Bradford City on… LMA MANAGER (LMA 2000 #1)


Bradford City was rocked by a financial takeover in the summer of 1999. Their first season in the Premier League came with the added £500 million influx of cash pumped into the club. Two stands of Valley Parade were instantly knocked down and the entire team was sold for a combined £21m. The new owner had his rules: players over the age of 25 couldn’t be signed and Paul Jewell was to stay at the club.

The aim was for European football and Jewell had no say in transfers, only team management, although some speculated that he had no say on tactics either.

Defensively, it was fairly obvious that the inexperience of a unit including the likes of Brown, Dunne, Christanval, Woodgate, Ferdinand et al weren’t good enough to keep clean sheets. By the time of City’s first loss in the season, a 2-1 loss at Anfield, they had yet to keep a clean sheet. Bradford were floating around the Champions League places (top 3 in 1999/2000), but the loss at Anfield and a further loss at Old Trafford had knocked them to fifth in time for the new millennium.

They were out of the cups by the beginning of 2000 and seven points from as many games in February and March left them in a three way battle with West Ham and Liverpool for two UEFA Cup spots. Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Manchester United had streaked ahead to gain Champions League places before May. Goals from Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen overturned a deficit at home to Liverpool. They thwarted Liverpool from entering the UEFA Cup and finished fourth in the process.



1-1    Middlesbrough               Rankin                               PL [A]

2-1    Sheffield Wednesday      Owen, Anelka                    PL [H]

3-1    Watford                           Heskey 2, Owen                PL [A]

2-2    Arsenal                            Owen, Heskey                   PL [A]

1-1    West Ham                       Owen                                 PL [H]         6th


1-1    Tottenham Hotspur          Heskey                             PL [H]

2-1    Queens Park Rangers        Anelka, Owen                  LC [H]

2-1    Aston Villa                         Anelka, Owen                  PL [A]

2-1    Queens Park Rangers        Anelka, Denilson, Owen   LC [A]

3-1    Derby County                    Anelka 2, Heskey             PL [A]         3rd


2-2    Sunderland                        Owen 2                            PL [H]

3-1    Derby County                    Owen 2, Kewell                 LC [H]

2-1    Wimbledon                        Heskey 2                          PL [A]

1-1    Leicester City                     Giggs                                PL [H]         4th


1-2    Liverpool                           Heskey                             PL [A]

2-2    Coventry City                    Anelka, Owen                    PL [H]

2-1    Leeds United                   Anelka, Giggs                     PL [A]

2-1    Chelsea                             Anelka 2                            PL [A]        5th


1-2    Ipswich Town                  Owen                                  LC [A]

3-2    Middlesbrough               Anelka, Owen 2                  PL [H]

1-2    Chelsea                           Owen                                  FA [A]

2-1    Newcastle United           Owen 2                               PL [H]

0-2    Manchester United                                                    PL [A]

2-1    Everton                            Owen, Ferdinand               PL [H]          4th


2-1    Southampton                  Owen 2                             PL [A]

1-0    Sheffield Wednesday       Owen                               PL [A]

0-1    Watford                                                                    PL [H]           3rd


0-1    Arsenal                                                                      PL [H]

2-1    West Ham United            Owen 2                             PL [A]

2-1    Chelsea                           Owen, Denilson                 PL [H]

0-1    Aston Villa                                                                 PL [H]           4th


1-1    Tottenham Hotspur          Heskey                             PL [A]

2-3    Leeds United                   Owen, Heskey                  PL [H]

2-2    Coventry City                   Heskey, Owen                  PL [A]

1-1    Manchester United          Heskey                             PL [H]            4th


1-1    Newcastle United           Heskey                            PL [A]

3-1    Southampton                Owen 2, Stankovic          PL [H]

1-3    Everton                          Owen                              PL [A]

1-1    Derby County               Owen                              PL [H]

1-0    Sunderland                   Owen                              PL [A]

1-1    Wimbledon                  Dyer                                PL [H]               4th



2-2    Leicester City              Anelka, Owen                   PL [A]

2-1    Liverpool                    Anelka, Owen                    PL [H]               4th


IN: Steve Simonsen (£3m – Everton), Philippe Christanval (£5.5m – Monaco), Wes Brown (£5m – Man Utd), Richard Dunne (£2.5m – Everton), Dejan Stankovic (Free – Lazio), Igor Tudor (£5.35m – Juventus), Dario Simic (£6.8m – Inter), Steed Malbranque (£5.3m – Lyon), Xavi (£5.1m – Barcelona), Damien Duff (£4.65m – Blackburn), Alessandro Nesta (£6.55m – Lazio), Sol Campbell (£11.4m – Tottenham), Michael Owen (£21.5m – Liverpool), Emile Heskey (£16.5m – Leicester), Nicolas Anelka (£14.5m – Real Madrid), Ryan Giggs (£12.4m – Man Utd), Gianluigi Buffon (£5.4m – Parma), Denilson (£12.4m – Real Betis), Kieron Dyer (£6m – Newcastle), Jonathan Woodgate, Rio Ferdinand, Harry Kewell (£23.4 combined – all Leeds), Stephane Dalmat (£6.95m – Marseille)

OUT: Matt Clarke, Gary Walsh, Gunnar Halle, David Wetherall, Andy O’Brien, Wayne Jacobs, Ashley Westwood, Andy Myers, Lee Todd, Darren Moore, Lee Sharpe, Neil Redfearn, Peter Beagrie, Lee Mills, Dean Windass, John Dreyer, Dean Saunders, Stuart McCall, Gareth Whalley, Isaiah Rankin, Robbie Blake





The jig was up. The big names were coming to Valley Parade. The 118,000 all-seater stadium was up and built by the time the 2001/02 season would be coming but to make that stadium worthwhile, Champions League football was needed. Paul Jewell had nine months or he would face the chop. Still, UEFA Cup football was coming to West Yorkshire.

The likes of Ronaldo as well as poaching back to back Treble winners Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham bolstered Bradford hugely by Christmas. Frank Lampard, Michel Salgado and William Gallas came in as seven players who had come to Bradford the summer previously were now gone.

Whilst it took City until November to lose a game last season, they opened the season with a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough. Michael Owen followed that up with a hat-trick at Goodison Park. The pressure was on Paul Jewell. Bradford City found themselves 19th by All Hallows’ Eve. That sprung the aforementioned transfers.

They had an instant effect, Ronaldo scoring twice in a 4-2 UEFA Cup win over Kosice. The 19th place of December was turned into third by the end of January 2001. Michael Owen netted seven in the space of three games in November whilst Ronaldo’s constant form – 13 goals in 15 games around December and January had improved Bradford City significantly.

They had a League Cup final against Manchester United to look forward to as well as a UEFA Cup campaign to return to in March. Unfortunately, the League Cup final would end in defeat in penalties but the European campaign kept chuntering on. Olympiakos and Schalke were dispatched but a semi-final against Auxerre was a step too far, losing 5-3 on aggregate. The season wasn’t over yet, though, wins over Liverpool and Man Utd were needed to secure Champions League football. A win over Liverpool coupled with a Middlesbrough loss to Derby County secured third place. Ronaldo and Michael Owen had struck gold – 84 goals between them in 95 matches in all competitions.


1-2    Middlesbrough              Owen                              PL [H]

3-1    Everton                          Owen 3                           PL [A]

1-1    Wimbledon                   Owen                              PL [A]

2-2    Chelsea                         Heskey, Owen                 PL [H]

1-1    Leeds United                 Heskey                            PL [H]      11th


2-2    Newcastle United          Heskey 2                          PL [A]

1-3    Derby County                Heskey                            PL [H]

2-1    Kosice                            Kewell, Heskey                UC [H]

1-2    Tottenham Hotspur       Owen                              PL [A]

0-1    West Ham United                                                 PL [H]       16th


4-2    Kosice                           Giggs, Ronaldo 2, Owen     UC [A]

2-1    Coventry City                Ronaldo, Denilson              PL [A]

4-1    Norwich City                 Kewell, Owen 2, Ronaldo    LC [A]

0-1    Liverpool                                                                  PL [H]

1-1    Vitoria de Guimaraes   Ronaldo                              UC [H]

1-2    Manchester United      Owen                                   PL [A]     19th


3-2    Watford                       Owen 2, Ronaldo                PL [H]

3-2    Vitoria de Guimaraes   Owen 3                              UC [A]

2-1    Birmingham City          Owen 2                              PL [A]

1-0    Aston Villa                   Anelka                                 PL [H]

3-1    Stuttgart                     Owen, Kewell, Ronaldo        UC [H]      12th


1-1    Everton                       Ronaldo                              PL [H]

2-1    Coventry City              Ronaldo, Denilson              LC [A]

1-0    Middlesbrough           Owen                                  PL [A]

1-1    Stuttgart                      Ronaldo                              UC [A]

1-2    Coventry City               Owen                                  FA [H]

2-1    Blackburn Rovers         Ronaldo, Beckham              LC [A]

2-0    Ipswich Town               Owen, Ronaldo                    PL [H]

2-2    Arsenal                        Giggs, Beckham                   PL [H]       9th


2-1    Leicester City               Beckham, Ronaldo               PL [A]

2-1    Bolton Wanderers        Owen, Ronaldo                    PL [H]

3-2    Leeds United               Ronaldo 2, Owen                  LC [A]

2-1    Wimbledon                  Owen 2                                PL [H]

1-0    Chelsea                        Ronaldo                               PL [A]

4-1    Leeds United               Ronaldo 2, Owen, Denilson  LC [H]     3rd


2-2    Tottenham Hotspur      Denilson, Owen                    PL [H]

3-0    Leeds United                 Owen, Ronaldo, Beckham   PL [A]

2-1    Newcastle United          Ronaldo 2                           PL [H]

2-2    Bolton Wanderers         Owen 2                               PL [A]    3rd


2-2    Manchester United       Ronaldo, Heskey                 LC [N]

3-1    Olympiakos                   Ronaldo 2, Owen                UC [H]

2-2    Derby County               Ronaldo, Owen                    PL [A]

3-1    Olympiakos                   Beckham, Ronaldo 2           UC [A]

2-1    Aston Villa                     Owen, Ronaldo                   PL [A]

3-2    Schalke                          Owen, Ronaldo, Beckham   UC [A]

2-1    Birmingham City            Owen 2                               PL [H]

1-1    Schalke                          Owen                                  UC [A]

1-2    Arsenal                          Owen                                  PL [A]        3rd


1-1    Ipswich Town               Denilson                              PL [H]

1-3    Auxerre                        Ronaldo                              UC [A]

1-1    Leicester City               Ronaldo                              PL [H]

2-2    Auxerre                        Beckham, Owen                 UC [H]

2-0    West Ham United        Owen, Ronaldo                   PL [A]

3-1    Coventry City              Ronaldo, Kewell, Owen        PL [H]        3rd


2-1    Liverpool                    Ronaldo 2                             PL [A]

3-0    Manchester United    Giggs, Ronaldo 2                  PL [H]

2-1    Watford                      Owen 2                                PL [A]

IN: Ronaldo (£35m – Inter), Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham (£40m combined – Man Utd), Michel Salgado (£9.6m – Real Madrid), Frank Lampard (£11.4m – West Ham), William Gallas (£9m – Marseille)

OUT: Dario Simic (£5m – Barcelona), Steed Malbranque (£3.5m – Vitesse), Wes Brown (£4.7m – Chelsea), Stephane Dalmat (£4.7m – Nott’m Forest), Philippe Christanval (£5m – Celta Vigo), Steve Simonsen (£2m – Man City), Richard Dunne (£1.75m – Stockport)

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