Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford City Capital One Cup run has won the hearts of the nation
The magnitude of City’s cup exploits started to sink in when retired transport engineer Jim Parkinson opened his door to newspaper reporters.
The 71-year-old and wife Marjorie still live in the north-east where son Phil’s passion for football grew from regular trips to Ayresome Park to watch Middlesbrough.
That area now claims the Bantams boss as one of their own – as the country take Bradford City to their hearts. Rarely, if ever, has a team gripped the national imagination in such a way before a cup final.
“It shows there is magic in football,” said the City manager. “The level of interest we’ve had is something I’ve never experienced before.
“My mum and dad have had reporters wanting to speak to them, the kids go to school and the conversation is all about the game. Friends of friends of friends want to talk about it, you walk in a pub or have a quiet coffee in a cafe and people are discussing Bradford City.
“We’ve got the club in the forefront of people’s minds again, not just within the city but the wider area. It’s brilliant after everything Bradford City have been through over the last ten years or so.”
Parkinson is not the flashy type who craves the limelight. While others will jump through hoops to get on TV, the man at the City helm is happy to let his team do the talking.
But that is not to say he cannot savour the feel-good publicity generated by an achievement that may never be equalled.
“You’ve got to enjoy it because you work towards moments like this. But you also try and keep your credibility and not throw yourself in front of every camera which comes your way.
“I’ve said many times that one thing that’s pleased me most about this is the way all the players have conducted themselves in the media. It’s just a great experience for them and myself and we’ve earned this.”
Parkinson’s pragmatic nature views Wembley as just the beginning. While his own future is still to be rubberstamped – City hope a deal will be done in the next couple of weeks – the building blocks are in place to secure the club’s position for many years to come.
He added: “We’ve got to use this as the start. We’ve got to make sure that Bradford continue to stay in the spotlight for the right reasons which we will do.
“Swansea are a great example. Ten years ago they were on the verge of going out the league .
They’ve put a great structure in place and now find themselves in the Premier League after going through the divisions. We are trying to get the same infrastructure here.
“One day obviously I won’t be manager and the chairmen won’t be chairmen. But the base will be there to keep the club moving forward.
“I do feel that’s happening. We are in a very good position and the finances generated from the cup will help that.”
The clamour for tickets is vivid proof of the potential size of City’s fanbase. With well over 30,000 making the trek south, others have still missed out on the golden ticket.
Parkinson said: “Those floating fans who may have thought of drifting away are coming back. Now let’s keep them.
“The support we’ve had from other clubs around the country has been quite extraordinary.
“But I suppose it is extraordinary what we have done getting to the final of a major cup competition. It’s absolutely unheard of for a team at this level.
“It’s something that nobody can ever take away from us whatever happens on the day.
“The chairmen must be very proud men. This is a special occasion for the Rhodes and Lawn families.
“They’ve done a great job in keeping this club’s head above water in some very difficult times.”