It was a remarkable 2013 for Bradford City FC – reaching a major cup final and winning promotion from League Two. And a Spen man had more than a hand in the club’s success.
Scholes-based sports psychologist John Muranka has been credited with helping to get the best out of some of City’s star performers, such as James Hanson, Nahki Wells and Carl McHugh.
John, right, moved into coaching in 2003, providing counselling and therapy sessions to businesspeople.
His involvement with the The Bantams started in 2010 when he was asked by then-manager Peter Taylor to help improve the form of first-teamers Hanson and Luke Oliver.
Phil Parkinson retained Mr Muranka’s services when he became boss in 2011. Hanson soon rediscovered his goalscoring touch and Oliver won the club’s player of the year award.
John, a City supporter since childhood, said the thrill of seeing his work in action gave him double the satisfaction.
He said: “To have seen the team do so well was brilliant both professionally and personally. I think my highlight of last season was watching James Hanson’s goal against Aston Villa. That was just fantastic.
“I am just a small part in what they do at City, and I am delighted that Phil Parkinson is so supportive of what I do with the players.”
John, whose practice is based at his home in Tabbs Lane, has also been credited by Zavon Hines and Carl McHugh – two stars of last season’s cup run – for helping improve their form. He also had a hand in the development of Huddersfield Town’s record signing Nahki Wells during the Bermudan’s early days at City. He said: “Nahki is someone who has an inner confidence and I noticed that quite early on.
“The lads are a great bunch to work with, and there are no big egos in the way. Nahki was no different – he has a quiet confidence in himself. I liked Nahki and enjoyed working with him – I wish him all the best at Huddersfield.”
As for the future, John remains confident the team can turn around their faltering fortunes.
He said: “I think the secret to performing well is that you have to be relaxed. When you’re worried about not doing well, your body tends to prepare you for failure, but when you’re relaxed, your talents can shine through.”
“For Bradford City at the moment, I think it’s a case of just turning draws into wins,” he said. “They just need to remain positive, and the results will come.