Bradford City owner Edin Rahic tells Sky Sports News that having a winning mentality is the key to success in football
Edin Rahic has only owned Bradford City for less than 18 months, but it’s already been a rollercoaster.
The German, along with business partner Stefan Rupp, took over the club in May last year, and there are already plenty of stories to tell. Starting right from the very beginning.
“It was a tough start,” he told Sky Sports News. “We had eight players on contracts and no coach after two weeks. But it was a great journey and unbelievably we reached Wembley. We played good football but in the end you need a little bit of luck, which we didn’t get. But it’s really hard to see [the winning Millwall goal] as an advert on Sky Bet!
“It was still a successful season but we didn’t reach our icing on the cake.”
Rahic, who is based near Valley Parade as he oversees the day-to-day running of the club, admits he didn’t expect to reach Wembley in their first season. Another thing he wasn’t expecting was the reaction back home after he and Rupp became the first German owners of an English club. Such was the interest, in fact, that a German TV company have made a documentary charting his first year at Bradford.
“Stefan and I never thought about it, but in Germany it was a real story,” he said. “The whole first year had so many stories to tell which I think made our documentary really interesting to look behind the scenes and help Bradford City and football fans understand some decisions.
“It’s easy to read in the papers that Bradford have signed and sold managers and players, but it [helps] to understand that it’s more than just the football club who can decide. There are players, agents and other groups with interest who have a say in it.”
Highlights from the Sky Bet League One fixture between Portsmouth and Bradford
Bradford City in general are one of the more intriguing clubs currently plying their trade in Sky Bet League One. Affordable schemes set up by the previous owners have built a platform for nearly 20,000 season-ticket holders to come through the gates at Valley Parade every week. Rahic was in full support of the scheme when he came in, and has doubled down to try and continue the good work. A packed, boisterous stadium with happy fans is clearly his priority.
“We’ve sold shirt numbers we’ve never sold before, something like 16,000, and we had 18,000 season-ticket holders,” he said. “Now coming back this season we sold 19,000 tickets and I think we’ll sell more shirts.
“If you’re successful but have an empty stadium, are you really successful? No. You want a packed stadium regardless of what league you’re in. So the former owners made the right decision to start with this affordable tickets campaign. We’re there to have an event and have fun on a Saturday, so now if you have a 20,000 crowd there and it’s an exciting game and it’s loud and noisy, it’s brilliant.”
Rahic has said in the past that he’d even offer £1 tickets to supporters if Bradford reached the Premier League, and he believes the price of attending a top-flight game is too high.
“The funny thing is it’s not a massive debate,” he continued. “I was just at my barber and he said he had terrible tickets for Manchester City v Arsenal for £70. Everybody has to ask themselves as an owner if this is the right thing. We want to have a packed stadium and if they pay £1 [for tickets] they will pay more for beer and shirts. At the end I think it’s the same from a commercial point of view but [the fans] love it and the other clubs would understand this makes sense.”
Ticket prices are not the only thing that differs between English football and German football. Rahic admits he also had to get used to some other cultural clashes – particularly some key mentality issues.
“That’s probably the difference between German and English culture in World Cups and European Cups,” he said. “I don’t think the Germany players and teams are better, they just believe in it more and they show that confidence on the pitch. We go out to win.
“I see that every day and I have to convince the people that if you don’t believe in something you can’t reach it. If you go on the pitch against a good team in League One, like Blackburn, and you draw and say it’s a good result… No! You have to to go out to win, then if at the end it’s a draw then fine.
“The German team showed that [at the last World Cup] when they played Brazil in Brazil, if you’re not confident you’ll get battered, and we won 7-1. That showed me they believed in it. This is the culture Stefan and I want to bring to Bradford.”
And what’s next for the Bantams?
“The club and city are big enough for the Premier League,” said Rahic. “But you have to work hard and get to the next step first. I think the difference between League One and the Championship is the biggest in the world, but it is within reach.
“Then we have to steady the ship there and prepare to take the next step.”