Catlin: Pompey must learn from Bradford

Mark Catlin believes lessons need to be learnt from Bradford City.

Saturday, 11th June 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:58 pm
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues chief executive feels Pompey can benefit from looking at what has unfolded at Valley Parade in recent seasons.

Catlin feels much can be garnered from the Bantams’ battles in League Two.

And that can help his club to become more successful.

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Next season will be Pompey’s fourth in League Two.

It’s undoubtedly been a longer stay in the Football League’s basement division than most anticipated.

But it pales compared to the six seasons Bradford had in League Two after a similar fall from grace.

A succession of different managers tried and failed to get the club moving,

But it was only when Bradford kept faith with Phil Parkinson after almost being relegated they began to move forward.

And that was in spectacular style as they reached the League Cup final and gained promotion in the same season.

Catlin said: ‘I go back continually to Bradford. They were a big club in League Two and they were there for six years.

‘In that time they didn’t even make the play-offs.

‘It was only in the final year they did it.

‘I remember speaking to the chief executive who is now chief executive at Burnley.

‘He consistently said to me, the biggest problem he had at Bradford was the weight of expectation.

‘What that weight of expectation does is create pressure and that pressure continually leads to change.

‘Bradford didn’t get promoted and changed. Didn’t get promoted and changed. Didn’t get promoted and changed.

‘The year they achieved promotion, Phil Parkinson finished 18th the previous season.

‘They nearly got relegated into the Conference after five years in League Two.

‘They decided to keep changing was not the answer and the following year they made the League Cup final and got promoted via the play-offs!

‘There are lessons to be learnt there and we have to learn these lessons.’

Catlin feels it’s important to look at how Bradford got it right and benefit from their experience.

He said: ‘Just because we are Portsmouth doesn’t give us a divine right to get promoted, just as it didn’t give Bradford a divine right.

‘That’s where we have to learn the lessons from history.

‘If we don’t learn from history we’ll keep making the same mistakes.

‘Phil Parkinson was still there until this week and how long’s it been? Five seasons?

‘He was one of the longest-serving managers

‘They’ve gone over a period of four or five years to nearly getting relegated to the Conference to nearly getting promoted to the Championship.

‘So there has been massive improvement there, and, in my opinion that has come as a result of stability and not making knee-jerk decisions.’