FA Cup: Remembering Bradford City’s amazing win against Chelsea

The FA Cup returns this week with the fourth round ties set to get underway on Friday 25th January, with the potential for a giant killing stronger than ever. There was plenty of upsets in round three, with the likes of Oldham Athletic, Barnet, Accrington Stanley, Newport County and Gillingham all upsetting higher league opposition.

Ahead of this week’s ties, we take a trip down memory lane and explore Bradford City’s incredible 4-2 win over Chelsea from 2015. But before we do so, you can bet on which team will relegate on Betfair right now.

The Bantams had to navigate past Millwall in a third round replay before their dream tie at Stamford Bridge could be realised, and boy, did they live that dream.

First half

Bradford’s daunting task wasn’t made any easier when the Chelsea starting XI was announced. The likes of Petr Cech, Gary Cahill, Oscar and Didier Drogba were all included from the off and as expected, the home side started the game on the front foot.

Manager Jose Mourinho was looking for an 11th successive home win, and things were very much going to plan when Cahill put the Blues in front after 21 minutes. The England centre-back found the back of the net after steering in Oscar’s left-wing corner.

At that point, Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was likely thinking the worst and those fears were confirmed when Ramires doubled Chelsea’s lead on 38 minutes, after playing a neat one-two with a certain Mohammed Salah.

Mourinho’s men looked in complete control from that point and it appeared that the west Londoners just needed to see out the match – something of which they specialised in under the Portuguese manager – but the magic of the cup was about to be unleashed via a Jon Stead thunderbolt.

The former Blackburn Rovers striker got City back into the game just four minutes before the break, scoring a marvellous effort from just outside the box to give the Bantams following something to cheer.


Second half

Filipe Morais, who started his career at Chelsea, came back to haunt them when he brought Bradford level after 75 minutes. The midfielder side footed home after the home side left him completely unmarked at the back post.

Mourinho tried to regain the lead when he introduced Eden Hazard straight after the equaliser, but it was to no avail as Bradford took a shock lead with eight minutes remaining. Andy Halliday was the hero, after he was teed up by Stead on the edge of the box before firing home past a despairing Cech in the Chelsea goal.

There was only ever going to be one winner from that moment, and Parkinson’s men made sure of victory when Mark Yeates slotted home after great hold-up play from Stead. Some 6,000 Bantams fans made the trip and it’s fair to say, they probably won’t ever see a cup upset like it.

“It's a disgrace for a big team to lose to a small team from a lower league," Mourinho told BBC Sport after the upset.

"Me and the players must feel ashamed," he added. If truth be told, a Premier League giant shouldn’t lose to a side 49 places below them in the football pyramid but the FA Cup is no normal club competition.

For Parkinson and his heroes, it’ll go down in Bradford folklore as quite possibly their best ever result.



Will New Live Streaming Service Deter Fans From Attending Matches?

Image source:  Pexels

Image source: Pexels

Bradford City was one of the many EFL clubs to sign up to the new iFollow streaming services allowing fans in the UK and Republic of Ireland access to live matches, extended highlights and behind the scenes footage in HD on their desktops, tablets and mobile devices.

Around the same time as this service was launched, Sky also started showing additional EFL matches via their red button service. But how will these new services affect match-going fans?

Live streaming is here to stay

Live streaming is nothing new and has become an integral part of many industries. Video game live streaming has been popular since the mid-2010s, through services such as Twitch. Beyond the mainstream, though, online casino suites featuring live games where players can interact with live dealers in real time have also grown in popularity during the last decade, giving players greater choice than ever before. More recently, on-demand streaming services have started streaming live TV and news shows. In some ways, it is surprising that sports broadcasters have taken so long to get on board.

Impact on attendances

It is hard to predict the impact that these services will have on match attendances. There are those who believe it will boost interest in the game and prompt an increase in attendance at matches that cannot be streamed, such as 3:00pm Saturday kick-offs (although that could be set to change). But there are those who feel fans might be tempted to put their feet up with a beer in front of a screen at home rather than go to the extra trouble and expense of attending a live match.

Improved access

The service will strive to engage fans who do not go currently go to live matches. In that respect, it is being viewed as an alternative rather than a replacement for traditional match attendance. Non-match-going fans will now have improved access and may feel more connected to the club. In the long run, this could boost their desire to attend live matches.

The away game question

A lot of focus will be on away attendances where the time, cost and effort involved to travel is much higher. For Bradford City and most clubs outside of the top flight, away games are often attended by small groups of diehard supporters who follow the club through thick and thin. If these groups start to become decimated by live streaming, it will be a real negative for the game.


"Bradford City v Swansea City, Wembley -" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Steve M. Walker

Revenue streams

Behind any new football venture such as this, there is generally a financial motive and league organisers believe live streaming will provide extra revenue opportunities for clubs. Again, it has yet to be laid out how significant this will be and what form it will take, but the money currently generated from traditional TV revenue suggests live streaming could become a massive money spinner in the near future as more customers embrace the concept.

One can only hope that any extra money generated will be used to ensure the live match experience is still the pinnacle for fans at all levels.


Bradford deemed favourites to be relegated from League One

The Bantams are now the heavy favourites to be relegated from League One this season after slumping to a seventh consecutive defeat on Saturday. Bradford had Adam Chicksen sent off as they lost 1-0 to table topping Portsmouth on a frustrating afternoon at Northern Commercials Stadium. They played reasonably well against one of the favourites to be promoted from League One this season, but ultimately they were not clinical enough in front of goal. The Bantams are now in desperate need of a positive result to arrest an alarming slide that has seen them drop to the very bottom of the table.

‘‘LLLLL’’

‘‘LLLLL’’

The leading bookmakers listed on OddsMarket now make David Hopkin’s men 1/4 favourites for the drop. Struggling Plymouth are out at 8/15, while AFC Wimbeldon are 8/11 and Gillingham are 7/4, which makes pretty grim reading for Bantams fans. Hopkin has now lost nine of his 11 games in charge since taking over from Michael Collins on a two-year deal on September 4. The former Scotland international has been unable to galvanise the squad and they look desperately short of confidence right now.

The board gave Hopkin the dreaded vote of confidence after the 4-2 home defeat to Coventry on October 23, declaring a belief in his ability to reverse the slump, but they have since lost 4-0 to Gillingham and 1-0 to Portsmouth. They have managed just 12 goals in 17 games and conceded 31, leaving them with a -19 goal difference, the worst in the league. Doom and gloom abounds. There might now be a temptation to axe Hopkin, but the Bantams are going through managers like Kleenex during flu season. Stuart McCall was sacked in February after losing six on the bounce, and Simon Grayson left at the end of the season, while Collins lasted just six matches.

Starting afresh would be a gamble in itself, but the board may have no choice if Bradford lose the next league game at Peterborough. Anyone with gallows humour among the Bradford faithful might be tempted to take the even money on offer for them to finish bottom of the table this season. Betting on football is growing increasingly popular, and fans do not simply wager on which teams will emerge successful. Relegation markets are big business for bookmakers and punters, while match betting on League One games is huge.

If you need some help and advice about what to bet on, OddsMarket is a great tool. It shows you all the odds on the latest games featuring Bradford and their rivals, allowing you to choose the bookmakers with the most attractive odds. You can also see if they are getting longer or shorter, which allows you to see how confident the market is in them getting a result. There is a live score function and a forum with bettors discussing strategies. You can customise the site to make it appropriate for you and you can learn a lot by reading the articles and watching the videos in which leading analysts give out tips on the weekend’s games and on futures markets.

There is a bet calculator and a bet tracker, and both tools help you stay ahead of the game when betting on the Bantams and other teams. The best thing about the site is that it is totally free to use, with no catch whatsoever. OddsMarket is developed as a comparison site and a helpful guide to punters, giving you the best possible chance of beating the bookmakers as you speculate on matches and long-term markets such as League One relegation, so there is no reason not to give it a whirl.

The other latest news is that old Chairman and Bantams fan Julian Rhodes is back at the helm on a consultancy basis. This might affect the odds slightly but I woulnd’t expect massive market shifts as his jobs is to re connect with fans rather than re connect with 3 points!!

This Season in Numbers - Look Away if You’re Squeamish

Even the most ardent defenders of everything Bradford City AFC will agree that the season has not gone too well so far. The recent 2-0 home defeat to Rochdale, who, with all due respect, aren’t exactly Barcelona, meant that only Plymouth Argyle separate the Bantams from the bottom.

The fans have been, as ever, loyal, with over 15,000 at Valley Parade to witness Rochdale put Bradford to the sword with two late penalties. While Bradford were dogged, and you couldn’t exactly fault the side for effort, Rochdale arguably deserved the win, even if it did look like David Hopkins men would take a point.

Indeed, anyone checking out the Rochdale match, and there are lots of ways to check out live sports streaming these days even it you are not able to make it to the stadium and the games are not on TV, will know that Bradford should not be faulted for effort.

However, the numbers speak for themselves and they are not good. A selection of stats of the season so far are presented below. Overall, they suggest one main thing – we lack true quality.

The League Table

As most fans are painfully aware, Bradford sit bottom on 10 points from 15 games. The defeat against Gillingham was Bradford’s ninth in the last 11 games. The good news is that we have only played Wimbledon (a one-nil victory) and Bristol Rovers (a 0-0 draw) from the bottom six sides. The bad news is that we have yet to play the top two teams in League One, Portsmouth and Peterborough.

The Teams Around Bradford

Plymouth sit 22nd on 13 points and Wimbledon are still on 11 points (thankfully!), headed by Shrewsbury and Gillingham now on 15 points after the latters 4-0 demolition of the Bantams on Saturday. This result as as well as Bristol Rovers and Oxford gaining points makes the table look a whole lot worse for City as we get in to the Winter months.

What the Bookies Say

Bookmakers don’t always get it right, so take the following with a pinch of salt perhaps: Bradford are odds-on with several bookmakers to be relegated, with the shortest odds coming from Sky Bet at 8/13. Bet365 consider Bradford at even money. Bet Victor has priced Bradford at 7/2 to finish bottom, with Plymouth the favourites at 5/4. If you fancy a miracle, 188Bet have priced it at 2500/1 that Bradford win League One. If you believe in minor miracles only, BetVictor have put it at 100/1 for a Top 6 finish.

Goal Problems

One of Bradford’s biggest problems so far has been scoring, with a haul of 10 goals making an average of 0.71 per game (the second lowest in the league after Bristol Rovers). However, Valley Parade has been worse, with just three goals scored at home all season (0.43 per game) – that’s worrying. Jack Payne can’t do it all himself.

VP.jpg

The Bright Side

Every single point that Bradford have gained in the league this season (three wins and one draw) has come with a clean sheet. That shows Hopkin at least has the players working with some modicum of game management. Moreover, 50% of all defeats have been by one goal, meaning the team can remain competitive over 90 mins, and Bradford have yet to be beaten by more than two goals, so they are not the whipping boys by any means.

Is that a case of clutching at straws? Perhaps, but there is a long way to go in the season. Consider this final stat: Last season at exactly the same stage of 14 games played, Plymouth had amassed seven points and were, like Bradford now, backed by the bookies and fans to be relegated. They finished 7th. Anything can happen right?

Written by Jake Womersley (a very young writer who wanted to pen something down for us!)

A Bit of Premier League...

Maurizio Sarri’s Verdict on Kante, Giroud and Hazard

Chelsea new manager, Maurizio Sarri could be without three of his World Cup star players in the Blues’ first Premier League match opener of the season against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Only recently did World Cup stars N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud returned to Stamford Bridge and has only had limited time to work with the new manager, who succeeded Antonio  Conte with the Blues. Most of the football predictions can’t see anything else than N’Golo being one of the leading players of Chelsea this season.

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Also in the list is Belgium silver ball winner, Eden Hazard could be missing the season opener after being given some time off for helping the Belgian Reds to the semi-finals and third place at Russia 2018.

However, Sarri was asked about his goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who skipped training this week to try to force a move to Real Madrid according to the reports currently going on in the media.

All three players(Giroud, Kante and Hazard) came off the bench in the second half of the 0-0 draw against Lyon in the International Champions Cup on Tuesday, but the Blues’ coach thinks its too early for them to participate in any competitive game.

"They arrived yesterday or the day before," the 59-year-old manager said via Goal to the reporters after his team won the penalty shoot-out in a 5-4 win against Lyon.

"It was better for them to play 25 minutes than to have a training session alone with the physical coach. They have to work, obviously.

"I'm very happy. I can work with all my players for the first time tomorrow, so we have only three days to prepare for the next match. And the next match will be very important. Very, very, very important."

Yes, I think so. Especially altogether." Sarri said when asked if it will be hard for the three players in facing Huddersfield on Saturday.

With Kante growing to become a doubt in the midfield for the club’s opener, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to take over from him should the Frenchman not feature in the first game.

Speaking on Cheek future, Sarri said: "He's potentially a great player, he has to improve from the tactical point of view. "But I think that's not a problem. He's very young. I think he can be a very beautiful player for us."

Maurizio Sarri on bringing Chelsea back to their top form claims it could take two to three months. "I think that we have to work," Sarri added. "But we started to work, to work two days ago. "But I think, potentially, we can become in two or three months a very good team."

It takes hard work and time, everyone knows that but is the Chelsea board willing to wait that for a manager?

If Bradford City went to the World Cup...?!

A silly notion to be honest but all this qualifying for the World Cup got me thinking of our current squad and where we're at in terms if international prowess. We have Colin Doyle who is second string at Ireland and Shay McCarten (remember him?) who also gets the odd call-up but who REALISTICALLY could cut it and for which team? Very random thought but one for me to ponder on a quiet Tuesday night in October.

First up - Romain Vincelot. Never won a Fench cap but I honestly think he wouldn't be that bad alongside Pogba in that midfielder 😂😂 - let's just think about this for a minute ... he wouldn't have to do much running and pop up the box when needed, plus he can pass a ball and has the tenacity the French team need in midfield!

Charlie Wyke - if players like Robson-Kanu can score and perform at the Euros there is no reason why Charlie from Wyke couldn't do a job for say, Northern Ireland! He needs to be a team where there are few options up top, Eygpt also spring to mind!

Matthew Killgallon - For me he could get into several teams; Iran, South Korea? They would both benefit from a big powerful presence at the back and his form this season certainly warrants a start.

Tony McMahon - The assist king himself would be deserving of a call-up to a nation in need of a delivery to a big guy.....Australia!! Yep, with Tim Cahill still banging them in at 38 (ish) McMahon's pinpoint crosses would be converted with ease by Cahill. Oh...and Australia are still yet to qualify so fingers crossed!

Any more suggestions? Feel free to comment below. I'll be compiling a World Cup 11 - who would play for who and where come summer next year. I got all my info from this gem of a website I found whilst surfing page 26 on google search results for 'World Cup' - Ask Fans World Cup Guide! It's actually a decent little find and looks like an independent online start-up which for me is sometimes is better than the big boys generic retort!

Can we actually win this league? Can we dominate?

It never crossed my mind until I read a tweet the other day from a random guy (Ben West)...

tweet winn league.JPG

It was an innocuous tweet and very innocent but something this random guy, who isn't a City fan for the record, took time to write and think about. I don't think it was a flippant remark and his response was to this stat:

stats.JPG

And therein lies the rub. Compared to last season we are banging them in and turning those men behind ball draws to out of the blocks from the off wins!

A quick look at the bookies tells a similar story - Paddy Power are giving us a strong 21/10 to win the league with Charlie Wyke being 16/1 top goal scorer. Also as a caveat to this, they actually have a free £20 bet via the link above, random I know - but I've just lumped a tenner on each of those outcomes. Worth spending nothing IMO.

Will they both come in, will we get the holy grail of a Championship trophy and a top goal scorer a'la Sheffield United and Billy Sharp? As it stands I'm quietly confident, key word there being 'quietly'. I won't go head-on into the Twittersphere with my confidence but instead, keep it under lock and key until the time is right. 

Back in July we speculated about promotion - see HERE and the bloomin' Guardian also called it over the summer - HERE 

Not everyone was or is disillusioned to our chances of promotion but to sing it from the roof top is something we shouldn't be doing.

Why though? Becuase we're Bradford City, we have never done a Sheffield United and we tend to do things the harder way. The Bradford way. Why win the league when you can scrape over the line into a play-off final. But as it stands the ingredients for the success are there; Wyke is on form, we're scoring goals from all areas of the pitch and McCall has his tactics bob-on. Injuries aside we have the squad to take us up, all we need now is for others to notice our threat and use it to our advantage. Going back to the original tweet above you can see people view us as a good side but they aren't scared of us, we need to strike fear into the opponents and literally bulldozer teams out of the way. It's the only way we'll win this league, playing good football and scoring loads of first half goals counts for nothing unless we show our dominance every single game.

**At the time of writing the above we hadn't yet travelled to Bury. But all I think that display did was inherintely cement the ideas of above. Without the fire in our belly and the ability to dominate with every chance we get - we won't be winning anything quickly.

Tom Fletcher