Bradshaw’s Back is the second instalment of Mason Bradshaw’s career. Make sure to read ‘Mega Project’ before you read this.
Mason is back in football management with Braintree with just eleven games to keep them up, and save the club. He was thrown in the deep end straight away playing Poole on the same day he was appointed!
Mason walked into Cressing Road and met the chairman where he announced his budget for the rest of the season, a 10k transfer fee that he couldn’t use as they were out of a transfer window, and a £6,448 per week wage budget, but the current wage bill is £5,909 so there was not much money left to make signings.
Mason went to meet his playing squad, and found that there is a real void of leadership in the squad so he has made a note to look for some veterans with good leadership skills, the mood in the camp is mixed, and managerial support is average.
Mason’s First Game
It was Mason’s first game back in management, and he was worried. In fact in a pre match interview with BBC Radio Essex. Mason said this about pre match nerves “To be honest with you, I’ve hardly slept a wink! I ended up taking the 5:34 train from Tower Hill instead of the 6:47am as planned because I couldn’t sleep at all!”
The media were curious to what tactic he would play at Braintree. During his spells at Ards and Stirling, he decided to keep it quite simple by playing 4-4-2, well after losing four in a row playing 3-5-1-1
Ex-England international, Emile Heskey said “Bradshaw really has the advantage over his opposite number. No one is sure what he will play or who he will play.”
However, former New York Red Bulls player John Wolyenic disagreed saying “I really don’t get why people are saying Mason Bradshaw has the advantage. He’s been in the job a day! He doesn’t know his best players how his players will fit into tactics!”
Braintree v Poole (H) – 24th February 2018
In the end Mason went for a 3-5-1-1 formation, returning to the formation he played during the early days at Stirling.
Braintree started the day in the bottom three, but knew a point on the could lift them out of it. The new era with Bradshaw got off to an ideal start in the fourth minute when Roman Michael-Percil scored a screamer to put The Irons one-nil up over Poole. Just after the 15th minute, Bradshaw was given a blow when striker Kairo Mitchell had to come off with an injury. Replaced with fellow striker Phillip Roberts, who just seven minutes later rounded the goalkeeper after a brilliant ball was played by the DM Billy Crook. Roberts slotted home with no questions… 2-0 to good!
However, the two goal cushion didn’t last for long as on the 28th minute, Poole pulled one back, with some poor defending from Braintree… Bradshaw was not pleased. Half Time came along with the score 2-1 to Braintree. Can they hold on for a huge win?
It was a very lackluster second half. Perhaps partly due to Bradshaw putting pretty much every Braintree player in his half to hold on to the lead. Braintree wrapped the match up with Roberts getting his second of the match, and making it 3-1 on the day. It got even better for The Irons a minute later as Roberts went through again and slotted it away getting his hat-trick and making it 4-1 to the Irons! A huge win for The Irons, and a perfect start for the Bradshaw era!
A New Assistant Manager
It was announced by the club, just a few hours after their 4-1 win. The current Assistant Manager, Andy Porter, would leave his post. Mason Bradshaw wanted to bring in his own backroom staff. It was reported that Bradshaw could go back to former clubs Ards and Stirling to get his backroom staff.
It didn’t end there though as minutes later, the club announced the new Assistant Manager. Andrew Smith, a friend and old colleague of Mason during his time at Tranmere working as a Youth Coach. Mason said this about the appointment, “Truth be told. I tried and tried to get Andy to join me up in Scotland then Ireland so many times. He didn’t want to move from home in Chesham, which I could understand.” Mason was then asked why Andrew decided to take him up on Braintree. Mason had a quick answer. “I think the answer is quite simple, like me, he can commute here every day, and doesn’t have to uproot. You wouldn’t know it. Andy is 70 so he can’t be moving around here there and everywhere, so this job was perfect for him. He’s here to the end of the season like me then we shall see what happens.”
Mega Project was a unique Football Manager experience. It featured Mason Bradshaw, a rookie manager who never played professionally. He attempted to climb the football leader from the first job to becoming a world class manager. Mega Project was something that was never been done before as we looked from all angles, from Mason himself, the clubs, his family and friends, colleagues and the world of football. Mason retired from football management but is now back. Mason’s journey continues in Bradshaw’s Back.