Bradford City fire survivor flies 11,600 miles from California to cheer on heroes (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City fire survivor flies 11,600 miles from California to cheer on heroes
A Bradford City fire survivor who travelled from California to watch the club’s Capital One Cup semi-final victory against Aston Villa said his 11,600-mile round trip was “worth every penny”.
Philip Ideson, 34, who fled the stadium blaze which claimed the life of 56 fans in 1985, spent £1,500 on a trip from Orange County to Valley Parade to cheer on Phil Parkinson’s giant killers as they beat the Premier League side 3-1.
They put themselves within 90 minutes of a historic Wembley final in the first leg of the tie on Tuesday.
The former season ticket holder of 20 years, who grew up in Skipton, decided to book tickets for the hotly-anticipated clash after watching the Bantams beat Arsenal 3-2 on penalties to book their place in the competition’s semi-finals.
Speaking after the game, he said: “It was worth every penny. The experience was priceless!
“It was so surreal seeing Valley Parade full – I’ve never heard noise like it.
“When we scored the first goal it felt amazing being there to look around and soak up the atmosphere.
“Even if it hadn’t gone our way, just being in that atmosphere would have been worth the trip!”
Mr Ideson, who moved to America in 2005, flew to Heathrow last Sunday night and stayed with an Aston Villa-supporting friend in Bristol, before making the trip to Bradford together on Tuesday.
He is staying with family in the Cross Hills area and was catching the Bantams’ League Two match against Oxford United today before flying back home on Sunday.
While he said he started looking at flights for a potential Wembley final on Sunday, February 24, he spoke of his disappointment at missing Bantams’ vital away trip at Villa Park in the second leg of the tie later this month.
“It is going to be really hard watching it at home. It’s always hard watching it on television and I’m really disappointed I won’t be there,” Mr Ideson, a procurement manager, said. “I’ve booked the day off work though. The match begins at 11.45am our time, so I’m going to make a day of it and dress the dogs up in Bradford scarves like I did for the Arsenal game!
“I don’t want to tempt fate, but I have taken a look to see if flights are available for the final. It’s looking promising, but I won’t be booking anything until it’s a done deal.
“A trip to Wembley would be incredible!”
Mr Ideson, who was involved with the supporters trust in the 1990s, said he had been a Bantams fan since he was six or seven.
“My third game was the fire. We were sat in that stand and managed to get out.
“We didn’t go back for a while, until it was rebuilt and had season tickets from then.
“I moved to America in 2005 and since then I’ve tried to come back for a few games. Last year I worked in the UK quite a bit, so managed to watch around ten games.
“But we weren’t playing this well!”