Despite many of the regulars at Haigy’s in Manningham having made the trip down to Wembley to see the cup final first hand, Sunday afternoon still saw the pub full of people cheering on City, even though many were not being die hard supporters.
The Lumb Lane pub is a regular meeting place for fans headed to or back from nearby Valley Parade on match days, but even with most fans hundreds of miles away, dozens of people still flocked to the pub to watch the biggest game in Bradford’s history.
City fans mixed with Bradfordians who just wanted to show support for their home city, and although the scoreline broke hearts, the feeling was that the team had done Bradford proud.
One woman at the pub called the match a “once in a lifetime” experience for the city, and fans of Brighton, Leicester and even Leeds came together to hopefully watch history being made.
After a muted start, City were soon a goal down, but the crowd became energized in the hope they could pull one back. But going into half time two goals down, questions started to be asked about whether the team could rebound against their premiership opponents. David Bayley said: “I think that’s it, we just don’t seem to be getting any balls in.”
Bill Arnold said: “At the moment we are being outplayed. Unless they change tactics then we could be 4 or 5 nil down.”
Hopes for a second half turn around were soon scuppered as the score became 3-0 within minutes. Although obviously deflated, the crowd never stopped cheering on the team, although by this point it was realistically more in the hope they get a consolation goal than make a miraculous comeback.
A sending off and subsequent penalty turned the air blue and meant the writing was on the wall, but the support was there until the bitter end. There was even good humour in the face of adversity – at 4-0 down and with just 15 minutes left to play, one fan shouted: “I’d be happy with penalties now.”
Scenes of City supporters on their feet, waving flags of claret and amber in the stadium prompted applause, directed as much at the fans who made the pilgrimage to London as to the team.
After the match finished the crowd showed the same spirit as the supporters at Wembley, breaking out into a chant of “we’re proud of you.”
Post-match discussions around the bar might have pointed out a lack of possession and shots on target, but any criticism was begrudging, as most supporters realised the achievement of reaching a cup final and all the good it will do for both the team and the city.
Meanwhile in the City Vaults pub, in Hustlergate, Bradford, fans stood shoulder to shoulder to soak up the atmosphere and cheer on their team.
Life-long fans and general supporters of football remained upbeat throughout the match, clapping and chanting at the top of their voices.
Andy Forest, 50, said: “We had nothing to prove, it was just great to get this far in the first place. I actually found it very emotional. When I woke up this morning I was really excited that the day had come.”
Stuart Mitchell, 53, who is proud to say he has owned his City scarf since 1969, said: “I am disappointed we didn’t win but I am so proud we got there, it is just unfortunate we just didn’t perform on the day.
“The atmosphere in the pub was just brilliant. The only thing that did get to me was that not everyone clapped when it came to the 56th minute. I was actually at the ground on the day of the fire.”
At half time the atmosphere was still electric with fans remaining optimistic and chanting ‘I’m City til I die’.
Morae Chunda, 28, said: “The thing is with football you can never tell what is going to happen. We deserve to be at Wembley they are doing well. They are defending well.”
Speaking during the second half, as the outcome was becoming inevitable, Matthew Brook, 18, said: “We are still positive but it would be just be nice to get a goal back, our school friends are actually at the match, but the atmosphere in here is great.”
The celebratory mood continued after the final whistle and crowds cheered fellow supporters on the television as they waved their claret and amber flags.
Twin sisters Frances Rush and Helen Jackson, both 46, said they were general supporters of football. They said: “We are happy to be football fans today. Both teams did themselves proud and Bradford’s performance has put them on the map.
“You also have to give credit to Swansea, they were also an underdog but Bradford was even more so and pipped them to the post.”
Chris Metcalfe, 47, said: “They did really well. You can’t complain. It has been a brilliant atmosphere.”
Simon Kennedy, 38, said: “It is just a great moment for Bradford and for the fans of the city, I think we should be very proud of the team, it doesn’t really matter about the result.”
Spiwe Zungu, 38, said: “I absolutely love Bradford City and wish them all the best and am extremely proud of all the players.”