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Gary Jones reflects on ‘privilege’ playing for Bradford City
Gary Jones today issued an emotional farewell to City fans and declared: I gave everything I had for you.
The former skipper left Valley Parade last week after two hugely-influential seasons. He played exactly 100 games, led City to Wembley twice and captained their first promotion campaign for 14 years.
Supporters have bombarded the internet and social media to voice their appreciation for the 36-year-old – and the midfielder will look back on his stint in the claret and amber with huge affection.
Jones said: “When I left Rochdale after being there for such a long time, I did wonder where I could go next.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine I’d have two years like that. They’ve probably been the best of my career.
“I’ve enjoyed my football so much. From the moment I first walked into Apperley Bridge and saw the training facilities and then went to the stadium itself, I knew it would be special.
“The whole place has meant so much to me and the fans have been amazing. They’ve made me and my family so welcome.
“When you walk out at Valley Parade in front of 14,000-15,000 people, it made us feel ten foot tall. You were invincible.
“It was such a privilege every time I put on the Bradford shirt and I like to think I can look in the mirror and know that I gave everything I had. That’s what those supporters do to you.”
Jones was the driving force behind Phil Parkinson’s rejuvenation of a club that had been in decline for over a decade. His will to win and infectious enthusiasm typified the approach that Parkinson demanded from his team.
“For a club like Bradford to be languishing in League Two for six years is frightening,” said Jones.
“But we had such a great season with the two finals – and getting promoted was the biggest achievement of the lot.
“Last season was all about consolidation and we achieved that comfortably. To finish in mid-table in a very tough league with 59 points was a feather in the cap for all the lads.”
The decision to release Jones was the biggest call in Parkinson’s squad revamp and followed on the heels of Garry Thompson’s departure.
The veteran admitted he would love to have carried on as he closes in on 700 career games.
Jones said: “I was gutted to be told. I’ve had such a great time here and it came as a bit of a shock, I’m not going to lie.
“But that’s football and you’ve just got to move on. I just wish I could have stayed for one more year.
“I still feel that I’ve got something to give and at least one more season in me. It would have been great to do that with Bradford but it’s not to be.
“But I can leave with my head held high. It’s been an amazing two years and I wish the supporters all the best in the future.
“I’m sure, in a few years from now, I’ll be back there to watch a game. It will be great to see those fans again.”
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