Bantams fans still have much to crow about
Bradford City’s historic, fairy-tale trip to Wembley ended in heartache as they were emphatically beaten by Swansea City in the Capital One League Cup final.
The Premier League side were ruthless in the manner in which they swatted aside the Bantams, winning 5-0.
Nathan Dyer scored twice, Spanish striker Michu hit the net and Jonathan De Guzman put the icing on the cake with a double, his first a penalty that resulted in Bradford goalkeeper Matt Duke being sent off.
Bradford had defied the odds to reach the showpiece final, having been 10,000-1 at the outset of the competition back in August to reach Wembley.
Six rounds and three Premier League scalps in the guise of Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa later, they were 4-1 with some bookmakers yesterday to cause another upset against the Welsh side.
In reaching that stage, Bradford became the first side from the fourth tier to reach a major final at the national stadium and their progress was watched eagerly by the tens of thousands who made the journey to Wembley, and tens of thousands more who watched at home or in pubs around the city.
But Michael Laudrup’s Swans proved too strong for a side that was ranked 71 places below them in the football pyramid.
Despite the result, it was still declared a grand day out for the League Two club, their supporters and the city itself.
Thirty-five thousand fans followed the Bantams to Wembley for their first appearance in a major final since winning the FA Cup in 1911. among them ex-pats from Australia, Japan and the United States. In the royal box, Yvonne Lawn took her seat beside husband and Bradford’s joint-chairman Mark, just a month after undergoing a cancer operation.
Before kick-off, Bradford fans unfurled a large flag that read “Always Remember” on it in memory of the 56 people who lost their lives in the Bradford City stadium fire on May 11, 1985.
That was the darkest day in the history of Bradford City Football Club. Yesterday, despite the result, was one of the proudest.
Speaking as he made the journey back up north, Bradford East MP David Ward said: “It was a wonderful day, especially on Wembley Way where there were thousands of supporters.
“Obviously the result didn’t go our way but we’re proud of the team for getting here and proud of ourselves too. With 30 minutes to go, you’d have though we were 5-0 up ourselves.
“I think seeing the underdog do so well and come so far has been a spark not just for the club but for the whole district.”