A DIE-HARD Bradford City fan who revelled in the club’s giant-killing exploits at Chelsea last month was given an extra present yesterday - a visit from the FA Cup to her Bradford home.

Mary Thornton, 85, was in the front row of the stand during the 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge, and the FA tracked her down after seeing a picture of her celebrating wildly when the fourth goal was scored.

The cup was brought up especially from Wembley Stadium, and for two hours, took pride of place in Mrs Thornton’s living room.

Her son, John, had seen the picture of his mum celebrating with her other son, Chris, online, and asked Bradford City if he could have a copy for her.

The FA had also noted the picture, and e-mailed him to ask whether “she would mind” having the cup brought to her home.

“I was gobsmacked,” she said. “Would I mind? I couldn’t believe it, and had to ask if it was genuine.

“Who could ever imagine having the FA Cup in their house, it’s a huge honour.

“I’m almost lost for words, which is rare for me.

“It’s just unbelievable, what a privilege.

“I’m just hoping it’s not the last time we see the cup in Bradford!”

An ardent Bantams fan who follows the team home and away, Mrs Thornton, of Eccleshill, described City’s fourth-round win against Jose Mourinho’s team of superstars as a “wonderful day”.

“The Chelsea game was magic, they were beautiful goals,” she said.

“I’ve watched the footage that many times I’ve nearly worn it out.

“Beating Chelsea away after being two down, I’ve never seen anything like it!

“It was definitely one of the best games I’ve seen, alongside the night we beat Arsenal in the League Cup. I’ll never forget that night as long as I live.

“I had just about got over Chelsea, and now this comes along. I’m not going to sleep for a week!”

A member of the Shipley Bantams fan club, Mrs Thornton said she regularly started attending Valley Parade after it re-opened following the 1985 fire disaster, but had “loved” football since she was a child.

Sitting next to the trophy, she said one of her first memories of the famous competition was attending the 1951 FA Cup final, between Newcastle and Blackpool, when in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, where she managed to secure the autographs of Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen.

She is also the proud owner of a picture of the Bradford cup-winning team of 1911, when the Bantams beat Newcastle 1-0 after a replay at Old Trafford.

“Jimmy Speirs was the captain of Bradford, and scored the winning goal,” she said.

“I’d like to point out I wasn’t there though!

“It’s a long time ago, and I think it’s about time the cup came back here.”

In 1910, the FA found the design of the trophy had been pirated, so it was withdrawn and presented to Lord Kinnaird to mark his 21 years as FA president.

A number of companies were invited to submit designs for a new one, but, as Mrs Thornton and her sons proudly point out, it was Messrs Fattorini and Sons of Bradford who had their design accepted, with City becoming the first winners of the new trophy, which was subsequently used until the 1991 final.

Although she moved to Bradford when three years old, Mrs Thornton was born in the North East, near City’s next opponents, Premier League Sunderland.

“I was born near Sunderland, so it’s the draw I wanted,” she said.

“I have a bit of an affinity with Sunderland, but I still want City to beat them.

“Hopefully having the cup here will be a lucky charm for next week.

“I think it will be close. The pitch is tricky because of the weather, but it might dry before next week. I’ll say 2-1 to City, that would do me.”

Going to “99 per cent” of City’s games, Mrs Thornton describes her relationship with the club as a “massive” part of her life.

“I feel sorry for people who don’t like football, they don’t know what they’re missing,” she said.

“I love the singing. No matter where we go, the supporters are fantastic.

“I cannot explain why the FA have singled me out, I just don’t know. There are other fans I know who deserve it just as much as me.

“City takes up so much of my life, but what more of a pleasant life could you have?

“How can you sum up having the FA Cup in your house? I’ve had to pinch myself, it’s unbelievable.”

FA Cup press officer Matt Phillips said: “I was looking back over the footage of Bradford City’s win at Chelsea and could see Mary celebrating on the front row at Stamford Bridge.

“BBC pundits like Robbie Savage were saying it was the biggest upset in FA Cup history so it seemed like a good idea to mark that shock result by taking the trophy into the local Bradford community and Mary seemed the perfect choice.

“Mary is clearly well known at Valley Parade as the club knew who I was talking about almost straight away when we were trying to make contact.

“The FA Cup doesn’t make many house visits so we hope Mary and her friends and family enjoyed an afternoon with one of the most iconic pieces of silverware in sport.”