A Bantams’ fan who spent a night in a hospital’s accident and emergency unit after crushing his leg while wildly celebrating James Hanson’s equaliser at Villa Park said he “wouldn’t change a thing” about the club’s historic night of glory.
Season-ticket holder William Lodge, 22, of Baildon, was left in agony after getting his leg trapped in the seats in front of him as he jumped up and down to cheer the striker’s vital 55th minute goal in the club’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
But despite the pain and stewards telling him he needed urgent medical attention, he sat through the final 39 minutes to watch as the team he has supported since he was six years old secured its place at Wembley.
He said: “It was the best night of my life, every single second was worth it.
“I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Mr Lodge, who works at UKAR in Crossflatts, who had travelled down to the Midlands on a supporters’ coach with three friends, told how he leapt to his feet when Hanson’s goal cancelled out Christian Benteke’s first-half volley to make the score 1-1.
But amid the celebrations, he quickly realised his leg had got caught in the seats in front of him.
“As I pulled it out, the pain was unbelievable and I had a huge lump sticking out of my shin bone – about the size of a tennis ball,” he said.
“I had to climb through all the fans to get to the stewards, who wanted me to go to hospital straight away, but there was no way I was going to miss the rest of the game.
“Even though it meant missing my coach home!”
After the final whistle, Mr Lodge was carried from the stadium in a chair, covered in a blanket, and taken to accident and emergency at Birmingham City Hospital, where he waited for two hours to see a doctor.
An X-ray later confirmed he hadn’t broken his leg, but he was treated with ice for severe bruising and swelling.
He had already missed his coach back to Bradford, but a West Brom fan receptionist helped him with travel arangements home as “her way of saying thank you for knocking Villa out of the cup”.
“She offered to charge my phone up for me, because its battery had run out, and came back with news she had booked me on the National Express coach home at 3am,” Mr Lodge said.
“She also ordered me a taxi to the bus station.
“So after two coaches, an extra £30 travel money spent, and a train journey later, I finally arrived home at 9.15am.
“It was definitely worth it though!”