JOCKSTRAPS, spilling curry and a prang in the car park – they spring to mind when I think back to my initial impressions of Valley Parade and covering City.

At this worrying time when we have no football to look forward to, let’s wallow in nostalgia and recall moments that stick in the mind as a fan and a reporter.

Last week I threw out the appeal for supporters for their memories of their first experience at the match. The response has been overwhelming.

So, we plan to run a series recalling “My First Game” with the views and recollections from those venturing into Valley Parade – or watching the Bantams elsewhere – for the very first time.

Excuse me for being a bit self-indulgent here but I’d like to kick off what I hope will become a fun stroll down memory lane with the first time I attended at BD8 as well as my “debut” in the reporting chair for the Telegraph & Argus.

My first trip to Valley Parade was in the away section of the press box, covering the game on behalf of the visiting team.

It was May 1998 and the final day of the season.

City were comfortably mid-table with little to play for as Paul Jewell got his feet under the management table. How that would change 12 months later!

But for opponents Portsmouth, the stakes were huge. They arrived in West Yorkshire as one of four teams scrapping to avoid falling into the two remaining relegation spots alongside Reading.

Stoke and Manchester City, who were playing each other, were only goal difference and one point behind respectively. Everything was on the line for Alan Ball’s men.

As it turned out, they beat the Bantams 3-1 – Craig Ramage scoring a late consolation a minute before Robbie Blake was sent off.

But the ground became a carnival all round as everyone celebrated the demise of Man City despite a thumping five-goal blitz at the Britannia Stadium.

As one of two reporters sent by the paper covering Pompey, I was tasked afterwards with getting to a player for post-match reaction.

It was easier said than done on a pitch that quickly became engulfed with an army of relieved away fans.

By the time I had wrestled my way through the mob, most of the team had bolted towards the sanctuary of the dressing rooms.

But one player remained – marooned by the edge of the penalty area in front of the Bradford End. And nearly naked.

Greek midfielder Michalis Vlachos had tossed his shin pads into the crowd as souvenirs and then his shirt.

But the entourage who had surrounded him wanted more; so off came the boots, the socks and eventually the shorts.

When I finally made contact for a chat in front of a boisterous audience, Vlachos was down to a jockstrap protecting his modesty.

It’s fair to say I’ve never carried out a pitch-side interview at Valley Parade in quite the same way since.

Two and a half years later, and fully clothed, I covered the first of coming up to 1,000 City games in my role at the T&A.

Manchester City away at the now-defunct Maine Road was where it all began for me and this newspaper in the doomed second season in the Premiership.

It was an inauspicious start – and that was before we even got to kick-off.

Keen to make an impression as the new boy, I arrived far too early with a colleague.

So we decided to push the boat out and head for Manchester’s famed “curry mile” in nearby Rusholme (which is nowhere near as good as Bradford, obviously).

It was here that, deep in pre-match discussion, I reversed my car straight into the only other motor in the car park at midday.

We then proceeded to enjoy the lunchtime buffet – my fellow reporter even taking some with him after sticking an elbow of his jacket in the bowl of biryani without realising.

The smell of curry lingered through the game and journey home afterwards; I didn’t have the heart to point it out to the culprit who was still oblivious.

The game itself? Oh yeah, the Bantams lost 2-0.

Paul Dickov and Alf-Inge Haaland scored but I don’t remember either.

I do vaguely recall Ashley Ward missing a couple of headers from good positions – I’m not sure if Chris Hutchings’ side had an actual effort on target - and a security guard on the players’ entrance keen to make tracks afterwards because he was moonlighting on the door for a Britney Spears concert in town.

Those were my first games – now it’s over to you for the next instalment.