Saturday’s dismal 4-1 home defeat by Blackpool left Bradford City rooted to the bottom of League One, six points from safety with only seven matches left to save themselves from relegation.
The players were booed off the pitch at the final whistle by disgruntled supporters as the team failed to cash in on results elsewhere which saw six of the seven teams above them in the league suffer defeat.
It was the third loss on the bounce for the Bantams and left manager Gary Bowyer with only one victory from his first four games at the helm.
The defeat must have been particularly galling for Bowyer, who managed Blackpool for two seasons before he resigned in August 2018, and he pulled no punches in his post-match comments. The Tangerines boss was especially upset at how he felt his team’s heads dropped after a second-half penalty miss which would have brought them back into the game at 2-1.
He told the club’s official website ‘We got the penalty which changes the game if it is 2-1.’
‘Their goalkeeper made another very good save. After that moment, I am not having it.’
‘We have games left to fight, to show pride – individually and collectively – and pride for Bradford City.’
‘I have made the players very well aware of that. It wasn’t shown in the last period of the game.’
‘It was my fourth game. In the previous three games, I didn’t see it.’
‘Blackpool obviously had extra motivation today with me being in the opposite dugout, but I am not having it.’
‘I cannot accept that last 20 minutes’ stated an angered Bowyer.
Things are unlikely to get any easier for Bowyer with his team travelling to playoff-chasing Charlton Athletic for their next fixture.
Gary Bowyer is a respected manager who did an excellent job at Blackpool under challenging circumstances.
The parallels with the situation he now finds himself in at Bradford are apparent.
Bradford will need a similar rebuilding job as he did for Blackpool after their relegation into League Two in 2016, and he will once again have to do it working for owners that are unpopular with supporters.
From his post-match comments, it sounds like he has the stomach for it and his ability is proven.
However, the concern is the current regime at Bradford will not give him the time he will need to completely overhaul an underperforming squad, which from Bowyer’s comments, sounds like it is full of players with a bad attitude.