Bradford City skipper Jones on 'unforgettable and unbelievable' night (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City skipper Gary Jones on 'unforgettable and unbelievable' night
Gary Jones insists that City’s sensational cup win over Arsenal took his long career to a “whole new level”.
The veteran midfielder has played more than 600 games as a pro – but Tuesday night topped the lot and even beat Wembley.
The 35-year-old skipper was one of the successful penalty-takers during the latest spot-kick drama. It capped off an occasion that Jones – like the rest of a sold-out Valley Parade – will never forget.
He said: “I’m still in shock. To beat Arsenal, and a full-strength Arsenal as well, and go through to a semi-final is what dreams are made of.
“We saw the Arsenal team sheet and knew they hadn’t come to mess about. But the lads were absolutely unbelievable and ran their socks off to a man.
“This is what you play football for. To take Bradford City into the Capital One Cup semi-finals is just amazing.
“The manager, the staff, players and supporters deserve massive credit. We’re all in this together, as we have been all season, and it was one of those games that will live long in the memory.”
Jones admitted the size and volume of the crowd – City’s largest since 1960 – took his breath away. And it once again underlined his decision in the summer to walk away from Rochdale, the club where he had played for a decade.
“The support here is something I’ve never, ever witnessed before. Just to see their faces at the end was everything.
“I was really emotional with what was going on at the end. To see the way the fans got behind the lads meant so much.
“Bradford haven’t done too well of late and giving them something back like that was a joy.
“I knew the club were well supported when I first came. But the other night took it to a whole new level.
“Getting to Wembley in the play-offs with Rochdale was special, though obviously we lost. But it was nothing like this. The atmosphere and occasion was just brilliant. You had to be here to sample how good it was.”
Jones was not surprised that City once more kept their nerve to continue the incredible run of shoot-out victories. He sensed that Arsenal would be jittery once the quarter-final went the distance.
He added: “It was probably Arsene Wenger’s worst nightmare. He knew how confident we would be and the lads just stepped up and put them away.
“We stuck to the gameplan so well. We weren’t going to see much of the ball so had to stay disciplined and not do anything stupid.
“There was just one lapse of concentration when they scored but otherwise we did it down to a tee.”
But Jones did miss out on one memento – an Arsenal jersey.
He laughed: “All the lads got one except me. I asked for Jack Wilshere’s but Doyley (Nathan Doyle) got in there first.
“I’ll let him have it. I’m just over the moon to sample such a special night.”