Bradford City chief Rhodes has 23,500 reasons to be cheerful

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack Wilshere scores for Arsenal in the Champions League match against Montpellier. The 2006 finalists and football aristocrats will swap top European competition for a crack at League Two City on Tuesday Jack Wilshere scores for Arsenal in the Champions League match against Montpellier. The 2006 finalists and football aristocrats will swap top European competition for a crack at League Two City on Tuesday

Julian Rhodes could be excused for pinching himself as Valley Parade braces itself for the biggest crowd in more than half a century on Tuesday.

City anticipate a sell-out attendance of around 23,500 for their David and Goliath clash with Arsenal.

If that’s the case, the Capital One Cup quarter-final will attract the largest audience at the ground since 26,227 watched them draw 2-2 with Burnley in the FA Cup fifth round in February 1960.

For joint-owner Rhodes, it will be a poignant occasion. After so many years of disappointment and failure, the prospect of the “sold out” signs ever being dusted off again seemed remote.

“You go through periods thinking it will never, ever happen,” he admitted. “So I can’t wait to see the stadium full.

“We get decent attendances anyway, especially given the division we are in, and we’ve had some big crowds when we’ve dropped the ticket prices to £1.

“But we do have this very large stadium and to have over 23,000 is something we all want to see.

“We got 23,000 in 1970 against Tottenham in the FA Cup, which we want to beat. There are certain seats we won’t be able to use but I’m sure it will still be a sell-out of what’s available.

“To have one of the biggest teams in the world coming to Valley Parade is great for everybody. It would be something to see the ground full for it.”

It is not just the football club that will benefit from the national spotlight. Rhodes believes the positive exposure on the area will make a welcome change from the usual down-trodden perception portrayed around the country.

“It’s a big night for the city itself as much as the club. Let’s face it, we don’t get a great deal to cheer about in Bradford.

“Everybody is talking about it, not just round here but in neighbouring cities. Everyone wants to go or if not they’ll be watching it on the telly.

“It’s been manic in the ticket office, as you can imagine, but the staff have done remarkably well.

“I know the intention in the first place was to make tickets available online only for the first few days but that was changed.

“I’m not so sure they appreciated that when the queues started all the way down the road!

“But it’s been a pleasant surprise. We normally have three cup games a year and get knocked out of the first round in every one.

“I think they will get some decent TV viewing figures and it would be good to put on a show. It’s not often you get a ‘fourth division’ side playing one of the top teams.

“Let’s hope we can be competitive. And if we take it to penalties, we’ve got a great chance ...”

Can Rhodes in his heart of hearts possibly see City matching or even beating the Gunners?

It might seem like blind faith but he refuses to rule out a giant-killing, especially if the wintry West Yorkshire weather lends a hand.

“It’s hard to see weaknesses but if you were going to play Arsenal at any time, a cold Tuesday night in December in front of a capacity crowd is probably the best chance we’re ever going to have.

“If our lads are up for it, then you never know. Strange things in football do happen.

“I’m a big admirer of Arsene Wenger. What he has done at Arsenal is phenomenal and I’m not so sure he gets enough credit for it.

“It’s incredible what he has achieved there and the way the club is run is the blueprint for how everybody should do it.

“But he’s been here twice before and failed to win. I’m sure he will be looking to rectify that – but if he wants to play his second team, we’ll be more than appreciative!”

Comments (8)

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10:30am Sat 8 Dec 12

undercliffebantam says...

3 points today, then we can enjoy Tuesday. Be good to see ground full.
3 points today, then we can enjoy Tuesday. Be good to see ground full. undercliffebantam

11:26am Sat 8 Dec 12

lawsonio123 says...

Arsenal um Well you can score against them and sometimes just sometimes they are goal shy.Never Never say all is lost City will give all they have and maybe just maybe it will be enough Make a noise and as they say in Yorkshire Put the Wind up them Good Luck
Arsenal um Well you can score against them and sometimes just sometimes they are goal shy.Never Never say all is lost City will give all they have and maybe just maybe it will be enough Make a noise and as they say in Yorkshire Put the Wind up them Good Luck lawsonio123

12:06pm Sat 8 Dec 12

bigang02 says...

i think we stand a good chance .and i myself are not bothered if we lose it is just the atmosphere i am so looking forward to.and i am sat just behind the dugout aswell so i am well excited bring on the arsenal i am shore our lads wont let us down but i will be proud win or lose.
i think we stand a good chance .and i myself are not bothered if we lose it is just the atmosphere i am so looking forward to.and i am sat just behind the dugout aswell so i am well excited bring on the arsenal i am shore our lads wont let us down but i will be proud win or lose. bigang02

12:37pm Sat 8 Dec 12

bcfc1903 says...

The beauty of this Arsenal game is there is absolutely no pressure on BCFC...but then you look at Arsenal as a club...the pressure is immense.If we could keep it tight for 30 minutes the pressure on them just keeps increasing...if we happened to take the lead... i can see the Arsenal fans getting pretty annoyed with both their team and manager...that would happen if it was level for any length of time. Yes BCFC could come unstuck but so could Arsenal....It's a funny old game!!!!!

**
We shout with pride....we'll never hide....Claret and Amber.
The beauty of this Arsenal game is there is absolutely no pressure on BCFC...but then you look at Arsenal as a club...the pressure is immense.If we could keep it tight for 30 minutes the pressure on them just keeps increasing...if we happened to take the lead... i can see the Arsenal fans getting pretty annoyed with both their team and manager...that would happen if it was level for any length of time. Yes BCFC could come unstuck but so could Arsenal....It's a funny old game!!!!! ** We shout with pride....we'll never hide....Claret and Amber. bcfc1903

10:40pm Sat 8 Dec 12

The Hump says...

City to win 3-1 you heard it here first.
City to win 3-1 you heard it here first. The Hump

10:45am Sun 9 Dec 12

tyker2 says...

just woner what sot of tem Arsenal will send:maybe only a couple will have experienced a cold Bradford night and will freeze on the night
just woner what sot of tem Arsenal will send:maybe only a couple will have experienced a cold Bradford night and will freeze on the night tyker2

1:08pm Sun 9 Dec 12

RuggerTyke says...

tyker2 wrote:
just woner what sot of tem Arsenal will send:maybe only a couple will have experienced a cold Bradford night and will freeze on the night
Ang start with the tallest players at our disposal.

Sad really, as a football team we are no smaller than Stoke City, oh Richmond.
[quote][p][bold]tyker2[/bold] wrote: just woner what sot of tem Arsenal will send:maybe only a couple will have experienced a cold Bradford night and will freeze on the night[/p][/quote]Ang start with the tallest players at our disposal. Sad really, as a football team we are no smaller than Stoke City, oh Richmond. RuggerTyke

2:11pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Whoisevans? says...

Good Luck lads hope we are in the draw for the Semi's Come on City
Good Luck lads hope we are in the draw for the Semi's Come on City Whoisevans?

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