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Bradford City fans lauded for good humour and passion
The amazing support shown by City fans at the Capital One Cup final has been singled out for praise by the chairman of the Football Association.
City’s fans cheered and sang their hearts out to the end at Wembley – despite their heroes being beaten 5-0 by a talented Swansea City side.
Yesterday, FA boss David Bernstein hailed the cup final as “an outstanding occasion” as he paid tribute the fans of both clubs in the crowd of 82,597.
Mr Bernstein said: “In the context of all we in football are trying to achieve in the area of respect and good behaviour it was an outstanding occasion.
“I would like to congratulate Swansea City FC on their support, fine performance and excellent victory and both clubs on the level of sportsmanship shown.
“In particular it was more than pleasing to witness the fantastic support of the Bradford City fans. Their backing for their team in adversity was a wonderful example of passion and loyalty combined with good humour. It was a pleasure to observe. Very well done to all concerned.”
The final will also stay as a day to remember for the Bantams’ two match mascots – brave brain tumour survivor Jake Turton, nine, of Northowram, and kidney transplant patient Ryan Siddal, 12, of Buttershaw, who led the team on to the pitch.
Jake’s dad Andy Turton said: “They were treated like royalty by everyone,they even had their own changing rooms! They got to go into the manager’s suite and have pictures taken, then they met the players and Jake got to choose the match ball. It was a fabulous day. The atmosphere was electric.”
Bradford’s shopping streets might have emptied as the match took place but the build-up in the cup run has been magnificent, said Bradford Chamber of Trade secretary Val Summerscales.
“It really has energised the city centre. Everyone has been speaking about it – it really put Bradford on the map. I can’t say it made people spend more or spend less but it definitely gave the place a boost. It brought the right kind of atmosphere and attitude into the heart of the city and it's been magnificent,” she said.
And Kirkgate Centre manager Catherine Riley agreed with that sentiment: “I spoke to hundreds of people on the two occasions when we had the big shirt in the Centre for people to sign and everyone was really happy. I think something that has the power to pull people together in a single cause all wanting to wish their team good luck is really special. And the fact that they didn’t win hasn’t dampened people’s enthusiasm. It’s been great for the city.”
Mike Cartwright, of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said businesses in Bradford were right behind the Bantams all the way.
He said: “As manager Phil Parkinson said immediately after the final whistle, the result should not take away anything from what the team and the club has achieved.
“The journey has lifted the spirit of the city and district. We now need to keep that momentum going. Businesses are, like the club itself, getting back to the job of focusing on week-by-week results and satisfying their clients, or fanbase.
“The feelgood factor across the district has been great the last few weeks and months and I’m sure that we’ll be able to keep that going now.”
The Bantams’ affect has also reached out to Cheshire where Bradford-born fan Jeremy Coles keeps the inhabitants and parishoners of Middlewich up to date with all things ‘City’.
Mr Coles, who is a family worker at St Michael & All Angels Church in the waterways town and whose father Geoff Coles was a vicar in Manningham, was so committed to the Bantam’s Wembley bid he decorated the window of his church’s community building.
He regularly takes assemblies in all Middlewich’s six local primary schools and manages to give Bradford City AFC a mention every time – he also does the same in every sermon and service he leads in the church too.
Mr Coles said: “My love for Bradford City, music and Jesus is well known in the local community. When I left Bradford 14 years ago it was important I kept my roots so I brought my support for Bradford City with me! I’m a season ticket holder so all the home games are like away matches for me! Many of my mates from church come to City matches with me.”
After the Wembley loss, Mr Coles said he was disappointed for the players but was still proud to be a “Bradford lad” adding: “The journey since last August has been amazing! The impact of which will last for years to come.”
As reported in yesterday’s Telegraph & Argus, a civic reception for the club will now take place at the end of the season to allow the players to concentrate on a renewed push for promotion from League Two.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith, said the city will expect nothing less than an open-top bus parade and civic reception.
He said: “There are plans afoot. The city will expect a celebration certainly. What the club have achieved throughout the season has been nothing short of sensational and the Council will extend a full civic celebration.
“They have had some amazing results in the Capital One Cup and while the fans were disappointed at the outcome, Swansea are clearly a very talented Premier League side and played better than us on the day.
“But the spirit of Bradford’s fans was a real feature. The bigger the challenge became, the more they cheered and waved their flags.
“I was proud to be among them. It was wonderful.
“I would expect an open-top bus parade would be a fitting way to mark their incredible achievements. We’re just waiting for the season to end, hopefully on a high, and for the sunshine to come and we’ll start waving those flags again.”