Thursday, 7 February 2013

London Calling

The Bantams Are Going To Wembley. Can't Believe It? Neither Can I.

City's triumph prompted wild celebrations
   If probably sounds clichéd, but if, two years ago, you had told me that Bradford City would be busy gearing up for a League Cup final, battling for promotion and capturing the imagination of the British public, I wouldn’t have believed you.
   I wasn’t ever too negative about the Bantams, but I could have never have envisaged such a great run of form for the club. I’d dreamed about getting to the play-offs, of course, but never thought that those hopes would materialise. Peter Taylor’s dismal reign made sure of that.
  Yet, now, we’re going to Wembley. I just keep pinching myself.
   I’m just absorbed by the hype, drama and emotion that surround City’s monumental feat. I love opening national newspapers to find a two-page spread on Matt Duke, and watching Alan Connell and Carl McHugh on Soccer AM was just brilliant. I’m completely gripped by cup fever, and I’m loving every second of it.
   It’s not just me: the whole City has turned claret and amber. You can’t walk around the town centre without being reminded of the impending clash, as there are scarf sellers everywhere-not to mention the posters offering the chance to scoop tickets.
   I am slightly irritated about the so-called “one day” City fans, though. Although they help to generate more income for the club, which will be superb in the long-term, it is annoying to hear people brag about how “We’re going to Wembley” when they have no idea who Nathan Doyle, James Meredith and Luke Oliver are. The strangest thing is how passionate some of the plastic fans at my school are becoming: one allegedly compiled a list of all of the Bantams games that he’s been to and emailed it to his critics. I’ve almost developed a pastime of mentioning a Gary Jones free kick and subsequently watching their faces puzzle over what I’ve just said. They often have no idea what I’m going on about.
   However, it’s not something that I’m going to lose sleep over. Next season, when many of these ‘fans’ will be sat at home watching Soccer Saturday, we’ll be the ones celebrating, safe in the knowledge that our club are in no danger of administration as they compete in League One. Moreover, though, we’ve had to endure years of decline and heartbreak, so February 24th is going to mean more to us than it ever will to them.
   I talk to people about Wembley every day, yet the magnitude of the whole thing – Bradford City in a LEAGUE CUP FINAL – is still sinking in. The enormity of the achievement is something that I’m struggling to comprehend; humble City, a club who I have seen lose to Accrington Stanley and Crewe Alexandra, beating three Premier League teams and securing a place in the history books. I mean, fair enough if it was some other underdogs-maybe Barnsley, who had that notable F.A. Cup run in 2008-but not Bradford City. Things like this just don’t happen to our club. We’re not inundated with things to celebrate.
   And that’s partly what makes this cup run so spectacular. It involves our club, our club who, for so long, have had so little to shout about.  We’ve conquered three teams from the Premier League and will be marching to Wembley on February 24th. It’s more than what many of us would ever have dared to hope for.
   Going to Wembley?
   See you there.

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