Bradford City legend Stuart McCall’s second spell at the Yorkshire club came to an end yesterday after he was relieved of his duties by the club after a run of six straight defeats.
The Bantams are still in the play-off spots but their most recent defeat, against relegation battlers Oldham coming as it did off the back of a 4-0 home defeat to shot-shy AFC Wimbledon, cost former Motherwell manager McCall his job.
Some Bradford fans are bound to be upset by how McCall’s second tenure came to an end, given his status at the club and it has become clear from his farewell message that the Scotsman feels just as deeply for the club.
He told the Yorkshire Post: ““I feel I can leave with my head held high. When I left as manager last time, I went away feeling I had let everyone down but this time it feels different.
“I have done as much as I could under the circumstances. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I regret staying last summer.
“Until the start of January, the season was going well. But, I will admit that if it had been any other club than Bradford City, I would have walked last summer. Things had just got too difficult.
“When you have been on a run like we have, you can’t claim to be surprised to be sacked. I am hugely disappointed, of course. We had one terrible month after 18 months of progress.
“I would have loved a crack at it on Saturday as a win against Bury and the entire season could change again. Someone said the players had let me down, but I don’t go along with that.
“We haven’t been good enough this past month, but they have given me everything. I said that when I spoke to the squad collectively and on an individual basis.
“It is just disappointing that I have had to say goodbye to a group I have enjoyed working with. That, though, is part and parcel of football. For whatever reason, we have lost form.
“Injuries haven’t helped. And we probably needed to bring the signings in earlier last month but it is what it is and I do believe this group can turn things around – starting with Saturday.
“We had seven players out at Oldham through injury, but four could be available. That will make a big difference. I hope so, anyway.
“It is a time for everyone to unite and kick on. Forget about what has gone, just look to the future. The club is still in a good position. It says a lot that, even after this horrible run, we are still in the top six.”
It shines through in McCall’s message how much he cares about the club and how strongly he believes that the playing squad there has the ability to turn things around and consolidate their play-off position.
He could easily reach for excuses but chose not to and it is refreshing to see him admit that he might have walked in the summer – managers are rarely that honest.
Bradford fans – what do you make of McCall’s message? Let us know in the comments below…