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Ian Ormondroyd interview

Melissa Wharton talks community and silly money with a Bantams legend

Published on February 21st 2011.


Ian Ormondroyd interview

It's been a season to forget on the pitch for the Bantams so far, but that hasn't stopped the Bradford City FC Community Foundation.

‘I’m very disappointed with the lack of funding for people who work on the ground, such as us; especially with the fortunes of the Premier League and the amount the FA pay some of its high-end staff. Transfer fees and wages the top of the game are ridiculous.’

In conjunction with Bradford Council's Sport and Leisure Service, former City player Ian Ormondroyd has got the wheels in motion. Ian started his playing career at Valley Parade and is helping give something back to the community and schools of the district, proving that football isn't all about bulging bank balances, flashy cars and champagne. Confidential caught up with the community manager and legend to find out more.

Confidential: As a player of the beautiful game, it's easy to get lost in all the showbiz and glitz associated with football. What made you get involved with the project?
IO: I’d just retired from playing due to an injury. The team at Bradford approached me and asked if I would like to get involved with a community scheme, as the person in charge wanted to leave. I enjoyed the work so much, I decided to take the job full-time and thought my input could increase all the work that was going on."

C: Why did the Foundation start up and what does it hope to achieve?
"It was started as Football in the Community in 1988. The aim was to increase football participation and attendances at matches for young people - football sessions in schools and during holidays. Since then it’s expanded massively and we provide services not only for children, but people of all ages, genders and disabilities."

C: Why do you think it is an important part of the Bantams and the community as a whole?
"The Foundation has probably trebled in size since we got charitable status over three years ago. Our work is very varied and provides sporting opportunities for all. We provide things for different groups from all age ranges and diverse backgrounds. As a non-profit organisation, we can work with the right people and for the right reasons."

C: Where do you go from here?
IO: "We'll continue to provide as many varied activities as possible and improve the health and lives of as many people as we can. In turn we'll hopefully increase the fan base of our great club."

C: You see an awful lot of raw talent then. Has this led to unearthing any budding stars of the future?
"Yes, we recommend players that we see in schools and on holiday courses to the club via the Centre of Excellence. Quite a few players currently in the system have been suggested by us."

C: There’s so much money in the game, does any of it filter down to you and your team?
IO: “I’m very disappointed with the lack of funding for people who work on the ground, such as us; especially with the fortunes of the Premier League and the amount the FA pay some of its high-end staff. Transfer fees and wages the top of the game are ridiculous. I think there will have to be a maximum wage or a ceiling on the player budget that a club has. UEFA is bringing in some sort of budget so that clubs have to be more prudent in what they pay in wages."

C: So hopefully some of that cash will make its way down at some point. Until then, where do you go from here?
IO: "Hopefully we can expand and streamline the work we are doing at the moment. We’ve got quite a large scheme so we need to be wary of not getting too big and concentrate on improving the work we do and specialising in the quality of our football provision."

C: You have been a great servant to the game; what have been your career highs and lows?
IO: "From a football playing point of view, I played at Wembley four times. I won there with Leicester but the highlight would have to be winning there with Bradford, who I’ve always supported, so that was special. The lows would be retiring fairly early at 33, and the abuse I used to receive from fans. I feel lucky I’ve a job that I like and I can control. I like being able to shape the way the Community Foundation goes forward."

C: Finally, it's been a difficult season for the Bantams; what does the future hold for Bradford City on and off the pitch?
IO: “Off the field, from the community point of view, we’re doing a lot of work with different groups and currently have a thriving disability club who play in a league run by West Riding County FA. It's called the Ability Counts League and we’ve got four teams entered.

"Obviously on the field it’s been a disappointing season so far, hopefully we can string together some consecutive wins to try and get somewhere near the play off positions. If not, we need to look to next season and try and push for promotion.”

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