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Details of Club Forum

Adam Bell  Wednesday, May 30, 2001  07:53 GMT

Details of last nights club forum are taken from the Official Bradford City FC Website

The Banqueting Suite at the Bradford & Bingley Stadium was packed on Tuesday night as fans turned up to hear Chairman Geoffrey Richmond and Manager Jim Jefferies talk of the Club's plans for the future.

The Chairman and Jim Jefferies were joined on the top table by Shaun Harvey, Managing Director and Barrie Pierpoint, the club's new Commercial Director.

[For the purposes of this report Q=Question from floor, GR/JJ/SAH=reply from Geoffrey Richmond, Jim Jefferies, Shaun Harvey]

The Chairman confirmed the players' budget for next season would be £7.5m which was met by rapturous applause from the fans. This would enable the Manager to keep the current squad together and that he would not be forced into sales. There would be money available to take the playing squad to 26. This would include 20 senior and six young professionals.

Q: Why the change?

GR: Players out from the club in February and March had helped. The budget was initially based on extremely pressimistic Season Ticket sales. As at tonight there were 7600 and were selling well. 819 25-year Season Tickets had brought in £2m revenue. If come the turn of the year and it looks as if the club would be in top six, substantial further money would be available.

Q: Would current players being offered new contracts still have to take wage cuts, including Stuart McCall?

JJ: Stuart would be 37 this year and wants to be part of the squad and has been offered an almost similar offer to before and I would ask that you do not pay too much regards to what has been in the Press. There would be nobody taking a drastic wage cut. An offer had been made to Eoin Jess which was initially turned down but he will be taling to me again when he returns from holiday.

Q: Had the club signed Dino Menelli?

JJ: Not at the present time. I have spoken with his agent and have invited him back to pre-season training with a view to signing.

Q: Will you give an undertaking that the club will keep Benito Carbone under any circumstances.

JJ: Given the news tonight Benito will stay unless he wants to go. He is a terrific asset and I am now under no pressure to sell him?

Q: And Molenaar and Latapy?

JJ: I have made an offer to Robert and he has gone home to Holland to think about it. However he has concerns about the future and he will now be advised about tonight's news. As for Latapy I have only told his agent that I could be interested. Nothing is definite.

Q: Would we be continuing the Schools ticket promotion and what is happening to the end of the stand?

GR: The schools promotion would continue and was being expanded.

SAH: Provisional planning application has been put into the Local Authority however this would not be concidered until such time as agreement had been reached for the closure of the road Valley Parade and of course there would have to be the demand for more seats.

Q: Have all the squad been told of the news tonight and what has their reaction been?

GR: The news has only just been announced and will only now start to get out but Jim will be in contact with the squad as soon as he can. Relegation will make us better and we will not rest until we are back in the Premiership.

Q: You have gone on record that you do not want to bring in players aged over 24 years of age. Is this still the case?

JJ: We will be looking at players in their mid-twenties. It is not always easy to do so but we will try.

Q: Will we have to wait until pre-season to bring players in or will we do so very soon?

JJ: I am under no pressure at the moment and will bring in a couple by pre-season and others during the season.

Q: Things have gone quiet on the Academy. What lines have been taken to start it up?

SAH: We have been looking at a site at Elm Tree Farm at Apperley Bridge but as we found out last season the canal which borders the area has caused problems due to flooding. We have today agreed heads of terms with Ben Rydding Sports Club to train there from next season with the Centres of Excellence in their current places. Once better ideal sites are found where we can put the facilities in one area we will proceed. Jim has been focused on the first team since his arrival but is now turning his attentions to the Youth set-up.

Q: Is the Skylark development still going ahead near the M606?

SAH: We initially agreed to go in with Skylark as tennants to help with planning permission but it is now not part of our plans.

Q: What are we going to do about a goalscorer? Have we anybody good enough?

JJ: We have to be fair to the squad we currently have and I will assess the situation at the start of the season. If I need to we will look at things later but we have to give the present players a chance.

Q: The news has taken a lot of the sting out of the meeting but do we take it that some players who do not figure will be alllowed to stay?

JJ: The budget takes into account the players who are currently on loan but if any others go their sale will increase it. Lee Sharpe and Matt Clarke are not part of my plans but as for Peter Atherton we will have to see pre-season.

Q: What about Ian Nolan?

JJ: Ian was initially not part of my plans but he has got on with his job but he has knuckled down and I told him that he would be given the option to move or stay but having spoken with his agent today he advises me he is happy to stay and we will speak when he returns from holiday.

Q: At the last Forum we were told that Benito Carbone was homesick. He was then subject of a transfer to Middlesbrough and now wants to stay. What is the case?

JJ: Initially Beni has problems with his family being homesick but since the Italian transfer window closed, Beni has knuckled down having initialy spoken to Middlesbrough but now wants to stay.

Q: Has the new figure been based on attendances for next season with fair-weather supporters having been criticised in the past?

GR: I have never criticised fans in the past, indeed am always thanking them for their support. I was under doctors orders not to go to the Coventry City game at the end of the season but have been told that our fans were magnificent. Indeed the Coventry Chairman rang me to tell me that he has never seen support from visitors like it. We have budgeted for 14,000 fans to come to home games next season, not including those who come under the schools scheme. I would expect there to be about another 5000 of these per game. There were to be a very large number of local derbies next season but we were missing one from a team who were taking a season out! I did not know whether to laugh or cry when they went down. Actually I cried at the thought of the lost gate receipts!! Due to the adverse publicity in recent weeks we have agreed to extend the Season Ticket dealine yet again and it will now expire on 30 June.

Q: Now we have been told we can keep Beni, if anybody comes in for him will you put a big transfer figure on his head?

JJ: Yes!!

Q: Recent reports have stated that you Geoffrey and Jim are to leave. Is this the case?

GR: As for me, my health problems are sorted (applause) and after my operation I am now back to health and am going nowhere. As for my relationship with Jim, there are always going to disagreements but we are alike in the fact that once we have discussed such things they are forgotten about.

JJ: On the back of an interview I did after the Coventry City game for Match of the Day I have to admit I was frustrated but was not getting at anybody. But when you see the response we got at Coventry I have no intention of packing it in. We had a clear the air meeting on Monday after the game. I will always fight for the club and am not a 'yesman'.

Q: We have talked about goalscorers but what about goalstoppers?

JJ: Matt Clarke has gone on record that he does not want to play for us and Aidan Davison's agent has said that Aidan wants first team football so this will have to be redressed.

Q: Given that next season could be Stuart McCall's final one, has the club considered giving him a Testimonial game?

JJ: That is one of the items Stuart's advisor's have suggested when discussing his new contract.

Q: Is the money from JCT600 enough for a club with Premiership ambitions?

GR: I think it is and the best offer received was from the current sponsor and we were delighted to continue with them.

Q: Where will visiting supporters be seated next season?

SAH: As this season, they will be in the Symphony Stand and if need be also in Blocks E, F and G of the Ciba Stand.

Q: Are the club going on a pre-season tour?

SAH: We have two options. We may play 2 games in Italy and one Austria at the end of July and the other possibility of a trip to the Republic of Ireland.

Q: Would any money from Matt Clarke's sale be added to the £7.5m?

GR: Nobody knows what is going to happen during the season but when Matt goes any money from his sale will be added to the war-chest.

Q: Where will the Reserve Team games be played next season?

SAH: Application has been made to the FA Premier League to play them at Bradford Park Avenue and Farsley Celtic but these have to be approved by the League. We will of course play the bigger games, Leeds United, Manchester United etc, here at the Bradford & Bingley Stadium.

Q: What effect have Bradford Bulls playing here had on the pitch?

JJ: I am very pleased with the way the pitch has held up.

SAH: We have a team of experts looking after things throughout ours and Bradford Bulls' playing season to ensure there is no lasting damage.

Q: Will the club be doing anything to help supporters travelling to away games next season?

GR: Obviously we cannot do anything about admission prices as they are set by the home club but I am sure we can come up with a form of membership scheme for loyal supporters who use the official club transport.

Q: My son plays for the Centre of Excellence. What was the reasoning behind Ron Futcher's departure.

JJ: When I first came to the club I could not believe that we did not have a single Youth scout in the Bradford area and no disrespect to the players we have, was very disappointed at the Youth set-up as a whole. This was an area which badly needed looking at and I am now doing so. If it means that there has to be staffing changes to get us a good Youth Department, then so be it, changes will be made.

Q: What is the significance of Barrie Pierpoint joining the club as Commercial Director?

GR: In recent weeks several members of staff have left the Commercial Department and it needed a complete overhaul. Barrie has been brought in to oversee it and also to our new corporate facilities for matchdays and non-matchdays up and running.

Q: Will we be having the new scoreboard in operation soon and when will the new memorial be in place?

GR: The scoreboard is not now being changed as the company who was providing it to us and similar ones to other clubs have pulled out of the agreement. The memorial will be in place when the stannd is finished in July. We then intend having an open day to allow supporters to come along an view the new facilities.

Q: What formation will you be playing next season Jim?

JJ: I have been know to favour 4:4:2 but also like to play 4:3:3 and I think it will in fact be this formation that I will select for the majority of games next season but of course it could change from match to match.

At the end of the evening the Chairman announced that just under £800 had been raised for the Burns Unit at the BRI from donations at the door and this was increased by a further £500 from the auction of a Season Ticket for next season.


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