The alternative Chelsea experience

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Image by Mike Holdsworth

By Jason McKeown

I have supported Bradford City for almost 18 years now. And over those near two decades of climbing up, down and back up the divisions, I honestly thought I had experienced every emotion that it was possible to feel about winning and losing.

But last Saturday’s game with Chelsea delivered a whole new type of sensation, one that felt uncomfortable and disturbing: the bittersweet victory.

For whilst 6,000+ Bradford City fans were going completely bonkers at Stamford Bridge, I was nowhere near to the scene of this staggering victory against the country’s best team. I was one of the unfortunate supporters reduced to following events from afar. And they really did seem afar. As every Bradford City goal flew into the net, the joy was tempered by the despair of not being there to see it. History was taking place, but I wasn’t a part of that history.

And in 18 years of following the club, this had never happened to me before. I missed going to the FA Cup fourth round tie at Newcastle United in 1999 due to tickets selling out, but at least got to watch the glamorous occasion via the beam-back of the game at Valley Parade. I wasn’t there for the balmy August 2000 evening when the Bantams defeated Chelsea 2-0 in the top flight, or the club’s first-ever Premier League game at Middlesbrough in 1999. But as celebrated as both those matches are, they were part of a league campaign and had less unique value.

I was at Wolves in 1999 to see City get promoted to the Premier League. I was there for the Barnsley Gordon Watson game earlier that season, which has gone down in folklore. I saw the last day Premier League survival over Liverpool in 2000. The Bryan Robson debut 3-2 win over Millwall in 2004. The Peter Taylor 3-1 over Rochdale in February 2010. Gareth Evans vs Stockport. Beating Huddersfield in the JPT. The League Cup miracles against Wigan, Arsenal and both legs against Aston Villa (that night at Villa Park, wow). The Burton play off semi final second leg. The two trips to Wembley. And Leeds United, earlier this season.

I have been incredibly lucky, I know that. But that was only of small consolation when, last Saturday afternoon, Bradford City were having the time of their lives, and I wasn’t involved.

~~~~~~~~~

It wasn’t that I couldn’t get a ticket to Chelsea. I have a priority card, so it was mine if I wanted it. It wasn’t that I was tied up to other plans like attending someone’s wedding, Saturday remained disappointingly empty.

Let me give you a brief history of myself, in case you don’t know me too well, valued reader. I have been married for 10 years now, to an American called Rachel, and we have had a blissful first decade living together.

And Bradford City were a part of that. Despite the ineptitude of Darren Holloway threatening to put her off forever, I eventually got Rachel interested in watching the Bantams – and we both had season tickets for many years.

We travelled to away games too. Rachel only did the Northern and Midlands-based ones, not fancying the long distance trips, but she was certainly a committed supporter. Enduring the disappointments of City’s seemingly endless slump down the divisions, experiencing the tedium of defeats at awful grounds like Chesterfield’s Saltergate, Accrington’s Crown Ground and Macclesfield’s Moss Rose. She often talked of her wish that City would one day play at a big Premier League ground, but the club’s woeful cup record meant it never looked a possibility.

In June 2013 – three weeks after promotion from League Two was achieved at Wembley – we became parents for the first time, to Georgina. It has been life-changing and magical. I am one of those annoying parents who posts endless pictures about how cute my child looks. I don’t mind if people hate me for it, she is very cute. I love that kid to bits.

And I have been incredibly lucky; because Rachel has continued to allow me to have a season ticket at Bradford City (she has become a flexi-card holder). And I have rarely missed a home game since Georgina was born. I have cut down on my away games, but that has been mainly my choice. Working Monday to Friday, I no longer saw the sense in spending 12 hours of my Saturday driving to grounds hundreds of miles away.

I want to spend time with my daughter, rather than spend time missing her.

Rachel still went to watch City on a number of occasions during the first half of the 2013/14 season, when my parents could babysit. But then my mum had to have a serious heart operation in December 2013. And there were major complications in her recovery. And then last March the worst possible thing happened. And it has been incredibly hard for the whole family. And we are still getting through it.

My dad dearly loves his granddaughter, and looks after her on his own one weekday afternoon a week. But without my mum around to help us, it’s harder for Rachel to get to watch City as often. Her parents live back in the States so can’t help either. My brother lives in Newcastle. We simply don’t have the support network that other parents are lucky to have.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I got home from the 4-0 replay thumping over Millwall feeling proud of the team’s performance, but worried about my likelihood of getting to Stamford Bridge. Rachel was still up, and we talked about the Chelsea tie at length. She wanted to go, and she deserved to go in my eyes. I had always said that if and when City got a glamorous tie away in the cup, she could have priority in going over me.

I’d seen Bradford City’s Premier League years and gone to grounds like Old Trafford, St. James Park and Stamford Bridge. And I got to go to Villa Park in 2013, when she had to make do with watching the cup semi final on TV at home.

She wanted us both to go to Chelsea, but it was hard to see how we could both go down to London (setting off early doors and getting back very late) and entrust my dad with a full day on his own with Georgina (at a difficult phase of tantrums, really bad separation anxiety, and her not understanding her limitations). Putting her to bed when he had never done so before. Feeding her three meals when he struggles with one. He would have said yes, but that’s not the point. You don’t take the mick with family.

And besides, only I had a priority ticket. We could have got one Chelsea ticket with that and then joined the queues outside Valley Parade for the other one needed, but we wouldn’t have been sat together.

We talked of her going on her own, and even me and Georgina coming down with her on the train and finding something to do while she went to the game. But in the end, she didn’t want to go without me, and so it was decided that it was fairest that neither of us would go. (I could hardly respond to her “I don’t want to go without you” with “Okay then, can I go without you?”)

There was no sensible way around it. We are adults now, and sometimes being an adult means accepting your hand and dealing with it.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Almost every single Bradford City-supporting friend in my group wanted to go to the Chelsea game, and they all got a ticket. Every other Bradford City supporter that I know was seemingly going too. It hurt to see these discussions going on, but you can’t begrudge them of course.

I tried to stay away from such conversations, but it is hard when your Facebook wall is full of people posting photos of their Chelsea tickets. Or asking out loud where was the best place to go for a pre-match pint. Or just going on and on about how excited they were. I don’t blame them, I’d have been the same. There’s a bitterness, but it’s not directed at anyone. You just have to grin and bear it.

The emails I received from several people, desperate for help getting them a ticket, got a bit too much given my own circumstances. But on the other side of the coin, a friend offered the services of his CRB-checked mum to babysit Georgina for the day, so we could both go. Such thoughtfulness was appreciated, even though we had to say no as we couldn’t leave Georgina with a stranger.

~~~~~~~~~~

As Saturday neared, I realised I was getting more and more angry and depressed about the situation. I just wanted the game to be over, to move on and look forward to more mundane matters like Colchester United at home. I felt jealous at everyone else going and I hated myself for it, but it didn’t seem fair that I was missing out.

I was desperate to shut the world out. On the morning of the game, I decided to give myself a blanket Facebook ban to avoid seeing all the inevitable photos from people on their way to London. And I made sure that we as a family kept busy, so I didn’t stew at home.

It was only when we got there that I realised I had set up such a cliché of a day out. Instead of going to the football, Daddy had taken Daughter to the zoo. Whilst 6,000 City fans congregated in Chelsea’s Shed End, there we were at the South Lakes Zoo, wrapped up in several layers. Georgina was initially completely indifferent about the animals – the least she could do was feign interest.

In the end we had a great time, but setting off home just after 3pm probably wasn’t the best idea. For it meant the hour and a half drive home would be spent listening to BBC Radio 5Live.

City were a goal down before we left the zoo car park, and I wasn’t sure whether to feel disappointed or slightly relived that I wasn’t missing anything special. Then it was 2-0, and it was sad that Chelsea were seemingly out of sight so quickly. Jon Stead made it 2-1, the 5Live reporter was full of wholesome praise about City’s performance. This game was not over just yet. The ordeal of missing the match was not over either.

And as we neared our home in Skipton it all happened. 2-2, Rachel was cheering loudly. My mixed feelings overtook my ability to join her. Still, a replay at Valley Parade would be amazing – we’d go for sure. 3-2 City, wow! But also…wow, what I have missed out on? 4-2 City, and 5Live are going crazy. I tried to crack a smile, but inside a part of me just wanted to cry.

The biggest FA Cup shock in history, and I missed it. And it feels like it could take a long time to get over this. I wish that at least Rachel had gone, so I could have felt pleased for her. Shared in her joy.

~~~~~~~~~

What I have learned from this experience is just how child-like and selfish we football supporters can be (or at least I can be). One of the club’s greatest days in the 18 years that I have followed them, and I was left wallowing in self-pity. If I wasn’t at Villa Park in 2013, would I have been frowning? If I had not been at Wolves in 1999, would I have felt unhappy about promotion? (No is the answer to both questions, given each of these games had mega-prizes at stake and were at least shown on TV.)

The fortunes of the club are far more important than my own needs, yet because you are not there to see the achievement you feel you have played no part in it, and that it doesn’t belong to you. I don’t have a right to be happy about City beating Chelsea, was how I immediately felt. You’re on the outside looking in, rather than part of the scene. I’m sure that other fans, who also didn’t go, don’t feel this way and are proud of their team. They should feel that way. I should. And deep down I suppose I do.

Rachel told me that I was punishing only myself and she was right. To not enjoy this incredible moment was to cut off the nose to spite the face. We made our decision about not going, and it was the right one to make. There’s no bitterness to anyone else who went, and who were subsequently bragging about it, because why would there be? Still, I don’t want to see my friends who went to Chelsea, at least not until they are back to talking about something else.

I know that feeling miserable about one of the club’s greatest ever results is stupid, child-like and completely irrational, but on Saturday night at least I couldn’t help it. Bittersweet is a tough emotion.

The consolation? There will always be other Bradford City matches. That 18 years supporting the club has shown to me that mega-highs will keep occurring now and then. And even more importantly, that I now have an FA Cup fifth round tie to look forward to. Rachel is adamant that I will go to it.

She is an amazing woman.

~~~~~~~~~~~

By Sunday I could finally muster the strength to shrug the shoulders. “Let it go”, as that woman sings on Georgina’s Frozen DVD. Nothing can change the fact that I missed the match, so what value is there in remaining upset?

Enjoy the fact that the whole country is talking about Bradford City. Feel proud that everyone thinks your football team, and your fellow supporters, are amazing. Feel proud of all the support you have given Phil Parkinson over the years when many others withdrew theirs for a period. Feel proud.

Take your slice of the glory too. You deserve it.

And later on Sunday, Georgina had a playdate with a friend whose dad, Kev, supports City and went to Stamford Bridge. And of course we talked about it. And doing so didn’t feel nearly as painful as I feared it might prove. I actually enjoyed the conversation about his day at Stamford Bridge, rather than felt jealous. Let it go.

But then on Sunday night I finally plucked up the courage to load up Facebook. And every single post was someone bragging about going to Stamford Bridge and about having the best day of their life. And I had to give up within two minutes. Some things will take time.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Unless you are one of those uber-fans who goes to every game, missing matches is a part of life that we all learn to deal with. And when you don’t go to a City game and they lose, most of us will feel grateful that we didn’t bother. And when you don’t go to a City game and they win, the joy is less sustaining compared to how you would have felt being there to witness it.

The Chelsea game magnified this mindset like I have never experienced before. It wasn’t just another game. It wasn’t something you could find crumbs of comfort over not attending. If City had lost 6-0 I would still have wished I could have been there. The fact that they won it and won it with incredible style heightens the regret. If I hadn’t been going to away games so often over the last eight years, it would have been easier to accept.

My only therapy has been to write this article, and to keep the world shut out. The latter is the wrong approach I know, and I wish that in these situations I could be more like the mature 33-year-old person I am supposed to be. But please don’t judge me too harshly.

Deep down I do know and believe that beating Chelsea really was sweet, it just that for me it also tasted bitter.

Editor’s note: for the sake of balance, this miserable article will be followed by the positive accounts of other WOAP writers who also didn’t attend the game, later on the site this week.

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Categories: Opinion

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40 replies

  1. I didn’t make it either Jason, for my own personal reasons I didn’t get to Millwall! But its hard to fight that deep sense of pride I have right now for the team, of course I care I didn’t make it but at the same time I don’t because we made history again and that’s all that matters!

  2. For me once the game started I almost forgot i wasnt there. I listened to the Game with my Dad and a few (loads) of beers. Hearing the City fans sing non stop the atmosphere was amazing. We couldnt sit down for about 60 mins and paced the living room at times in agony trying to imagine just what was going on with the help of the pulse. I actually really enjoyed myself and i’ll remember it for the rest of my days even though i wasnt there, the nice thing was we spent the rest of the night listening to and watching all of the coverage, soaking it all in while the beers flowed!. Now I’m not gutted anymore that I missed out on a ticket, I’m just chuffed that my bantams pulled off another giant killing are getting all the plaudits and there’s always the 5th round to get a ticket to 🙂

  3. For mainly financial reasons, or sometimes due to parental responsibility, I missed a lot of the games you referred to at the top of the article – I’m perennially skint and away trips in particular are expensive. I couldn’t afford a trip as expensive as Chelsea at such short notice so didn’t try to get a ticket. This year is my first with a season ticket for 15 years after two years of semi regular attendance with a flexi card which were preceded by years of only managing to attend a handful of games. But I would rather what happened on Saturday happen and I miss it than not happen at all. I’d rather City did well irrespective of whether I’m there to see it and I’m chuffed that 6000 fans got see Saturdays game. Being a City supporter is more than just going to games, and the fortunes of the club matter a great deal to many people whether they go or not. To see the team and fans represent all of us in the way they did on Saturday – hearing the fans booming out over the radio – fills me with pride and this easily outweighs not being there to see the performance in person. Would’ve been great to have gone, mind.

  4. “The fortunes of the club are far more important than my own needs, yet because you are not there to see the achievement you feel you have played no part in it, and that it doesn’t belong to you. I don’t have a right to be happy about City beating Chelsea, was how I immediately felt. You’re on the outside looking in, rather than part of the scene.”

    Don’t feel this way Jason. What makes days like yesterday special is that they come off the back of a decade of decline. Wigan, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Leeds, Millwall – the celebrations were intensified because we have been through such a difficult last ten years, sometimes not even knowing if the club will still exist from day to day, together. You have supported the club through some of its darkest days, we all have. Yesterday belonged to all of us who shored any part of those ten years regardless of whether we were there or not. This is how you should feel and I hope you can join with the celebrations in the coming days.

  5. Wow, what an honest and open article Jason. This really resonates with me and I’ve felt similar over the last few days. Not being there is so hard to take. I too have a young family and recently I’ve missed Villa away, Leeds at home and now Chelsea for various reasons. I have fond memories of Wembley in ’96, Everton in ’97, Wolves in ’99 and both Wembley trips recently, which were all magical moments but what we achieved on Saturday dwarfs all of them in the context of modern football. It’s a shame my memories are only made of the TV highlights and radio commentary.

  6. Hi Jason. In your third paragraph you comment, ‘History was taking place, but I wasn’t a part of that history’. Yes you were. Thousands of City fans, both season ticket holders and flexi card holders did not get a ticket. Like you I could have got one, but as I bought five tickets on line, all in my name, then the others would miss out, if I progressed it electronically. We took our chance with the hastily organised ‘scan ST’s + stubs’ route, because we do not live close by (1200 miles a season just to watch home games, but nothing compared to some others), but were not successful ( I wonder how many tickets were distributed by this method, still something for another article?). So like many other fans we were forced to experience the day via radio broadcasts. Three had actually gone to London, but no tickets! We are by virtue of being City fans ‘part of that history’, it is just that some of us were not as fortunate as others.

  7. You write, Jason, that writing this article has been your therapy for missing the game; for me, reading it has been a great solace, because I experienced on Saturday a lot of the feelings you articulate in the piece. The strange mixture of disappointment and relief when we were 2-0 down. The muted elation of the win, jealousy, selfishness. I don’t judge you harshly at all.

    I was a season ticket holder throughout my childhood, but moved to London when I was 18, where I met my wife and have lived ever since. As such, I never expected, or felt that I deserved to go to the game. I am emotionally invested in the club, deeply passionate about it, but with only 6,000 tickets it should have been those who commit their time and money every week who went. (Although, as a side point, I feel strongly that those whose lives have taken them away from Bradford should nonetheless not be viewed as lesser City fans for the fact. It feels that way sometimes, and certainly felt it in light of the League Cup final ticketing policy).

    With time, the glow of this match will shift the bittersweet feelings for those unlucky enough not to get there. I certainly hope that it does for you, Jason, because for those moved-away City fans like myself, this site is the single most important daily link to the club and our passion for it.

    On Sunday morning, feeling completely het up and ambivalent about the game, I played Depeche Mode, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ very loud and danced about wildly with my own two little children on the sofa. It helped, quite a lot actually. You could try that.

  8. I had a season ticket for a good long while, and even kept having one for five years (and regularly attending) after moving to the South-East, and used to attend a lot of away games (losing 2-0 to Bury is something I’ll never forget, as much as beating Wolves, Liverpool, Chelsea).

    Then I met my (now-)wife (which was another weekend-based long-distance relationship), more traffic on the roads meant a 3-hour journey was now 4.5 hours (on a good trip), petrol and ticket prices went up, and then my Dad died (which effected my inclination to go, as it reminded me of my time with him) so going to watch (a progressively worse!) City finally took its toll and I stopped going so often. Then we had a kid, I’ve now effectively got two jobs and, as yourself, don’t have any grandparents/aunties/uncles around to help. We’ve actually only been out twice in the last three years, let alone to football!

    The upshot of it is that the last three years I’ve pretty much had to stop going full-stop. Two years ago, I attended three games, and two of those were at Wembley, which is a darn-sight nearer for me to get to than Valley Parade.

    I never thought it would, but my die-hardism has waned as life has gone on. Life changes and, ultimately, football has to take a back seat.

    If truth be told, I’m more unhappy it was impossible to find the game anywhere on TV across the world, so feel I missed out completely rather than not being there. Though I imagine that’s not a problem in the next round!

    Chelsea being my nearest club is a bit of a kick in the teeth though…

  9. Jason that’s highly confessional ..funny how we need to explain/excuse missing games to our mates! My problem was more prosaic …I left my stub at work on Friday evening. My lad went however which is the next best thing

  10. Come on Jason. I wasn’t there either but it was only a football match , though admittedly the best ever City Match, and you missed it for the best of all reasons. AT THE END OF THE DAY FAMILY MUST SURELY COUNT FOR MORE THAN FOOTBALL. Best wishes and glad you enjoyed the zoo.

  11. A great read Jason, I’m still not over going to Blackpool away in ’96, I was at my school leaving do and in the taxi on the way there we heard Carl Shutt scoring, in the days before mobiles I was then utterly unaware of the outcome until a friend who had been finally arrived with the biggest grim I’d ever seen across his smug, smug face, I wanted to punch him, I wanted to punch myself, I was only 18 and had none of the responsibilities you mention. I now have 2 young children and like you away days have become rather limited but I am fortunate in having a support network of family, there will be a day though when I have to say no and put my family first and I know I will feel just as you did whatever the result.

    • Stu, I’m guessing that smug, smug face might have been mine! Its been a long time mate, hope you’re good….if it’s any consolation to you and Jason I missed both Villa games last year!

  12. Valentine’s Day for the next round. Does an FA Cup match count as a date? Is a Yorkie a good substitute for a box of chocolates? If you film Routis warming up that’s as good as a Ryan Gosling film right? Are balti pies romantic?

    PS – That’s me in the grey hoodie. Football widows/widowers are pretty tolerant I reckon.

  13. Let it go Jason, there’s going to be plenty more City games.
    I grew up in North London, from a family of Spurs fans and went to White Hart Lane from the age of 9 until I left home to move to Bradford. Then working shifts and having two children made going to football almost impossible, with just occasional trips to Valley Parade. I’m a believer in supporting the club where you live, even if Spurs are still really close to my heart.
    Then, when my eldest daughter was 9 we went to our first game together, Stoke City at Valley Parade. Lou Macari sent to the stand.
    18 years later we’re still going to City together, and planning for the day when her two year old can join us. Believe me Jason, sharing your football passion with your child beats anything else about the game – the two great loves of a lifetime, football and family, merged into pure joy.
    Enjoy City and your daughter and then when she’s old enough enjoy the lows and the highs of supporting City together – victories like Saturday are even sweeter.

    • Andrew – you beat me to it. I was going to say much the same to Jason. Jason you articulate so brilliantly what many, many of us have gone through – there is a time when City is THE most important thing and a time when – as a family man with a young daughter – City has to take its place alongside other things.
      It shouldn’t diminish your love and affection for the club or cause you to doubt your commitment if you feel some pang of regret or jealousy now and again at “missing out”. You have a new mission which is to get Georgina indoctrinated as soon as you feel she is old enough (for my tribe it was about 6)
      I would say also that I am personally sorry you missed this one (sorry – I was there and three days later still hoarse) – your superb writing and descriptions of our up’s and downs has filled the void better than anything else for me, and re-connected me when I haven’t been able to get to a game.

  14. As someone who lives a long way from Bradford and with a young family I can relate to many of the points made – I realise this wasn’t the intent but two parts of this article made me, literally, laugh out loud.

    Firstly – I’ve lost count of the number of my family events which have been timed to finish at 3pm so we can drive home listening to 5 live. My family hate the way I usher them all out of the house at 9am so we can make sure we’re done and dusted before kick-off…

    Secondly – the number of comments starting with “Let It Go” – I wonder if anyone without young daughters realise quite how much that song invades every area of your life. I am word perfect. But please don’t let it invade my football space too…

    Stick with it Jason – some things are more important than football – although it may not feel like that after a win at Stamford Bridge….

  15. Jason, I think you just said what every City supporter who didn’t attend the game on Saturday was secretly feeling.
    I didn’t go either, my dad and sister went. Just listening to it on the Pulse and hearing the excitement, my team beating the best team in England, our fans singing their hearts out for our boys made me wish I was there. I can’t sum up in words how much I wished I was there.
    What got me over this was the immense feeling of pride that I had that day (and many days after!) to be a Bradford City supporter. All I can say is you weren’t alone that day in feeling that way, and who knows, there might even be a few more memorable matches like this one very soon…

  16. I know how you feel Jason,but you did the right thing for your family. I missed Blackpool away and Wolves away ,saw Wolves game on TV ,but missing Blackpool took some getting over. As you said earlier in a tweet there will be other great days and another is just round the corner in the next round and it may not end there. This season is developing into something really special.

  17. Great read and some solace in the fact that there are many others out there who feel the same way. For the first time in my 45 years of supporting City, I felt momentarily disenfranchised from my club. When you have travelled the length and breadth of the country through the grimmest of times, and yes been there for many of the highs as well, you somehow feel let down at not being able to get a ticket for Stamford Bridge. And yes, how right you are to recognise and acknowledge those feelings of indifference when Chelsea scored…but now, wow! This is my Bradford City, we have beaten the best team in the land! Unbelievable, incredible, astonishing. Has my support wavered? No. Will I still be travelling the length and breadth of the country for the rest of the season and next season and the season after and n and on and on? Yes. So, hurt, wounded but proud to be a City supporter all the way!

  18. Great article Jason, and I must admit that I shared similar emotions.

    I was bitterly disappointed i didn’t get a ticket before a ball was even kicked, and while I was obviously overjoyed with the result, it further compounded this.

    Rightly or wrongly, after supporting the club for 30 years, it felt you deserved to be there, as a reward for your continued support, and for suffering the many lows and poor performances over that time, as I am sure others would’ve felt, although maybe not chose to admit it. Games like Chelsea are what you live for and makes it all the worthwhile to be a fan.

    One thing is for sure, if we do get through the next round, and draw a big club away, I am preparing myself for a night without sleep, and joining a rather long queue at the ticket office!

  19. Jason, let’s celebrate.
    It’s all in the game.

  20. What a fantastic result on Saturday, no Bradford fan, even in their wildest dreams was expecting that. If truth be told, most (including me) were hoping for some sort of miracle and being able to force a replay.
    I was unable to obtain a ticket for what many regard as the biggest FA cup shock of all time (not quite sure about this!), as I was unable to attend the Millwall replay due to work and family commitments.
    I have supported City since around the time of the fire in 1985, some 30 years! holding a season ticket for much of this time and up until my eldest daughter was born in 2008 very rarely missed a home game. Due to family and sometimes work commitments I now hold a flexi card instead of a season ticket.
    I listened, as I always do if I cannot attend, to the amazing commentary on the Pulse and was gutted that I could not be there amongst the 6000 City fans.
    I, like many others, do not believe that not being there in person on Saturday makes me any less of a supporter than the ones that were there. We are all supporters of this club whether we go to every game or listen from wherever we may be in the world. We feel the disappointment and frustration of losing games to the like of Yeovil, but feel great elation and realise it is all worthwhile when we pull off a result like Saturday!

  21. Lovely, and sensible, article. I cannot often go nowadays, but played golf yesterday, and my friends applauded me on the 1st tee. I felt part of it. This is in Harrogate.

  22. Mybe its a generational thing …I have been watching City for 50 years and I didnt get to the game but I found this article the most self indulgent and cringeworthy I have ever read on WOAP. Stick to match reviews Jason

    • Thanks John. I expected a lot of comments like this and you are the first.

      I’ll stick to writing about what I want to write about if you don’t mind. That may be self-indulgent, but this website is a hobby and it costs me money. I’m going to therefore dictate editorial policy.

      But thank you for reading.

      • Like I said it must be a generational thing….write what you like that is your prerogative as you pay for the privilege but when you put it in the public domain you must expect others to have their views even if you find them uncomfortable . I have grown up children and a daughter not much older than yours and that stopped me getting to the game but not once did it stop me or my children from enjoying the news about the game on the BBC web site as it happened whilst in the middle of Manchester. I enjoyed it for what it was and not once did I feel the need for any therapy as you did. Maybe you will think the same when you are my age but then gain maybe you wont .
        Carry on the excellent match reports .

      • Like I said John, I expected some criticism so it’s not a problem. I thought I would get a lot more and a lot worse (I still might do!), but as many of the other comments and Tweets I have received show, many other people felt like I did. So I’m glad I wrote this piece.

        For my part, I have been a regular at away games for many years now. This season is the first I have seriously cut down (let me bore you sometime about how I went to 52 of the 64 games in 2012/13, including going to Plymouth away on a Tuesday night). If I wasn’t going to away games often, it would have been far, far easier to accept not going to Chelsea and just being amazingly proud of the team (which I am of course), but the fact that I have spent the last eight years going anywhere and everywhere makes it more upsetting to have missed this one.

        Still, I went to Oldham away in the JPT this season. It was nearly as good 😉

    • By the way, I am not JOHN W and don’t want anyone to think I wrote this. Please do not stick to match reviews, please continue to inform and entertain us.

      • Jason

        I am the JOHN W

        Next time you are in Oldham drop me a line and I ll meet you at the Greyhound for a pint …across the road from Boundary Park . I will give you my ups and downs ,disappointments ,heartbreaks and joy following, supporting BCFC since a 6 yr old in 1965…If you can stand it

        Good luck and best regards

      • Sounds like a plan – you’re buying!

  23. Wonderfully written
    Captured my exact feelings throughout the ups and downs over the years .
    Difficult balancing home /work life
    Having to constantly justifying the expense of following your team
    I was one of the fortunate ones,but will miss out in the future I’m sure.
    You have a way of expressing emotion thought the written word .
    You should feel proud
    Made my hairs stand up

  24. Jason, I live in Watford, I drive up for all Saturday games but midweek games, I never had a chance of getting a Chelski ticket because I am unable to take two days off work to sleep overnight to do so, this was the same with Burton, Villa etc! Does this make me less of a fan (reading between the lines is maybe how you are feeling) No, no it does not! I am still in shock and I am full of pride that this COMMUNITY football club can go and hammer the club that ruined football by means of team spirit, hardwork and more than an ounce of talent! I have watched city for 24 years so I imagine we have seen many more lows than we have highs so to not drink in the fact that we maybe witnessing our greatest high so far is simply silly (sorry)! Enjoy it, I wish I was there too but I wasnt however I have done my time to be allowed to shout from the roof tops that Bradford beat Chelski 4 fucking 2 ahahahahahaha!

  25. Jason, your fine article about the agonies of missing a momentous City moment struck a chord with me, different reasons maybe but the same frustrating end result. I live down in Cornwall, 400 miles from Bradford and only a few miles from Lands End. It’s a beautiful place, lots of advantages & I love our life here.

    There’s not too much I hanker after from Yorkshire, apart from the Bantams & family I miss decent fish and chips, good curry restaurants, Whitby and Yorkshire Curd tarts from Greggs! Getting any City tickets is difficult to put it mildly, I ended up paying way over the odds for tickets on Saturday and we were in with the Chelsea fans to boot, as were hundreds and hundreds of other City fans. After not being able to get tickets for Leeds, Arsenal & Aston Villa & now probably Sunderland or Fulham, we decided this was one match we weren’t going to miss.

  26. It is what makes this website so special that we can read something like this. We are ecstatic but we wished we’d been there. Keep the insight and thought-provoking articles coming Jason.

    I’m still in utter shock. I’ve watched so many videos and replays and I’ve just listened to the 5 Live Sports Extra commentary (which you can get on iPlayer). I’ve barely slept and I know I’m too old and should grow up but I can’t help it! 2 years ago was fantastic but to do it from 2 down away to a side like Chelsea – there is no soft centre with Chelsea – is just incredible.

    I didn’t bother trying to get tickets. I didn’t think I would manage it so I dipped out and after our Yeovil trip last week why would I want to see my side spanked! We decided to spend the afternoon buying my eldest (William) a new cricket bat! We drove about 45mins enough time for City to fall 2 down and then pull one back. I insisted that there would be no twitter, phone, internet whilst we were in the shop as he had to concentrate on picking the right weight bat.

    We came out of the shop at 4.56 and he insisted that I couldn’t turn on Radio 5 until he’d read twitter up from 2-1. I said well you’ve got 4 minutes until Sports Report. I saw I had a text from a fellow City fan ‘Am I dreaming?’ and my heart skipped a beat, I saw a text from my dad “I need a lie down”. I said to my boys “something has happened I think we’ve got a draw”. We flicked on the radio and set off. 1 minute ‘til sports report and I had to stop immediately as youngest (Edward) needed a wee! Cue breathless presenter, “fantastic performance”, come on, come on, what was the score – 2….4…. “Oh my God”! William has gone, he (who pulled out of a hockey match earlier in the day injured) has run 20 yards down the road and slid to his knees on the grass verge (later we would see, strangely reminiscent of Andy Halliday).

    Unbelievable – I cannot believe it!! Keep writing Jason (and Alex super report) – I for one, can’t get enough.

  27. Don’t worry about any negative comment Jason, your take on what happened is a great read.
    Anyone can write a match report (although WOAP ones are excellent), what you wrote was about real gut feelings, which is what following football is all about.
    I also didn’t go, but could have if I had been prepared to get up early and queue in that awful weather. I had been to Chelsea before, and being honest could not see anything other than a defeat, so decided to go to Yeovil instead.
    Not one of my better decisions and it will take a while to get over it, if I ever do, but I can still enjoy the great newspaper and TV coverage that we now have.

  28. Jason, I’m so sorry you couldn’t have been there to experience such a tumultuous event in the history of Bradford City. No one could have possibly predicted what was going to transpire at the Bridge last Saturday, but if anyone deserved to have been there, it was you my friend.
    However, you put family first and that shows just what sort of character you are. You don’t need excuses, family should always come first.
    If it’s any consolation (which I’m sue it isn’t), you can come and relive our journey into ecstasy with a little video I made of the day. It’s not quite being there, but it certainly captures the mood. Hope you enjoy!

  29. A brilliant read and summed up how I have felt numerous times over the years.
    Having that family/work life and football balance has led to me missing lots of profile games since buying my first season ticket way back in 1986.
    I have however been very lucky to see Bradford City win in many make or break your heart games.
    Lived in Blackpool when we won at Bloomfield Road, seen City play at the old and new Wembley. Watched them in the Inter-Toto Cup and my stilll feel the pain walking away from Valley Parade when we lost 1-0 to Joe Jordon’s Bristol City in the Quarter final of the League Cup. The only game I have shed tears at.
    So I empathise with your feelings, but I also value opportunities.I have been able to see our beloved Bradford City over the years.

  30. Superb, honest piece. I had a similar issue with the villa away game, having been told I would most likely have to miss going to Wembley if city won due to work. Having been a fan for 30 years and thinking I would miss out on one of the club’s biggest ever moments completely took the edge off that moment the final whistle went at villa. Everyone was going crazy and all I could think about was me missing out! Not enjoying the moment like I should have was made worse by the knowledge of how selfish and ridiculous I was being. Completely understand where you’re coming from about the Chelsea game.

  31. Living overseas for the past 6 years I’m just grateful that we’ve been televised as much as we have. That said I’d love to see the full 97 minutes. Surely a DVD would sell well?

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