The Agonising Build Up To Wembley

“Stop looking at Simon Parker’s twitter feed.”

“I’m talking to you!”

“Stop humming that infernal ‘On Our Way’ tune!”

It’s been one of those weeks hasn’t it? You’ve been distracted and slightly in your own world. It’s dragged on endlessly. Slowly but surely those little butterflies in your tummy have started to flutter more and more. In fact, as Saturday approaches, those butterflies seem to be morphing into large angry raptors.

I can’t pretend that the next couple of days are going to be any easier, so here’s a little look back at what I expect we’ve all said, felt and experienced this week. Hopefully sharing it will make us all feel a little bit better…

1.       How’s it still XX days to go?

Saturday 20th May is taking forever to come around isn’t it? It’s moving at roughly the speed of Robert Molenaar on the turn. Every single day takes forever and every single day you remark to your friends that it’s taking AGES TO COME AROUND!

You’re not wrong. It is. But it’s not taking as long as the second half will if we’re defending a slender lead, that’s for sure…

2.       Bzzzzz…

What’s App has been going mad. Your Bradford City group has been alive with banter. The optimist, the pessimist, the guy who just wants to get smashed in The Green Man. The chap buying all available Wembley merchandise. The poor person responsible for arranging train times who has to keep reminding everyone that it’s 07.30 at Leeds Station, not 08.30. Everyone is chirping up. It’s hard to keep up.

 3.       The moment of invincibility

There’s no way City can get to a Playoff final and not win. A little rush of excitement takes hold. We’re gonna do it! Come on! What a journey home it will be. Oh my giddy aunt.

4.       What about those big bad Millwall fans?

The Daily Mail says we’re terrified and are quivering under our beds instead of visiting Wembley. How do we get out of the ground without being beaten to a pulp by a snarling lookalike of Brick Top from Snatch?

OK perhaps not that far, but here’s to a trouble free day.

5.       You’re a world expert on the intricacies of the London Underground network

Hammersmith & City or Circle Line from King’s Cross westbound to either Baker Street or Paddington. From either station, take the Bakerloo Line north to Wembley Central which is in Zone 4. Easy.

 6.       Becoming obsessed with how many tickets City have sold

Who has sold more? Why haven’t we sold 30k? Why isn’t everyone in Bradford going? Why won’t the club release hourly updates? It doesn’t matter. It’s those who are there who count.

7.       The moment of vulnerability

Millwall are good. Steve Morison and Lee Gregory are good. They beat us in the Playoffs last season. Oh god, I feel sick. What a journey home it will be.

8.       Please Mr Postman

A pile of mail. A bill. A takeaway menu. Something addressed to the previous owner. Some junk from O2. Grumble loudly. Ah, at last, your Wembley tickets.

And then, for many; Phone out, snap them, post to Twitter.

9.       Michael Fish, eat your heart out

The weather for Saturday at Wembley is about 16C with sunny intervals. There have been some indications that there is a risk of thundery showers. Visibility is good and humidity is about 54% but you knew that already didn’t you? The Met Office website has surely seen a surge in traffic from Bradford.

10.   Penalty dread

Having watched Town beat Wednesday on penalties, there is simply no way you can physically bear the agony of watching penalties on Saturday. You’ll be sat on the concourse if they happen, or even better, you’ll be curled up in a dark isolated cupboard with your fingers in your ears.

11.   Now you decide to support us…

You know the one. That friend on Facebook whose posts are normally a stream of narcissistic drivel about their children. Suddenly, they’re all ‘Come on City’ and ‘Can’t Wait to Get to Wembley’.

You draft a snarky response but then you leave it. You do right to as well, the more the merrier after all hey? Just block them when they return to posting endless pictures of the kids.

12.   4-4-2, Three Centre Backs, Clarke in the hole?

Lying in bed at night, driving to work, or perhaps even on conference calls at work, you’ve drifted off into a world of tactics. Do we stick an extra centre back in so that we can outnumber their front two. Do we let Clarke exploit the space in behind the front two? What about Marshall and Gillead on either flank? Will Jones start?

Give it up. There’s nothing you can do. Stuart will decide and when he does, we have to believe in his decision.

13.   You’re Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter

Everything is a sign. Like the above professor in the Potter books, you’re interpreting everything. The radio plays John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads; we’ve got it won. Iron Lion Zion comes on; you burst into tears. Anything claret, amber or remotely resembling either colour means *something*.

You’re suddenly massively superstitious too – your City top has to be washed in plenty of time, and you’re frantically trying to remember what underwear and socks you wore to the Fleetwood game.

 14.   Pure exhilaration

What a season it’s been. Back to Wembley again. Stuart McCall you little beauty.

Just imagine the pride if we win. Like you say, what a journey home it will be.

(Does a little giddy squeal and shake, and then gets all nervous again)

And breathe.

@jpieslak