Does the 12th man mean promotion or pressure?

So, here we all are again...awaiting a new season with eager anticipation. On Saturday it will start to feel real again, a friendly beckons, an opportunity for the masses to travel, to show off their new shirts (or old), and to dust the cobwebs from the voice boxes. The result is meaningless. However, it does start the journey of showing how PP intends to conquer the league this season.

The fantastic £149 campaign has really stirred the imagination. Widely credited as an example of making football affordable for people, many fans of other clubs look at Bradford City with envious eyes at the moment. There is no doubt about it, 18,021 season tickets is an impressive number!

However, the title of this piece is the question I am posing to our Bradford City fans. There is no doubt that when Valley Parade is full, when the wall of sound is at its loudest, the stadium is an
intimidating and menacing place for the opposition to play in. Bradford City have utilised this to their advantage on a number of occasions, and I only have to think back to Millwall, Arsenal amongst others. However, judging by the amount of comments I am seeing on football forums, judging by comments I am seeing on social media, I am starting to see clear signs of impatience...and we haven't even started the season yet!

Today, Luke James has arrived on a season long loan from Peterborough. It is fair to say that this young man has been impressive so far in his career...except for last season. Some of our fan base have already stated their disbelief at this signing. I have seen comments pleading for marquee signings. What do we determine, as a League 1 club, is a marquee signing? Have we become fans who judge a player before he has even pulled a shirt on?

I have no doubts that having a full(ish) stadium will be very beneficial to Phil and the team. For new supporters coming to the ground for their first experience of watching Bradford, a fantastic
football experience awaits. But, are expectations too high, will the 12th man drive Bradford City to promotion or will they become the oppositions 12th man?

I believe we have to show patience, and as a fan of over thirty years, this skill is something I have had to call upon many times during my love affair with the club. Phil Parkinson has been fantastic for Bradford City, as we have been fantastic for him. He has made some mistakes in the transfer market but most managers do not get it right all of the time.

What is clear is that Bradford City fans have to make a decision. Do you want to be the 12th man through good and bad, driving your team on when the chips are down, and playing your part in a drive to promotion, or do you want to help diminish confidence, ensure that opposition players have no fear of playing in front of us?

Now is the time to decide whether you will be the difference this season, or not?

Steve Hamilton