By Phil Abbott
As the massed forces, in thunderous voice, urge their chosen comrades forward into war.
This army positions itself on strangely familiar foreign fields.
Now is no time for reminiscing on past glories, nor a time for initiating new regrets.
Because at this moment, there is no turning back on a journey that has led us to the final battlefield.
Too much has been given for this to be an undignified, unceremonious surrender.
Too much has passed for this to be the final time our warriors shed blood for our cause
Because superior clandestine armies court an intent to secure their favour.
The wounds of erstwhile battles are still stinging; souls aching with bitter reproach.
Tormenting memories of former failure still stubbornly torture our troubled minds.
There are wrongs that need righting and profound regrets that need to be consigned to history.
There is lost territory to reclaim, inch by inch.
There is surrendered supremacy to regain, minute by minute.
There is bygone momentum to recover, step by step.
There is unseated honour to restore, heartbeat by heartbeat.
Those formidable soldiers, gallant and idolised, must wage a brutal and clinical battle.
Their colours and their badge – far from steely, unlike their ubiquitous northern grit.
Dictating that their attack must be unrelenting, hard fought and uncompromising.
Voraciously demanding their desires like a ravenous dog.
Yet, in defence, they must with equal fervour, protect.
Protect their comrades, their colours, the honour of their name.
Their hearts they must wear on their sleeves.
Let not the sea of claret and amber be a pool of our forlornly spent blood and sweat.
Rather, let it be a euphoric tidal wave of vociferous adoration.
Let not those northerly battle hymns be softened by dulcet southern strains.
Rather, let them blunt the once-sharpened weapons of the advancing forces.
And dampen the intimidating resolve of the disparate rival clan.
So that when the battle ends, as one, we might rise to salute our conquering heroes.
Then march on to sample the rewards we have desired for so long.
To battle we go.
Play off final: Width of a Post build-up
Pushing back to where we belong by Jason McKeown
The first era of Bantam Progressivism, 1981-88 by John Dewhirst
Speaking to James Mason by Jason McKeown
The second era of Bantam Progressivism, 1995-00 by Kieran Wilkinson
Bradford City’s 1996 play off final remembered by John Dewhirst
The third era of Bantam Progressivism, 2012- by Nikhil Vekaria
The local media view by Richard Sutcliffe, Simon Parker, Jason Thornton, Tim Steere and Tom Fletcher
Our Stuart by Jason McKeown
The Millwall perspective by Tim Penfold
Categories: The 2016/17 play offs