Date: 29th April 2009 at 8:26am
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The wait for Stuart’s decision continues after the announcement was put off until Thursday following the news that next season’s playing budget will be significantly reduced from its current levels.

Widely believed to be among the highest in League Two, Stuart McCall’s war chest of £1.9m is shedding somewhere between a third and a half (depending on your source).

Such a bombshell has clearly given the Bradford City manager new reasons to be pondering his future. As we all know Stuart said that if we missed the playoffs he would have failed and no longer deserve to continue at the helm of his beloved club. However, Saturday’s outpouring of support, internal and external, appeared to confound that logic and a reconsideration looked inevitable.

We’re still waiting for the announcement because of new questions about the resources available. The constraints which Stuart would face should he remain at the club look difficult for an expensive squad pulled together with the single aim of promotion.

That dream is gone but a number of the under achieving big names are not. Some of them have clauses in their contracts allowing them to leave if promotion is not achieved. But however we might like to bid farewell to some of them is that a likely outcome? In these straitened times, those thirty somethings are actually unlikely to invoke a clause that sees them miss out on lucrative contracts and enter a job market with the most recent entry on their CVs being a hugely disappointing failure. Not only that but 18 others are out of contract at season’s end making a summer of rebuilding all but inevitable.

According to Mark Lawn, who insists that the budget will remain in the top 8 for the league, the implications of the high earners could be ‘a recipe for disaster’. Speaking to the Telegraph and Argus he said ‘with the budget how it’s going to be, if we kept them all we’d only have about six players. We wouldn’t be able to afford any more pros, only kids’.

So, Wednesday will be spent asking the players about their intentions. It will see people with contracts asked if they mind a changing of goalposts. The outcome will identify those in it for themselves, the mercenaries who have gladly taken the club’s money, failed to deliver and will now either jump ship into an uncertain future or sit out their contract interested only in how much they’re earning and not really in seeing Stuart stay.

Today will shape next year more than any summer activity and it will have a bigger impact than what Stuart ultimately decides to do. The indications are that he will stay but if he doesn’t it seems that would be a decision based more on the budget to work with rather than the failure to make the playoffs. And doing that could change everything in the minds of those who begged him to stay.

What is certain is that this is no way to prepare for Stuart’s 100th game on Saturday which could see the last appearances for many a current Bantam or their manager.