IAN Botham became a national hero when he almost single-handedly won the Ashes in 1981.

But for three City fans, Valley Parade springs to mind at the mention of the cricketing icon.

We throw open the column to the supporters for the second part of the My First Game series, which has produced a staggering response.

Hopefully we can include many of those memories over the coming weeks as we bask in Bantams nostalgia to forget the current circumstances for a while.

We kick off with Botham’s visit to Valley Parade on a Wednesday night in February 1985.

He was one of the last sportsmen to play professionally in both football and cricket, supplementing his England heroics as a solid centre half for Scunthorpe.

His appearance in the Iron ranks in the Freight Rover Trophy – the equivalent of the modern-day Leasing.com competition – attracted a young Rob Booth to his first City game.

Rob said: “It was a 2-1 victory. Beefy Botham was playing just after admitting his marijuana habit.

“It was a great season to start following City, great players and great results – but then the fire.

“Thanks to my schoolfriends Mick, Marc and Matt for dragging me along. We have lost touch along the way but hoping you guys are all right.”

Mark Pearson recalls the route to the ground that night for his first game.

“(I remember) walking over the old bridge from Valley Road to Midland Road and looking through the gaps in the wooden floor onto the railway track. I was in the old Midland Road stand, great memories.”

Paul Ward, who still has the programme, remembered being: “In the old stand, under the lights, cushions for hire! The club shop was a small portacabin in the car park.”

Mark Simmonds enjoyed his first City game when Valley Parade was officially reopened after the disaster with a friendly against England.

He said: “My only memory is being stood at the very bottom of the Kop and Peter Shilton saying hello to me at some point!”

Fast forward to 1995 and a pre-season friendly that saw the Valley Parade love affair begin for Danny Manning with a game against Manchester United, Roy Keane scoring the only goal.

“I was going with my cousin and my uncle who are both huge United fans,” he said. “They had a spare ticket and asked if I wanted to go with them.

“I was eight, my cousin nine, and we were both really excited as you can imagine. I was so excited that despite my mum's warnings about being cold, I went in full kit, shorts, socks, the lot.

“We walked to the ground from the city centre along Manningham Lane in a big group of United fans, and one of them was carrying what looked like a massive bedsheet all rolled up - my uncle said it was for a display of some sort at half-time.

“I was in the away end with the United fans in the Symphony Stand and no one minded that I had my City colours on.

“During half-time I found out what the big bedsheet was all about. It was a huge banner in support of Eric Cantona, who was banned at the time for his karate kick at Palace.

“It took up the whole of the top tier from memory and I had loads of fun jumping up and down under it while the Manchester fans sang songs about King Eric.”

Tom, alias @bctomuk on Twitter, was also there for the first time that night – but his dad missed Keane’s goal because he’d gone to the toilet.

Dave Armstrong was a Man United fan until his first City game against Cambridge in 1992.

“Gary Robson (famous for being Bryan’s brother) scored a worldie from the edge of the box – in the diamond Freeman’s kit.

“I pulled down the MUFC posters when I got home. I’m still hooked 28 years later.”

The reaction of the crowd is what stood out most for Dave Evans when he looks back to his first game at home to Colchester in September 1981.

He said: “We won but I was surprised how much time other fans spent moaning at the team. How naive!

"For the avoidance of doubt, I was quickly made aware by my older relatives that this was an integral part of the 'fun'.

“I also wondered why there was no commentary.”

Steve Boldy was not too sure of the terrace etiquette when he went with a couple of school mates two days after his 16th birthday in November 1984 to see City beat Millwall 3-1.

“After one goal I can remember being pushed into someone in front of me and being terribly embarrassed!”

There will be more memories published in the coming weeks. If you haven't contributed yet, feel free to send details of your first game by email to simon.parker@nqyne.co.uk or @ParkerTandA on Twitter.