manager of the football club has taken charge for fewer games than Collins with the exception of wartime football.

The only manager to have been in charge for fewer competitive games was Robert Sharp, City’s manager during the latter years of the Second World War. As such, Sharp was unable to manage City in the league, because the league had been suspended due to the War.

Outside of that, it is interesting to note that the shortest permanent reign in charge of City was Collins predecessor, Simon Grayson. Grayson took charge in just 14 games – though it could be argued that Peter Jackson’s resignation in the early weeks of the 2011-12 season usurps that. However, given that Jackson’s interim reign was made permanent, this website counts his entire 19-game reign as one stint.

There were other shorter reigns, such as Ray Wilson’s 10-game reign in charge in 1970, as well as Jim McAnearney and Tom Hallett’s spell of 12 games following the tragic death of Grenville Hair in 1968. They, however, were caretaker/interim reigns.

Shortest Managerial Records in Games
Michael Collins (2018): 7 games
Simon Grayson (2018): 14 games
Albert Harris (1952): 17 games
Peter Jackson (2011): 19 games
Chris Hutchins (2000): 21 games

Comparison of Collins’ Reign in Days in Charge

Michael Collins was in charge of Bradford City from June 18th to September 3rd, a total of 78 days. While his reign is inevitably one of the shorter ones in terms of games in charge and is still the shortest in terms of time too, it is not by an incredible distance.

Again, Simon Grayson’s time in charge of City just prior to Collins is the second-shortest – with Albert Harris’ 1952 stint in charge also coming in at under 100 days. The great Peter Jackson’s 2011 reign again includes his initial period as a caretaker before that was made permanent.

Michael Collins (2018): 78 days
Simon Grayson (2018): 87 days
Albert Harris (1952): 90 days
Chris Hutchins (2000): 141 days
Peter Jackson: (2011): 180 days

Collins’ Win Percentage

While clearly a much smaller sample, Michael Collins leaves Bradford City with two wins from his seven games in charge, a win percentage of 28.5%.

That is higher than the reigns of the following permanent managers:

Peter Jackson (2011): 21%
Simon Grayson (2018): 21.4%
Colin Veitch (1926-28): 21.5%
Terry Yorath (1989-90): 22.8%
Bryan Robson (2003-04): 25%
Nicky Law (2002-03): 26.4%
Jim Jeffries (2000-01): 28.3%
David Menzies (1921-26): 28.4%

Bantams Worldwide: The Caribbean (and surrounding areas!) Part One

For such a small part of the world, Bradford City’s history with the countries in the Caribbean is rich, to say the least.

In fact, such a large number of players have come from that part of the world, that this particular instalment of our Bantams Worldwide series has been broken off into two sections. One covers the extensive number of players with Jamaican roots/international records, while this particular instalment is about the players to come from other parts of the Caribbean – including one or two areas which are constantly debated about their presence among the Caribbean islands.

Barbados – Mark McCammon
(#1076, 4 apps, 2010)

A well-travelled player throughout the majority of his career, former Gillingham and Brighton striker arrived at Bradford on loan in February 2010, despite reportedly having reservations about stepping down to join a League Two side, which City were at the time.

Despite being in London, McCammon was already a Barbados international by the time he made his City debut. In all, he played five times for his country, scoring four goals – including a hat-trick in the 7-1 win over Anguilla in 2006, which is Barbados’ biggest-ever win.

He made his debut against Darlington on February 27th, 2010, and went on to make a further three appearances for City without scoring before returning to parent club Gillingham.

Bermuda – Nahki Wells
(#1112, 112 apps, 53 goals, 2011-14)

Had it not been for the presence of one or two greats from a different generation, Nahki Wells would almost certainly be regarded as Bradford City’s greatest overseas player given his contribution to the club.

The signing of Wells by manager Peter Jackson in the summer of 2011 ruffled few feathers. He arrived having just been released by Carlisle, and he didn’t even make his league debut until November that year. Thereafter, however, his career took off.

The arrival of Phil Parkinson coincided with Wells’ formation of a deadly partnership with James Hanson which would subsequently become legendary. He scored 12 times in his first season, prompting City to hand him a new deal. The next year, the infamous history-making campaign of 2012-13, he scored 26 times.

The step up to League One saw him score eight goals in his first seven league games, which inevitably saw the vultures circle. And, in January 2014, Wells left for West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield. His career has not slowed since then.

Dominica – Joe Cooke
(#654, 303 apps, 79 goals, 1971-79)

Born in Dominica, Joe Cooke arrived at Bradford City in 1970 a teenager. He left almost a decade later an icon. Had the island gained independence earlier than 1978, his international career may too have been as notorious.

One of only a handful of players to make over 300 appearances for Bradford City in all competitions, Cooke thrived for the Bantams at both ends of the pitch, becoming notorious for his ability as both a centre-half and a striker.

Despite spending large periods of his time at City in defence, he still finished with a goals-to-game ratio of around one in four, which is impressive given his positional versatility and the amount of games he played. He returned to City in 1982 for another three seasons, before finishing his professional career with Rochdale and Wrexham.

Grenada – Delroy Facey
(#952, 6 apps, 1 goal, 2002)

Delroy Facey grew up down the road from Bradford in Huddersfield, but he was reportedly eligible to represent a number of nations in the Caribbean region due to family heritage.

He eventually opted to play for Grenada after receiving a call-up in 2009, some seven years on from his brief spell as a Bantam. Facey joined on loan in November 2002, becoming one of the elite club to score on their Bradford City debut when he netted against Wimbledon.

NOTE: The entire list of players to score on their City debut can be viewed here. 

That would be the only time Facey scored in his six games for City though, eventually returning to Bolton. In all, he represented Grenada on 15 occasions, scoring twice.

Saint Kitts and Nevis – Ces Podd
(#647, 568 apps, 4 goals, 1970-84)

Ces Podd is the greatest overseas player Bradford City have ever had. In fact, he’s one of the club’s finest players irrespective of nationality.

Born in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Podd made his debut on the 26th September, 1970 against Chesterfield. He would serve the Bantams with unrivalled distinction for fourteen years thereafter, finishing as the club’s all-time record appearance holder.

On 502 occasions, Podd played league football for Bradford City FC. To put that into context, only three men – Ian Cooper, John Hall and Bruce Stowell – reached 400 league appearances. It is an astonishing number.

In total, Podd racked up 568 appearances in all competitions before leaving for Halifax Town in 1984. He is, without doubt, a true Bradford City legend.

West Indies – Wingrove Manners
(#663, 1 app, 1972)

In City’s game against Bolton Wanderers on the 10th May, 1972, West Indian-born Wingrove Manners became the 66th player to make his one and only appearance for the Bantams.

A unique insight into the history of professional football