Jubilant Bantams fans from around the world yesterday starting making plans to travel to the club’s Capital One Cup Wembley final, as Bradford Council confirmed talks are under way to throw a civic reception in honour of Phil Parkinson’s cup heroes.
Supporters from as far away as Australia began booking flights to London, while coach companies across the district started advertising trips down to the capital, after Bradford’s 4-3 win on aggregate over Premier League Aston Villa booked City’s place in the final on Sunday, February 24.
Tickets have yet to go on sale, although it is understood Bradford will have an allocation of about 31,000.
But season ticket holder Andy Ross, who lives in Sydney, has already organised 22-hour flights to and from London, via Singapore, while Scott North, of Brisbane, has flights on standby.
And other fans took to social networking site Twitter to reveal they had booked rooms in hotels in preparation for the clash.
Life-long fan Andrew Spencer, 35, of Wibsey, who was at Villa Park as Bantams’ secured their Wembley place, said he had booked a hotel for the Sunday night.
“I know tickets haven’t gone on sale yet, but I want to be prepared.
“I imagine it will be chaos when tickets do go on sale, because everyone I know says they want to go!
“It’s going to be a day I will always remember.”
Meanwhile, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith, confirmed the Council is in discussions with the club about a civic reception to mark Bantams’ cup heroics, although no firm plans are yet in place.
Bradford City flags are flying outside City Hall.
“We are in consultation with them about what they think would be the most appropriate time to celebrate their success,” said Coun Smith.
He added he and his wife Margaret, both season ticket holders, had watched Tuesday’s game on television and hoped, if possible, to join the team at Wembley.
“We watched with great thrill and trepidation, my wife was shouting herself hoarse!
“The result was absolutely amazing – it was fantastic for the city, the club and the district.
“We shall continue to support them and are quietly confident they will triumph once again!”
The district’s MPs also gave their congratulations to the side, saying the win had given the city a boost.
Bradford West MP George Galloway told how he hoped a Parliamentary reception would be held in the club’s honour and urged Bradford Council to reveal its plans to officially fete the cup heroes.
“I’m still hoarse from shouting, and I was only watching on TV,” he said.
“And I bet there were thousands of others who are similarly speechless.
“What a victory! The first time a team from the fourth tier has gone to Wembley in what we used to call the League Cup final. Absolutely remarkable, and the team was assembled for the cost of what a Premier League player would turn up his nose at as a day’s wage. It’s a tribute to the players, manager Phil Parkinson and the management of this great club.”
Bradford East MP and Bantams’ season ticket holder David Ward caught parts of the game in the House of Commons bar between meetings, surrounded by MP colleagues rooting for City.
“It’s fabulous – the dream goes on,” he said.
“But what we shouldn’t think is that we’ve done it now, because of course we want to win the final.
“It’s great, the good thing about this is it gets people talking about Bradford. I was watching with MPs from the north east and north west and they were all Bradford fans for the evening, there were very few Villa fans!
“It’s given the city a real buzz and everyone a spring in their step.
“It’s not just great for the city but the whole district, it’s brought the district together.
“And it’s so deserved, it’s not like it was a flukey win. We just need to do this in the league now.”
Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe, honorary chairman of Bradford Bulls, said the Super League side would now try to change the date of its home game against St Helen’s, which clashes with Bantams’ Wembley final on February 24.
“We’re hoping to change it to the Friday and have submitted an application to the RFL.
“It’s absolutely fantastic Bradford City have done it and it’s a very proud time to be a Bradford MP.
“Sporting success really lifts the city and Bradford’s going through a real purple patch at the moment.”
Shipley MP Philip Davies said Phil Parkinson’s men and everyone associated with the club should be proud of their achievements.
“There is so much pride and a feel good factor in the district, and that’s something that was much needed,” he added.
“They all should be extremely proud of what they have done.
“I hope to see tens of thousands of fans from Bradford in London that weekend.
“While I’d love to go, the most important people are those who have supported their team through thick and thin. They are the ones who deserve it.”
While Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “The scenes of celebration amongst Bradford City fans at the end of the game will live long in the memory, and I very much hope they are repeated at Wembley next month.
“The club’s achievement is a great boost for the city. The players, manager and officials deserve every bit of credit they are currently receiving.”