Bradford is enjoying its own Olympic spirit in the afterglow of the Capital One Cup, according to the director of a think tank.
Sunder Katwala, of integration think tank British Future, said the question now was what to do with the city’s surge in pride and unity.
Mr Katwala was hosting a seminar called ‘Beyond Wembley’, looking at the legacy of the Bantams’ extraordinary journey to the cup final.
He said: “We came here to find out what happens after this. Do you wait for another hundred years for another cup final, or does something happen in this moment?”
Jason McKeown, editor of Bradford City fan website The Width of a Post, said it had been “phenomenal” to see the whole city embrace its local team.
He said while some supporters hadn’t liked the influx of ‘glory supporters’, it was crucial that the club welcomed them in.
He said: “This has to be the catalyst. The worst thing the team could do would be to put up a wall and say, ‘Where were you when we were losing 3-0 at home to Accrington Stanley?”
Anthony Clavane, chief sports writer for a national newspaper, said it had been wonderful to see football bringing people from different backgrounds together, and for that to have been recognised by the press.
He said: “There has been too much negative reporting in the media and here was a great, positive news story that was celebrated for its multi-culturalism.”
Councillor Jan Smithies (Lab, Keighley West), who said she was primarily at the meeting as a Bradford City fan, agreed that cup fever had attracted a more diverse fan base.
She said: “The Wembley crowd was very different to a normal Bradford City crowd. It certainly had a bigger racial diversity.
“But the other thing that is increasingly expanding is the number of women going, and the amount of different ages, from people who are quite elderly, right down to young kids. You had people with disabilities, I saw a lot of people in wheelchairs.
“That diversity and widening is pretty powerful to see. I saw three young women together in hijabs, which is still not very many, but it is a growing number, and they had claret and amber colours on.”
Mr Katwala said: “I think the really interesting thing about the ‘show your colours’ part of that is that it’s a tribe, and tribes by their nature can be exclusive, but this tribe is wanting to be inclusive.”
He said it was similar to the sense of unity and pride the UK had enjoyed during the London Olympics.