By Ron Beaumont
Apologies to David Lawrence, but you do want to read this!
You do want to read this…Bradford City have five home games left and they have no chance of promotion!
You do want to read this…Bradford City have five home games left and some are already talking about next season!
You may want to read this…Bradford City have five home games left and I intend to be at all of them!
Much has been said about “missing” fans, but between now and the end of April I suspect a lot more will go missing now they feel that the season is over. But it isn’t.
We will not go up this year. We will not go down this year. (And, yes, it is less that 12 months ago that we were thinking we could disappear completely.) On the field Bradford City have a significant part to play in the future of others in our league. On the field Bradford City players have a significant part to play in their own future. Some will be here to try again next season, some will move on – that is as it always has been.
But for the rest of this season these are the same players that have given us a once in a lifetime experience. To talk of rejection and replacement ignores the fact that these are people we are talking about and, more than that, they are people to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude. And in my mind, one way to repay some of that debt is to be there for the last games of the season.
It is easy to stick by a winning team. It was easy to join the bandwagon as it picked up speed rolling down to North London. But it is not easy to pick yourself up after a major disappointment. As fans we know this but, in case you hadn’t noticed, players are human too. And when glorious history turns to grim reality in a matter of weeks, support is needed more than ever. You may not feel like turning up for the rest of the season, but for the players that is not an option.
Whatever they have lacked this season (“failings” is too strong a word for me to use in this context), they have never lacked effort and we haven’t always been able to say that over the years. So now, at a time they really need it, shouldn’t we be there to let them know they still have our support – and our gratitude for what they have done for us?
Is this getting too sentimental? Am I losing my grasp of the argument? Have I lost touch with reality?
It costs money to support City. (I have tremendous admiration for those who travel to so many away games, but this piece has home games as its focus.) Money is not always there. But…if you, like me and thousands of others, did make the trip to the capital earlier this year, remind yourself how much it cost. Tickets and transport were a small fortune regardless of whether you chose to stay over. Souvenirs and memorabilia added even more to the cost; but we paid and were more than happy to pay. It was something we all wanted to be a part of, we wanted to be there with them.
Now Bradford City have five home games left, suddenly it is not so appealing. But ask yourself, how does the cost of these five home games compare to the cost of that one day that we wouldn’t have missed for the world? In other circumstances we would have not given it a second thought, but now some may already be thinking of excuses not to be there again until next season. I do not accuse only ask.
I started this piece with a determination not to look back, not to mention THAT day at a certain National Stadium, because the future is more important than the past. But we all know that you can’t ignore the two aspects of this season – they are forever linked. For me, I can not suddenly decide to ignore a group of players who have given me so much and act as if the last games do not exist. We expected, and were given, so much from them that they surely deserve better from us.
I’m doing it again aren’t I? Sorry but I can’t help it. At my age you stop wishing your life away and take what you can from every day. For some, August can not come soon enough. But for me, it’s mid-March and there is a lot to fit in before next season.
So, as the saying goes, “you pays your money and you makes your choice”. For me, I will look back and remember so much of our way to and day at Wembley. (There, I’ve said it!) I will look forward to a new season, someone new in the squad – but hopefully not a new manager – and the push for promotion that we all want. But right now I will look to next Saturday and then right on to the end of this season. I still want to be there!
And if your head asks “Why?”… Listen to your heart … Not fade away.