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Mark helps make the Bantams big in Japan
A Bantams’ fan in Tokyo is using the club’s Capital One Cup heroics, through Telegraph & Argus Bradford City match reports, to teach English to Japanese students.
Football-mad Mark Smith shows his pupils T&A reports of the club’s League Two and cup games as a “teaching aid”, meaning students are learning some of the language’s more unusual words courtesy of Bantams’ reporter Simon Parker.
New vocabulary picked up by Mark’s students could include Simon’s description of City’s cup cash as “Wembley wonga”, while they may tell their friends that the dip in Bantams’ league form is an “attack of the collywobbles” after reading his coverage.
Mark’s dad Dave Smith, 62, of Allerton, said: “His students know nothing about Manchester United or Arsenal, but they know all about Bradford City!
“Mark gets up to watch Bradford’s games online at 3am and then will get up for work the next morning, where he indoctrinates his students with reports from the T&A website.
“He’s always read the website before the papers come through my letterbox – you could say he’s Bradford City’s unofficial ambassador in Japan!”
Mark, 36, who moved to Japan from Bradford after visiting the country for the World Cup in 2004, will fly to Leeds Bradford Airport on Saturday, February 23, in time for City’s Wembley final against Premier League Swansea.
He has even been given permission from his wife, Azusa, to miss her birthday so he can be at the historic showdown.
Dave said: “He’s spent £1,000 to get across here and we’ve got tickets sorted.
“Whatever happens, we are history-makers. The game at Villa wasn’t fun to watch, but we’ve made it and this time round we can relax. Obviously it would be great to win, but the result doesn’t matter. It will be a fantastic day out.”
Bantams’ reporter Simon was surprised to learn his match coverage was being used to teach English, but added: “We used to have to learn Shakespeare at school so reading football reports – even mine – sounds a bit more fun.
“It’s quite flattering to be big in Japan... I’m like Man United!”