Reunion party as Bradford City’s class of 99 turn out for special match at Valley Parade (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Reunion party as Bradford City’s class of 99 turn out for special match at Valley Parade
Fourteen years on and the names still trip off the tongue of every City fan.
Gary Walsh, Steve Wright, John Dreyer, Darren Moore, Jamie Lawrence, Stuart McCall, Gareth Whalley, Peter Beagrie, Lee Mills and Robbie Blake ... and not forgetting Lee Sharpe, Isiah Rankin and Gordon Watson.
And for one afternoon only, the Bantams boys of 1999 will be back at Valley Parade for an occasion of glorious nostalgia.
Wayne Jacobs has organised this Sunday’s event to mark the opening of the One in a Million school in the stadium’s former office block.
And he has unveiled a star-studded cast, once again commanded by Paul Jewell, who steered them into the Premier League – and club immortality – at that time.
Jacobs said: “Normally it needs a lot of phone calls to put this type of game on but it only took one each and they all said they’d be coming.
“Just like this team now, there was a unity and never-say-die attitude sprinkled with a lot of quality. They are buzzing to be together again.
“It’s the same with Paul and he’s done a fantastic piece in the programme with a little quote on each of the lads.
“Sometimes it’s tough to get hold of him but Paul even rang me back off a golf course – that’s a first!
“Walking through the ground on Saturday, I couldn’t believe the number of people who stopped me to ask which players will be there – everyone’s buzzing for it.”
Present gaffer Phil Parkinson will be dusting off his playing boots to appear for the opposition Celebrity XI, alongside the likes of Beautiful South lead singer Paul Heaton and former England cricketer Steve Harmison.
But the star attraction – for a certain age group – will be Josh Devine, who drummed for One Direction on their world tour. He has 2.3million Twitter followers!
And mascot for the day will be Jake Turton, the brain tumour survivor who led out City for the Capital One Cup final.
Jacobs added: “There are a few managers, past and present, who are going to be playing. It will be interesting to see who is barking out orders and who’s listening.
“Dean Saunders is usually top drawer with his banter but he’s out of work at the minute so we might be able to give him a bit back!
“There are only three who are going to be missing from that promotion squad. Lee Todd, Ashley Westwood and Mark Prudhoe can’t make it.
“I’m not sure who’s going to do the running so we’ll let the ball do all the work. But we’ll need two if Beags is playing because he never gives it back.”
The close links between the school and the club were underlined last week when Parkinson paid a visit to the pupils.
Jacobs said: “He did the first inspirational team talk to the children and then the next day they all had a tour of the stadium.
“Everything the football club does as a function, not just playing, is accessible for the school and it’s wonderful. It’s been built for that reason.
“And hopefully we can affect children’s lives in a positive way with it.”
Fans interested in looking round the school can join a tour from 1.30-2.15pm before the game.
Admission for the match is £3, or £10 to include a question and answer session with the team afterwards plus a pie-and-pea supper.
The £10 tickets must be bought in advance from the ground.
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