Chelsea 2 – 4 Bradford City
“Mourinho? Nah, It’s Parkinson Jṓsé The Special One”
After arriving into Fulham Broadway at 4pm on Friday afternoon, the smell of stale cigarettes and thick pollution was one to buffer the nasal senses, the vision of seeing drunk London girls drinking KFC gravy on the tube was heart-warming and it was only after checking into my cosy hotel room which over looked the “Shed End” that this late January date could possibly be the greatest weekend of many Bradfordians lives.
As City fans started to pile into a rain soaked Covent Garden, the local bars and pubs were packed to rafters but the mere temptation of logging on to Twitter to check the #bcafc hashtag was just too much! Whilst the City players were locked up in their hotel rooms preparing to attempt a full night’s sleep all I could picture was the image of Jose Mourhino sat at his candlelit home, drinking a warm pint of Portuguese lager and tucking into a chocolate Cornetto whilst frantically doing his homework on the evening before the deadline (we’ve all been there!).
On the morning of the game I woke up to a handful of text messages asking me if I knew of anywhere they could watch the game, as a good chap and a brief scour online I’m now petrified that a gang of unwanted Russian brides are after me!
It’s incredibly difficult to put into words how special Saturday 24th January 2015 was, as a lad aged 27 it was the first time since the victory at Wembley that I’ve felt so emotional after watching a football match. Before the game I had a visit from Tom & Dom in my hotel room, we had joked about how we would get shafted 5 or 6 nil as they sipped on an £8 bottle of cloudy London tap water from my bedside, the thought of actually beating Chelsea in their own stadium was perverse and we were all just going to the enjoy the day and hopefully come away without any bruises from any London mobsters.
At 2-0 down and playing well, even forcing Petr Cech into a Spiderman like save there was always going to be one man who could force a way back, a man who has changed the season for this team.
I say it every week but Jon Stead just gets better and better each week, I’m actually contemplating getting a tattoo of Steady riding a Unicorn on my calf, he’s just superb and rightfully given man of the match, it was one of those typical, persistent performances that was on a par with giving birth, only in this instance Steady gave birth to a wonder goal and by eck’ the former Huddersfield man put in a monumental shift at the hospital!
The second half of football that followed was one that has topped every other Bradford game I’ve attended and watched, the celebrations that followed every goal were as wild as I’ve seen at an away game, though for me, I just couldn’t compute what my eyes were seeing, it felt like a dream that I was looking in on and this was all before the third was slammed home by Andy Halliday who is really starting to find some match rhythm in his performances.
I really tried to get as much video footage as possible for the fans that couldn’t attend the game and ensure that had some way of connecting to what 6,500 fans had witnessed.
The final 15 minutes were a roller coaster, let’s not forget a ridiculous 7 minutes added time from Andre Mariner threw the result into the mix, I still expected Chelsea to nick it all until the footballing equivalent of Michael Flatley picked up the ball just outside the Chelsea penalty area, flicked the ball to Stead then calmly slotted in the one-two – yes, Mr Mark Yeates sealed the victory and the bruises on my legs have only just started to blossom!
It was a fantastic day all round, from the “Mourinho’s right, your fans are s****” to “Everywhere we go” chants this game brought football fans together, the appreciation of football was celebrated, even the Leeds and Huddersfield fans jumped on board, presumably to deflect the negativity which currently surrounds their teams ;)
Meeting up with a few Twitter regulars was lovely, Gaz Wright who was sat next to me during the game had his thumb bandaged up – if I’m honest it looked like he had bought some black pudding from the butchers and used Pritt Stick to attach it to his hand. At around 2:30pm and assuming our seats, Bantam Pete and his daughter Sophie were acting as “Row 18” security, tough job considering we had a blob of hooligans sat around us, they did a great job!
The Yeovil game is now a distant memory, simply a result that has been stamped into the league fixture list, this weekend’s game against Colchester in many ways is more important than the 5th Round tie against Sunderland or Fulham.
Enjoy the game
Match pictures used in this article are taken by Thomas Gadd Photography.