Bradford City chief Rhodes seeking Hollywood ending to real-life Rocky story (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City chief Rhodes seeking Hollywood ending to real-life Rocky story
Julian Rhodes reckons City’s “phenomenal” Capital One Cup run would be too far-fetched even for a Hollywood movie.
Phil Parkinson’s Bantams could become the first team from the fourth tier to reach a major Wembley final if they can defend a 3-1 advantage in tonight’s semi-final second leg at Aston Villa.
Joint-chairman Rhodes said it would rank as the greatest moment in the club’s history – and something that might never be equalled.
Rhodes said: “If somebody had given you a film script of what we have done, it would be thrown out. Rocky was more believable than this!
“A team from the Fourth Division who just stayed in the Football League by the skin of their teeth last season now have a realistic chance in the second leg of the semi-finals. It’s absolutely incredible.
“Even if we don’t go through, the team deserve huge praise and recognition for what they have done. It’s a phenomenal effort.
"To get to the second leg of the semis in front with a two-goal cushion ranks up there with some of the greatest achievements this club have ever had.
“It’s the first semi-final since 1911 so we are already making history. Just imagine if we do get through?
“People will point to getting to the Premier League and then staying there as fantastic achievements and they were. But for a one off, a fourth-tier club competing against 91 others, of which 20 are in the Premier League with the huge gulf in finances, to get to the final would be unprecedented.”
Not even the most optimistic fan expected the Bantams to head for Villa Park with a two-goal lead and Rhodes still maintains that the top-flight hosts are favourites to win the tie. But he admits nobody will forget how far they have come.
He added: “I’m not expecting us to get to the final. I’m just going there to enjoy it.
“I’m filled with pride and whatever happens, even if we end up getting hammered, we’ve had some fantastic nights in this competition.
“Every game has been pretty memorable: Notts County away was a great win, at Watford we were a goal down with ten minutes to go – against Burton we were 2-0 down with only seven minutes left.
“Of course the ones that will live long in the memory were Wigan, Arsenal and then the first leg with Villa. But they have all been great games.
“We were all hoping to keep it respectable after the first leg with maybe a draw or only losing 1-0. To be two goals up is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and it does make it interesting.
“Villa are a Premier League side with some top players and they will come at us. It’s going to be a tough environment – but our lads have stood up to the task so far and who says they cannot do it again?
“I’m so glad the game on Saturday was called off because it allowed us to wrap up some of our key players.
“But if we don’t go through then I’m sure everyone will still have a really good night. The buzz and excitement around the city is great at the moment.
“This is a proper semi-final and the team deserve so much credit for getting to this stage. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for everybody and something we should all cherish.”