Cup draw jinx a pain in the Butt for Bantams

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Nahki Wells celebrates after scoring against Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup Nahki Wells celebrates after scoring against Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup

There was a strange hissing sound filling the air of West Yorkshire shortly after 10pm on Wednesday.

Actually it wasn’t that unusual at all, I’d heard it many, many times before.

The cause of this disturbance was, for want of a better phrase, a number two.

Or, to be more precise, Bradford City’s number in the draw for the latest round of the Capital One Cup ... Wigan Athletic away.

Once again, City had been let down by the men in suits picking out the matches. Damn you, Nicky Butt.

So another sense of cup deflation engulfed the area. Dreams of Old Trafford, Emirates or Stamford Bridge fizzled out once again for another year – or, in our case, a whole lot longer.

Instead Butt pulled out one from “pot three”, the equivalent of an away trip to Austria in World Cup terms.

When did City last have a decent draw to make the mouth water?

Not on my watch, that’s for sure. Unless you count a couple of trips to West Brom, which I don’t.

Chris Waddle’s legendary lob at Goodison Park remains the stuff of Bantams folklore. Its place as the last memorable cup trip is still unchallenged.

And that was way, way back in January 1997 well before the Premier League rise and fall; the administrations; the relegations; the regular exits from every knock-out contest.

To put it in perspective, Jerome Sinclair was still in nappies at barely four months old. On Wednesday night, just hours before Butt burst City’s bubble, Sinclair stepped out as a 16-year-old debutant for Liverpool.

He’ll probably be approaching veteran status by the time the Bantams ever get close to drawing a day out against his current employers.

I’ve been taken to task by a few fans for such a lukewarm reaction to City’s fourth-round prospects.

Of course, we should be thrilled to still be in the cup at this stage. It has not happened for 24 years.

City’s enduring presence in the competition – as the only survivors from League Two – deserves to be acknowledged. It’s a great achievement to remain standing, given the hurdles they have had to overcome.

Winning away at Notts County, the League One leaders, and Watford – two divisions their senior – should not be sniffed at. Coming from 2-0 down with only seven minutes left the other night will live long in the memory of the 4,000 fans who ignored the two-day monsoon to turn out.

But that just increased the sense of anti-climax when the draw was made. Nobody, anywhere had earned the right of a plum tie more than the Bantams.

With 12 of the 15 possible opponents from the top flight, the odds were stacked firmly in their favour. There was a one-in-three chance of landing a really big fish.

Instead Butt pulled out one from “pot three”, the equivalent of an away trip to Austria in World Cup terms.

A Twitter wag from one of the national papers joked about the rugby league tie among all the other decent ones.

As former Newcastle defender and Sky pundit John Beresford called it straight after: “You’ve got to feel sorry for the Bradford lads.”

He might have added that the real losers in all this were the two chairmen, denied the money- spinner that they had been banking on. The players of course, as Mark Lawn stressed last week, still have their win bonuses.

The best the club can hope for money-wise is a large away following to boost their share of the gate receipts. It is half term and City’s fans are likely to be out in force – even if those Burton ticket stubs will seem superfluous.

The board’s hopes of clawing back some of the dosh they had advanced towards Phil Parkinson’s squad rebuild had been dashed in the time it takes to say “will play...”.

At least there will be no distractions where this season really matters. No heads will be stucks in the clouds in the dressing room for the seven league games between now and that trip to Lancashire.

Parkinson will not have to contend with players day-dreaming about stepping out on the hallowed turf of ... the DW Stadium. There’s no cup stardust to cloud the promotion vision, which is probably a good thing in the long run.

Yes, Wigan are Premier League and well established in there. Roberto Martinez and owner Dave Whelan have worked miracles to retain their place among the elite despite minimal attendances.

Let’s not think that small means easier. There is a 56-place gulf between the two sides for a reason.

City will have to play out of their skins and hope Wigan simultaneously have a real off day to harbour any genuine hopes of a massive upset.

Defeat is highly probable but the disappointment of bowing out in the last 16 would have been cushioned in the rarified surrounds of Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United.

Pies and mint balls are not the same consolation.

Comments (4)

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11:22am Sat 29 Sep 12

bwwb says...

Somewhat poor memory. Everton is remembered fondly because we won. At the time of the draw the following matches were looked forward to just a much as the Everton game (even though because of the result we often don't care to remember)Sheffield Wednesday h 16/2/97, Huddersfield (2 legs) 08/97, Manchester City a 03/01/98, Leeds a 28/10/98, Newcastle a 23/01/99, Middlesbrough h 08/01/01, Huddersfield a 12/08/08, Leeds a 09/08/11. (FA Cup & League Cup only)
Alright not exactly many but a few more than Mr Parker seems to remember
Wigan away is a great draw and if we win no doubt Simon will remember the trip to the DW for years. If we lose he will choose to forget it.
Somewhat poor memory. Everton is remembered fondly because we won. At the time of the draw the following matches were looked forward to just a much as the Everton game (even though because of the result we often don't care to remember)Sheffield Wednesday h 16/2/97, Huddersfield (2 legs) 08/97, Manchester City a 03/01/98, Leeds a 28/10/98, Newcastle a 23/01/99, Middlesbrough h 08/01/01, Huddersfield a 12/08/08, Leeds a 09/08/11. (FA Cup & League Cup only) Alright not exactly many but a few more than Mr Parker seems to remember Wigan away is a great draw and if we win no doubt Simon will remember the trip to the DW for years. If we lose he will choose to forget it. bwwb
  • Score: 0

11:52am Sat 29 Sep 12

lawsonio123 says...

Let us not forget the FA CUP is still to come a big team may yet be meet
Let us not forget the FA CUP is still to come a big team may yet be meet lawsonio123
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Sat 29 Sep 12

settler07 says...

Wigan's priority is the premier league. They will play a weakened side and underestimate a city side that is clearly much better than League 2. I will be backing city to get a draw and take it to penalties. So we'll see if we win that lottery on the night even though a trip to the Emirates would have been the guaranteed jackoot we wanted.
Wigan's priority is the premier league. They will play a weakened side and underestimate a city side that is clearly much better than League 2. I will be backing city to get a draw and take it to penalties. So we'll see if we win that lottery on the night even though a trip to the Emirates would have been the guaranteed jackoot we wanted. settler07
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Sat 29 Sep 12

bwwb says...

lawsonio123 wrote:
Let us not forget the FA CUP is still to come a big team may yet be meet
If we win the next 2 league cup games we will no doubt remember the third match until the day we die. Unlikely to happen though.
If we get to the third round of the FA cup (ie win the next 2 matches in that competition) the odds of drawing a premier league top 4 club is 1 in 16 (not very good odds)
[quote][p][bold]lawsonio123[/bold] wrote: Let us not forget the FA CUP is still to come a big team may yet be meet[/p][/quote]If we win the next 2 league cup games we will no doubt remember the third match until the day we die. Unlikely to happen though. If we get to the third round of the FA cup (ie win the next 2 matches in that competition) the odds of drawing a premier league top 4 club is 1 in 16 (not very good odds) bwwb
  • Score: 0

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