IT’S a big place to play; a big crowd to play in front of and a demanding one.”

The words of Peter Taylor in 2011 after his final home defeat at the Bradford City helm.

Taylor spoke of a fear factor from playing at Valley Parade – and not just because he was getting barracked by large sections of the crowd in a loss to Chesterfield that cemented his decision to walk.

His team at the time, one that would finish in the club’s lowest position for 45 years, appeared scared of playing at home. They would end an awful campaign with ten wins at Valley Parade – but that was matched by the number of away victories.

“If you want to play for Bradford City, you have to overcome that fear.”

That was one of his final pronouncements after a year in charge that was best forgotten.

It’s been a theme that has hung around BD8 for most of this century. The old cliche of turning Valley Parade into a “fortress” would sound like a cheap attempt at gallows humour.

Long-suffering season-ticket holders must have wondered if there would ever come another day when the pre-match quaking in the boots would come from the cramped constraints of the visiting dressing room and not their own.

But five years on and that point has finally been reached.

WWWWWWWDWDDWWDDWW reads like the keys on the computer have got wedged but that is City’s league home form.

When a relegation-bound Colchester side without a league win in four months rolled up on a chilly Tuesday night and came from behind to take the points, the grumbles were of the “that’s typical City” variety.

It was hard to disagree. That defeat on March 1 was the fourth from 16 home games and hardly a ringing endorsement for a team with top-six pretensions.

You’d have been laughed out of sight to suggest what would follow.

From being booed off on St David’s Day, City have spectacularly transformed home jeers into cheers with a remarkable unbeaten stretch of 17 games, 12 wins and a haul of 41 points from the possible 51.

Only Scunthorpe and Liverpool have gone longer without losing in the league on their own patch, although Jurgen Klopp’s men have played three games fewer since Manchester United won at Anfield in mid-January.

Manchester City, United, Chelsea – even champions Leicester have all tripped up at home following that setback against Colchester.

You can even add European giants Barcelona, Bayern Munich – who lost at home to Mainz the following day – and Paris St Germain to that list.

Real Madrid’s last La Liga defeat at the Bernabeu came the Sunday before but they have only played ten at home since.

So apart from Borussia Dortmund, unbeaten in the Bundesliga at the indomitable Signal Iduna Park since April 2015, you can argue Valley Parade has become one of the toughest venues for visiting teams in Europe!

Seven straight wins to sign off Phil Parkinson’s final campaign have been followed with another ten unbeaten under Stuart McCall – and there is a strong case for arguing that the five draws in that tally could all have been converted into victories.

Last season’s tally of 47 home points was City’s best since Paul Jewell’s heroes clinched promotion to the Premier League in 1999.

It was only the second time since then that they had won more than half their games. The other was the successful escape from League Two in 2013 – when the Bantams still tripped up on half a dozen occasions in their own backyard.

McCall’s “nearly” season of 2008-09 has produced the lowest number of Valley Parade defeats in modern records.

Just Bournemouth and Port Vale came away victorious but ten draws – the only occasion that has hit double figures in the last 20 years – watered down home advantage.

Otherwise, City have averaged nearly eight home losses a season; a one-in-three ratio is hardly the stuff to have stomachs trembling as visiting clubs rumbled along the M62.

When Parkinson took charge, his big aim was to make Valley Parade “our patch” again.

“All the talk was about every team coming to Bradford, enjoying our ground and relishing the chance to play here. That can’t be right.”

They don’t any more. It is finally a place where visitors fear to tread.