Wembley date justifies Bradford City blood, sweat and tears of Rhodes family

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: David Rhodes will join the fans cheering on City against Swansea at Wembley later this month David Rhodes will join the fans cheering on City against Swansea at Wembley later this month

Whisper it quietly but Professor David Rhodes used to be a Leeds fan.

The very private father of City joint-owner Julian will be making his third trip to Wembley on February 24.

There was the club’s only previous visit in May 1996 – and the 1972 FA Cup final when Leeds beat Arsenal. But his allegiance switched during the hooligan days that followed.

Rhodes said: “I took Julian to some Leeds games when he first got interested in football but we stopped going after nearly being killed by Man United fans running down Elland Road.

“It was getting crazy and we didn’t need that. So Julian started going to Bradford with a friend and his dad and I followed.

“It was totally and utterly different. You just don’t get that sort of trouble there and you never have. The supporters were not the same.”

Rhodes senior’s first game at Valley Parade was, fittingly, in the League Cup when Bobby Campbell’s goal sunk European champions Liverpool in 1980. City were well beaten in the second leg at Anfield but another supporter was guaranteed.

It would be another 17 years until Rhodes, the founder of Shipley-based wireless communications company Filtronic, would join the City board with his son.

What followed has been well documented. When City step out for the Capital One Cup final, all the blood, sweat, tears and remortgages will be worth it.

But Rhodes still believes that Julian has not been given the credit he deserves for saving the club from the financial abyss.

He said: “What Julian has achieved in the last ten years or so is totally remarkable. The club was in an unbelievable mess and there were so many problems.

“A lot of people don’t understand how desperate it was. You cannot comprehend where £36million worth of debts could come from and you were dealing with creditors who wouldn’t budge.

“It was so difficult and there’s no way you could sort it overnight. There have been so many stages that the club have had to go through over the years.

“But Julian worked his backside off over all this time. It’s been a full-time job for no pay.

“You can’t live in the past but it really is phenomenal what he has achieved.

“He has never sought the credit but some of the family members get slightly annoyed that people don’t understand. That doesn’t deter Julian in any way, though, he just gets on with it.

“I’m extremely proud. How many other fathers have got a son who has achieved so much?”

Father and son have watched City’s record-breaking route to Wembley from day one when James Hanson’s “beautiful” left-foot goal sunk Notts County in extra time.

Rhodes said: “I’d just got back from holiday to see the first game and what struck me was how very well disciplined the side looked. That amazing discipline has been one thing that has carried on through this cup run.

“I’ve equated it to an American football team where every player knows what he is supposed to do at all times. That’s what Phil (Parkinson) has instilled.

“I remember speaking to Terry Yorath a long time ago when he was manager of Sheffield Wednesday. I asked him why his players didn’t seem to know what they were doing at corners.

“Shouldn’t he be telling them at training exactly where to be? He said the players would practice it all week but by Saturday they’d forgotten again!

“But Phil has got that message across. Wigan was the most informative game of the lot – the defending that night was absolutely brilliant.”

Even more remarkably that was achieved, of course, with a back four minus Andrew Davies and Luke Oliver, who were both injured in the Burton game three days earlier.

Rhodes said: “It had to be changed but (Rory) McArdle had been playing out of position before that and young Carl McHugh has always had great potential. You could see that from the first game.

“Dave Whelan, the Wigan owner, was full of praise afterwards. But the difference is that they’ve been managed as a team.

“I might disagree with some of the things the manager does in league games but it’s easy to be critical from the stands. What has happened has been fantastic.”

Rhodes admits the goose bumps are there at the prospect of taking his seat in the directors’ box at Wembley to see his club playing in a cup final.

One of the key figures in City winning their survival battle off the field will love every moment of watching them trying to stun the football world once again on it.

“All this brings back certain games like beating Liverpool, winning at Wolves to get promoted and, my own favourite, the win at Blackpool in 1996,” said Rhodes.

“But this is something that has never happened in the past. And if by some quirk we win against Swansea, it would be unbelievable.

“The odds are heavily stacked against us once again – but hasn’t that been the case already? It’s going to be a great day for everybody.

“To go back to that Wigan game again, I stood there afterwards as the home fans disappeared. There weren’t only the 5,000 Bradford City fans behind the goal that remained but then you saw how many other supporters of ours were in the Wigan part.

“It shows the great support behind this club. Just look at how quick the tickets are going. We could have sold twice as many.

“Unfortunately the Wembley capacity is dependent on all these debenture tickets and there are 28,000 of them. It’s a bit daft because I’m pretty certain both clubs could have sold the ground out.

“But Julian was right when he said that Rocky was more believable than this. It’s still difficult to take in what has happened.”

And when the final whistle sounds and the Wembley hype has passed, City can look forward to a legacy of financial stability for the long term.

There is no danger of repeating the mistakes of the past. While the Premier League throw more and more cash towards chasing the dream, there will be no recklessness from Valley Parade.

Rhodes said: “You hear some of the comments but it’s got to be run as a business. You can’t just run a club as a hobby.

“Look at how much money has been ploughed in to other clubs when they’ve been treated like that. I think they are going to come crashing down to earth.

“Portsmouth have been the classic example and there are others. It’s grabbing at straws.

“The finances are going to be managed properly here. Julian knows what he is doing and I hope the fans appreciate that.”

Comments (18)

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7:03am Sat 2 Feb 13

Freddy says...

*
Well played--ALL the " Rhodes " Family.
*
--and THANK YOU for everything you have done--and will continue to achieve-for Bradford City AFC.
*
* Well played--ALL the " Rhodes " Family. * --and THANK YOU for everything you have done--and will continue to achieve-for Bradford City AFC. * Freddy

8:09am Sat 2 Feb 13

shoatsy says...

Well done Julian! cheers for your hard work you are a legend!!!!
Well done Julian! cheers for your hard work you are a legend!!!! shoatsy

8:20am Sat 2 Feb 13

Go Torps! Yer flying. says...

These people deserve every second of this amazing season. Love em!

I have just bought a superb comedy chicken hat for Wembley on ebay that looks enough like a mighty Bantam.

I am now so excited I am going to explode.

"It's only a cup..."
These people deserve every second of this amazing season. Love em! I have just bought a superb comedy chicken hat for Wembley on ebay that looks enough like a mighty Bantam. I am now so excited I am going to explode. "It's only a cup..." Go Torps! Yer flying.

8:41am Sat 2 Feb 13

tinytoonster says...

Go Torps! Yer flying. wrote:
These people deserve every second of this amazing season. Love em!

I have just bought a superb comedy chicken hat for Wembley on ebay that looks enough like a mighty Bantam.

I am now so excited I am going to explode.

"It's only a cup..."
i hope you are not sat in front of me! ha ha!
[quote][p][bold]Go Torps! Yer flying.[/bold] wrote: These people deserve every second of this amazing season. Love em! I have just bought a superb comedy chicken hat for Wembley on ebay that looks enough like a mighty Bantam. I am now so excited I am going to explode. "It's only a cup..."[/p][/quote]i hope you are not sat in front of me! ha ha! tinytoonster

8:51am Sat 2 Feb 13

RAF_Bantam says...

Never for a second have I ever stopped believeing in City, I had a feeling deep down that one day we would have our moment in the sun once again!

I'm so glad I stuck around, because it is so refreshing to have a club pointing in the right direction, with the right men at the helm, the right manager, the right coaching staff, the right players and most of all the right fans.

It's been hilarious and stressful all at the same time watching people clammering for a spare ticket here or there, well to those who have stuck around and witnessed the hard times, this season is ours! We are recieveing the rewards we so justly deserve!

Mr Rhodes snr and jr and also Mr Lawn, I can't thank you enough for the job you have done, saving and turning around the club us supporters so deeply love
Never for a second have I ever stopped believeing in City, I had a feeling deep down that one day we would have our moment in the sun once again! I'm so glad I stuck around, because it is so refreshing to have a club pointing in the right direction, with the right men at the helm, the right manager, the right coaching staff, the right players and most of all the right fans. It's been hilarious and stressful all at the same time watching people clammering for a spare ticket here or there, well to those who have stuck around and witnessed the hard times, this season is ours! We are recieveing the rewards we so justly deserve! Mr Rhodes snr and jr and also Mr Lawn, I can't thank you enough for the job you have done, saving and turning around the club us supporters so deeply love RAF_Bantam

8:54am Sat 2 Feb 13

BD16 says...

I hope all the Rhodes family are at Wembley, they deserve it more than anybody. Just because they get on with business without shouting from the rooftops they don't get the recognition they deserve.

The only thing wrong with this article is that I remember Bobby Campbell's goal being a side foot shot following Terry Dolans free kick up.
I hope all the Rhodes family are at Wembley, they deserve it more than anybody. Just because they get on with business without shouting from the rooftops they don't get the recognition they deserve. The only thing wrong with this article is that I remember Bobby Campbell's goal being a side foot shot following Terry Dolans free kick up. BD16

9:31am Sat 2 Feb 13

KnightMcCall says...

Julian Rhodes is the living embodiment of the phrase Bradford City is for life; not just for Wembley. To think his dad tried to make him a dirty Leeds fan...
Julian Rhodes is the living embodiment of the phrase Bradford City is for life; not just for Wembley. To think his dad tried to make him a dirty Leeds fan... KnightMcCall

10:54am Sat 2 Feb 13

Bantam76 says...

KnightMcCall wrote:
Julian Rhodes is the living embodiment of the phrase Bradford City is for life; not just for Wembley. To think his dad tried to make him a dirty Leeds fan...
For all the good they have done for our club (and of course, their club too!!), it just goes to show no one is perfect and at least they seen the light at the end of the tunnel! ;-)

Can't wait for Wembley - bring it on!
[quote][p][bold]KnightMcCall[/bold] wrote: Julian Rhodes is the living embodiment of the phrase Bradford City is for life; not just for Wembley. To think his dad tried to make him a dirty Leeds fan...[/p][/quote]For all the good they have done for our club (and of course, their club too!!), it just goes to show no one is perfect and at least they seen the light at the end of the tunnel! ;-) Can't wait for Wembley - bring it on! Bantam76

11:27am Sat 2 Feb 13

shoesmaker4 says...

WELL DONE JULIAN RHODES AND FAMILY GOOD JOB COME ON CITY
WELL DONE JULIAN RHODES AND FAMILY GOOD JOB COME ON CITY shoesmaker4

11:42am Sat 2 Feb 13

Rambo says...

Prof Rhodes should speak more often. The man talks a great deal of sense.
Prof Rhodes should speak more often. The man talks a great deal of sense. Rambo

12:18pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Skiptonbantam says...

Just like to put on record my thanks to All the background staff and directors who through out the last decade have put us in this position today.

THANK YOU AND WELL DONE

I am 62 and like a child in a sweet shop

CTID

Better not be before Wembly.
Just like to put on record my thanks to All the background staff and directors who through out the last decade have put us in this position today. THANK YOU AND WELL DONE I am 62 and like a child in a sweet shop CTID Better not be before Wembly. Skiptonbantam

12:21pm Sat 2 Feb 13

bcfc1903 says...

Well done Professor David Rhodes and the whole Rhodes family...you've done the club and city proud by being the main players in saving Bradford City Football Club from folding .... giving my children and those of other BCFC fans a great football club to support in the future .

**
Would also like to give Geoffrey Richmond alot of credit as he also did wonders for Bradford City Football Club until it all went pear shaped at he start of the second season in the Premiership. I still say that the situation was retrievable right up to the ITV football deal going tits up....he just became too much of a fan in the end...but thanks for the great years to the Richmond family.

**

We shout with pride...we'll never hide...Claret and Amber.
Well done Professor David Rhodes and the whole Rhodes family...you've done the club and city proud by being the main players in saving Bradford City Football Club from folding .... giving my children and those of other BCFC fans a great football club to support in the future . ** Would also like to give Geoffrey Richmond alot of credit as he also did wonders for Bradford City Football Club until it all went pear shaped at he start of the second season in the Premiership. I still say that the situation was retrievable right up to the ITV football deal going tits up....he just became too much of a fan in the end...but thanks for the great years to the Richmond family. ** We shout with pride...we'll never hide...Claret and Amber. bcfc1903

1:42pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Alvechurch73 says...

Whilst we're giving credit for keeping our club going over the decades let's not forget Stafford.

The Rhodes family have been phenomenal in stabilising our club through very desperate times and ensuring it's future in the current era. Thank you.
Whilst we're giving credit for keeping our club going over the decades let's not forget Stafford. The Rhodes family have been phenomenal in stabilising our club through very desperate times and ensuring it's future in the current era. Thank you. Alvechurch73

3:51pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Victor Clayton says...

Freddy wrote:
*
Well played--ALL the " Rhodes " Family.
*
--and THANK YOU for everything you have done--and will continue to achieve-for Bradford City AFC.
*
I second that!
[quote][p][bold]Freddy[/bold] wrote: * Well played--ALL the " Rhodes " Family. * --and THANK YOU for everything you have done--and will continue to achieve-for Bradford City AFC. *[/p][/quote]I second that! Victor Clayton

7:49pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Whoisevans? says...

I think we can forgive the Luuds episode under the circumstances you have more than made up for that error of judgement. Well done to all the Rhodes and the Lawn family. Come on City you make us proud.
I think we can forgive the Luuds episode under the circumstances you have more than made up for that error of judgement. Well done to all the Rhodes and the Lawn family. Come on City you make us proud. Whoisevans?

2:21am Sun 3 Feb 13

wembley bound says...

Thanks to the Rhodes family could not have done it without you and you do it with dignity not shouting what should and shouldn't be done etc like our near RL neigbours
Thanks to the Rhodes family could not have done it without you and you do it with dignity not shouting what should and shouldn't be done etc like our near RL neigbours wembley bound

11:08am Sun 3 Feb 13

gentlemanbob says...

Hi Gents


Mr Rhodes...Mr Lawn just saying thanks for all the hard work and dedication you put into BCFC/AFC


Yours

Gentlemanbob
Hi Gents Mr Rhodes...Mr Lawn just saying thanks for all the hard work and dedication you put into BCFC/AFC Yours Gentlemanbob gentlemanbob

1:08pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Bantambessie says...

Yes the Rhodes family have been fantastic at the helm of 'our' club and never looking for praise. Just in the background doing what they do best. Also thank you to Mr Lawn and best wishes to your wife.
Yes the Rhodes family have been fantastic at the helm of 'our' club and never looking for praise. Just in the background doing what they do best. Also thank you to Mr Lawn and best wishes to your wife. Bantambessie

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