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How Claus Jorgensen nearly became Bradford City's Dixie Dane
Nahki Wells will be short-priced to write his name in Bradford City history this afternoon.
The Bermudian needs one more goal against Sheffield United to become the first to score in eight successive games for the club.
Given his deadly form in front of goal, the bookies are unlikely to be too generous on those fans backing him to achieve the milestone.
You certainly won’t get anything like the prices on offer the last time a City player went on a potentially record-breaking run.
Claus Jorgensen was the width of a Gillingham post away from equalling a landmark that had stood for 76 years.
Had his bobbling effort gone in instead of clipping the woodwork, the Danish midfielder would have made it nine away matches in a row on the scoresheet – something only achieved by the great Dixie Dean for Everton way back when.
What was more remarkable about Jorgensen’s streak was that he was not particularly renowned as a goalscorer. Hence the long-shot odds on his head when his run kicked off against high-flying Wolves.
Ten years on, Jorgensen can still recall the jubilation of some well-oiled City fans who had taken a punt on him at 40/1 to score the opening goal.
He said: “Nobody expected us to win that day but we did and Andy Gray and I scored.
“We were warming down afterwards and there were people shouting from one of the boxes. They had all got me as first goalscorer and had certainly had more than a few drinks!
“The funny thing was I bumped into them again at a game years later and they still remembered it.
“I hadn’t been playing that much because of being injured. I didn’t score my first goal until the Boxing Day against Stoke, which was good because my family were over for Christmas.
“But two days later I got another one at Wolves and it just carried on from there.
“I used to score goals in Denmark because I was allowed to run forward a bit more. Most of the time I’d be playing in a three-man midfield and could do that.
“But Bradford always played 4-4-2 so it was a different role. I’d try to get one or two chances but it wasn’t so easy.”
Jorgensen was off and running. From Molineux to Millmoor, then Grimsby, Wimbledon, Coventry and Derby he kept on scoring.
Further goals against Burnley and Norwich took him to the brink of a long-forgotten landmark.
With his confidence sky high, Jorgensen tuned up by hitting the net again in a 2-1 win over Watford at Valley Parade on Easter Saturday and 48 hours later history beckoned in furthest Kent.
A poor match on a terrible pitch meant chances were at a premium. But there was one.
Guus Uhlenbeek’s cross should have been meat and drink for the defence but, with the cunning of a predator in red-hot form, Jorgensen gambled.
“I came running towards the front post from the middle of the pitch. It was a poor cross from the right but the defender in the left centre half position was letting it run through to the keeper.
“He hadn’t seen me and I sensed that so I just kept going. It was just anticipation; I wasn’t even thinking about it.
“It worked and I managed to get in there first. It was a really tight angle and I got a shot off but unfortunately, as you know, it bounced off the post.
“It would have been some record. To think that my name could have been alongside someone as famous as Dixie Dean is incredible, even now.”
The run was over and Jorgensen never scored another goal for City. He joined Coventry that summer.
It was only afterwards that he really appreciated what an achievement it would have been. The thought had rarely crossed his mind while the goals flowed.
In such a purple patch, ignorance can be bliss.
Jorgensen said: “I wasn’t aware of it at the time. It was only when it got mentioned to me that I realised.
“But one of the reasons why I did well at the time was probably because I didn’t know it was a big thing.
“It just feels natural; it’s just what you are doing. I’m sure it is the same with Wells at the moment.
“If a striker goes six months without scoring, you will feel it every day. But when you’re scoring like that, it seems nothing out the ordinary.
“I haven’t seen much of Nahki Wells apart from on TV but it must be great for his team-mates to have someone like that.
“You always know that there is a good chance of scoring goals. Do your job defensively and someone’s there who can put one away.
“When you’ve got a striker who plays with a spring in his step, that just breeds confidence throughout the team.
“It’s going to be a tough game against Sheffield United but there’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s a big occasion at Valley Parade and it would be perfect if he could get the record.”
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