Australian Bantams fan flies 9,000 miles for Capital One Cup final (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Australian Bantams fan flies 9,000 miles for Capital One Cup final
In a house in Perth, Australia, there is a little piece of Bradford.
Anyone who visits the home of City fan Joanne Appleby, 47, who emigrated Down Under in 2006, will see a chair painted in authentic stadium paint, as well as a framed Bantams’ signed shirt on display.
The mum-of-one’s dedication to her hometown team will continue with a 9,000-mile, $1,800 trip to the UK for just four days to see Bradford’s Capital One Cup final against Wembley on Sunday, February 24.
Mrs Appleby, who will arrive in the country on the Friday before the game and leave the following Tuesday, said: “I can't quite believe I'm doing this, but the Bantams and Bradford are in my blood and although I feel nomadic having lived in a variety of places since leaving Bradford to study at 17, it’s where I will always call home.
“We were following City’s performance closely and just could not believe it when they knocked out Arsenal and got to the semi-finals.
“My husband said to me ‘you must go if they make it all the way’, but I didn't think he was serious – and I don’t think he thought they would beat Aston Villa over two legs!
“When they did, and we got over the shock, he was still supportive of me coming and I thought ‘why not’.
“The last time they were in a cup final it was 1911 so what is the chance in my lifetime of this happening again?
“Due to work commitments and childcare, I can only come for a short time, but its going to be fantastic to be part of this and to also see my family who I miss terribly.”
Mrs Appleby, sister of Incommunities’ chief executive Geraldine Howley, started supporting Bradford City at the age of 15 and continued to support them as she moved to Manchester and the Midlands.
“Memorable moments have to be City beating Wolves to go into the Premier League, especially as my husband Dave is a Wolves fan and we were in the Wolves end – so you can imagine the reaction of the crowd when I suddenly leapt out of my seat with elation!
“Then there was the play-off final against Notts County at Wembley for us to go up. To be there was just the best thing – and of course staying up and beating Liverpool.
“But apart from all the glory, Valley Parade is such a special place and as a club to have survived despite the tragic fire and the financial woes makes it such a fantastic place.
“I really miss those cold winter afternoons when the nights are drawing in and the dusk starts to close over the centre with the sound of the players and crowd in the background.”