Bradford City have confirmed that the exclusivity period agreement with Gianni Paladini has ended without a deal being completed.
After weeks of speculation and gossip, we are pretty much back to where we were, barring a rather worrying managerial issue. What many people predicted would happen has happened in the light of Paladini’s previous takeover endeavours at Birmingham City, Port Vale, Millwall and Forest. The myriad questions about Mr Paladini’s intentions and financial clout have come to this - an announcement at midnight saying ‘no deal’. Back to bed everyone.
The sticking point seems to be a fairly fundamental one. With a major backer of Paladini evidently pulling out, it seems Paladini was left without the necessary funds required to take over the club. Promises of wealth are very intoxicating, but they need careful examination too. Upon such examination, it seems Paladini falls some way short.
If you speak to some QPR fans about Paladini or watch ‘The Four Year Plan’ you will understand why people had concerns about him taking over at the helm. As Chairman at Loftus Road, Signor Paladini was a key figure in a set-up that at times appeared to resemble the Massimo Cellino-inspired mess at Leeds United. A perceived culture of hiring and firing, stories involving being held at gunpoint, alleged boardroom coups. Not endearing stuff.
“Thank you” you might scream at the news then. Not all will. Despite the shortcomings of Paladini's bid, it is argued in some quarters that change is needed. For many, new ownership represents a chance to establish City as something other than a lower league side. Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn have said that they “will continue to run the Club as they have being doing, planning to take Bradford City forward into the new season at an exciting time for the Club and its supporters." That isn't good enough for many who argue that we cannot get into the Championship and establish ourselves under the current ownership. Even the owners themselves seem to have suggested that.
Under the current administration, the financial reality is that things are likely to be always on a knife-edge. A good cup run equals a budget surplus, whereas being dumped out in the early stages means selling players. Julian Rhodes summed it up perfectly when he said: “That's the way of life at Bradford.” That way of life remains the way for now. That way of life has seen fantastic progress and development over the past few years too remember, but the big question is can it continue?
There will be much gnashing of teeth over this Paladini news. Personally I’m pleased. Due diligence has shown that Mr Paladini was not in a position to take over our club. Until he is, he can stay well away. The same applies to anybody who wants to take over our club.
Hopefully we can now get on with sorting contracts, signings, and squad issues - important matters which have stalled in recent weeks. As the talks with Paladini have rumbled on, other clubs have got on with business. Such inertia can only be a hindrance to City, particularly during such an important close season. We need to refocus on things like Jon Stead. New faces. The current squad. And Phil Parkinson. Hopefully the Paladini news will have brought a smile to Parkinson’s face. It must have been hugely unsettling for the manager to read about new owners and potential Directors of Football. An announcement that Parkinson is staying? Now that is worth staying up for.