Bradford City midfielder Ravenhill admits: I'm just a jealous guy (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City ace Ricky Ravenhill just a jealous guy as Swindon party
Bradford City 0 Swindon Town 0
The promotion party was in full swing at Valley Parade.
Manager was being tossed into the air; players were swallow-diving in front of their whooping fans.
Swindon were entitled to enjoy the moment and they were sure making the most of it.
Meanwhile, envious home eyes were taking it all in.
For Ricky Ravenhill, those scenes of someone else cavorting on City’s manner will provide an extra spur when business resumes in pre-season.
Those vivid pictures of Swindon’s celebrations will be etched on the mind through every gruelling training session.
The City skipper admitted: “Good luck to Swindon because they’ve deserved it but you do feel jealous watching them.
“That’s exactly where we want to be this time next season. We want to be doing that as a group and celebrating promotion – that’s the incentive for us now.”
Another demoralising campaign at least finished on a decent note. The Bantams could claim a moral victory, even if Swindon were still a little hung-over from wrapping up the title the previous weekend.
City were by far the better side on display, even if the scoreline did not reflect it. With a second goalless draw, they did manage the honour of being the only side in the division that Paolo Di Canio’s champions never scored against.
Ravenhill said it was a matter of pride for the players to thank the supporters for sticking by them through some pretty meagre moments.
“We were determined to finish on a high. It was important we put on a show for the fans and I think we did that.
“It was a fantastic occasion against the champions. We knew we’d give them a good game.
“And hopefully we’ve given people something positive to go away with and that will encourage them to come back next season.”
It was one of those days which left you wondering how City could have finished so far down the table. They won the battles in every part of the pitch.
When the Paul Benson deal controversially fell down in November and he headed for Swindon instead, the final-day fixture always looked a bit tasty.
The ultimate Doomsday scenario was a Benson goal having an impact on City’s survival ambitions. Thankfully recent results meant that was never going to happen.
But as Parkinson pointed out before the game, Benson’s non-arrival opened the door for James Hanson. It was his time to step up and carry the burden – a challenge he has risen to since Christmas.
While there are contract uncertainties throughout the squad, City have no concerns with the front two.
They are waiting for Nahki Wells to sign a longer deal but, at worst, he is still on board for next season.
The emerging partnership between the strikers bodes well for a brighter future.
Parkinson said: “Not many clubs in this division will be going into the summer with a front two of the calibre of Hanson and Wells.
“They chase everything but now they’re also linking the play and really getting hold of the ball.
“I lost count of the number of times the ball’s gone into them and they are setting each other up.
“I really feel those two are coming of age. I can only see positives in them because they will get better.”
While Hanson and Wells had Swindon’s back four constantly on their toes, Benson effectively disappeared into Andrew Davies’ pocket.
The centre half was back for the last game of his loan and gave nothing away. For Hanson and Wells at one end of the pitch, read Davies and Luke Oliver at the other.
In between, David Syers was buzzing around midfield with a performance full of energy and verve.
If, and it’s a big if, Saturday was his final City game then he delivered a powerful case for somebody to pick him up.
Fans will be hoping that his contract issue at Valley Parade now gets resolved. He demonstrated once again that he adds something to the side going forward that no other current player in the squad can.
But Syers did miss the biggest chance during a second half when City asked all the questions.
Parkinson had told them at half-time to use the ball better and make the final passes count.
Will Atkinson, who had made little impression up to the break, took the manager’s words on board.
Gaining in confidence, he set up a lightning counter-attack with a well-measured ball to pick out Syers bursting through.
The midfielder’s first touch to cushion the pass was perfect as he advanced on Wes Fotheringham. The Kop waited for the net to flutter from the one-on-one but Syers ran his shot straight into the relieved keeper.
He did have the ball in the net soon after from a crashing half-volley but the effort was chalked off for Hanson’s challenge on Fotheringham.
So Valley Parade saw its first goalless draw since March 2010 against Notts County, who also went up as champions.
And City head off for summer dreaming of that day when they can emulate those visitors and arrange their own celebrations.