World Cup fever is spreading across the district today as Bradford prepares to watch England’s first World Cup semi-final in nearly 30 years tonight.

The clocktower at Bradford City Hall has been ringing to the tune of the England football anthem, Three Lions, every hour from 1pm until 4pm.

The song’s chant of ‘It’s coming home’ will also be seen on electronic road signs across the district with messages of support for England manager, Gareth Southgate’s men.

Meanwhile, England fans pose for a picture at Leeds Bradford Airport as they boarded a plane.

Lights across Bradford city centre will shine in the England kit colours tonight from dusk. The lights on City Hall’s clock tower, City Park mirror pool, Forster Square Station arches and Bradford Council’s Margaret McMillan Tower building will all be lit up in support of our sporting heroes.

Bradford Council has handed out England flags to staff to display in Council vehicles driving around the district, so that they can show support for the team. Flags have also been given to many of our district’s taxi drivers so they can join in the atmosphere.

An England flag has been hung from the Council’s Margaret McMillan Tower building, as well as the flags already hoisted up in Centenary Square. The Airedale shopping centre in Keighley has also been emblazoned in red and white.

Bradford Bulls will be screening tonight’s big match and the Council is providing free coach travel for fans who want to take in the game at the Odsal Stadium. Two coaches will shuttle fans to and from Centenary Square (just opposite Provident) to Odsal from 5pm.

For supporters in Keighley who wish to soak up the atmosphere with fellow England fans, Keighley Cougars will also be showing the game on a big screen at Cougar Park.

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council said, “Getting to the World Cup semi-final is a truly amazing achievement and whatever happens tonight the England team and fans can all be proud of the success the squad have had at what has been a fantastic tournament. However, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the team will be able to make history and reach the final.”

The Lord Mayor Coun Zafar Ali has decked out the mayoral office in England gear in honour of Gareth Southgate and the England team. He said, “We want the squad to know that the Bradford district is right behind them and will be cheering the players on to victory.”

Bradford Council will also be providing 2,000 new footballs to primary schools and special schools across the district to encourage children who have been inspired by England’s young team to pick up a ball and emulate their footballing heroes.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Executive member for Sport, said: “You can’t fail to be inspired by what Gareth Southgate and his squad have achieved at this year’s World Cup.

“Whatever happens tonight thousands of children in Bradford and across England will be inspired to get involved in football and sport and I’m sure many of them will grow up to be our future sporting heroes.”

Wayne Jacob’s, chair of Active Bradford and former Bradford City player, said: “It's great to see the England players playing with a smile on their face. Their togetherness, discipline and humility has helped to give them the foundation to express themselves individually and as a team, they look like they are really enjoying themselves and are representing our nation so well. Come on England we are all behind you, you can do it!”

Many pubs, bars and venues will screen the match, including Bradford Park Avenue Social Club, The Ginger Goose, Salts Bar, Sunbridge Sports Bar and The Turf Pub.
The Shipley Central group has spent nearly £1,000 on promotional literature and decorating its Shipley Central offices in Kirkgate with England flags. 
Asif Shah, of Shipley Central group, said: “We have provided stickers and flags to all 200 drivers of Baildon Taxis, Wrose Village, Eccleshill Premier and Shipley Central.”