Wonderful to be back

Image by Thomas Gadd

By John Wade

On 3rd July I had a heart attack, thankfully not massive, and, due to the speed of the 999 service and the skill of the ambulance team, I was in Leeds General Infirmary in 45 minutes. LGI is simply a marvellous place in every way.

I was told I would live and make a recovery, but, lying in bed that long night, I thought a lot about my future. One thought was whether I would ever again go to Valley Parade and see my beloved Bradford City, the team I have supported since 1949.

I did, and the return was the Bristol Rovers match.

My wife and I arrived early, parked on Queens Road and watched the City fans streaming to the ground from about 90 minutes before kick-off. It was great to see how many were wearing City colours, how many were little children.

We walked on Midland Road, I thought of my dad, who had walked there with me so often, saw Mike Harrison selling City Gent, bought one and commiserated with him on his injury. What a true fan and asset to the Club are Mike and his friends.

Into the stadium, which to me is the best in the world. How I wish City could fulfil Richmond’s dream and complete the corner of the main stand. The pitch looked perfect, the crowd filling up, even the Bristol Rovers fans seemed in a happy mood. I had made it back to my second home.

I loved the pre-match routine, the scoreboard which had been paid for by the supporters. We had to learn to put the new faces to their names, but that was easy. I think City do the build-up very well before the game, and the half-time entertainment is reasonable, although most fans are not really interested.

The noise and excitement is great, and the Bristol Rovers supporters were good.

The game itself was a joy. City seem to have speeded up a lot since last year, and beat a good side very convincingly. Adam Chicksen showed true courage because it seemed obvious to me that the opposition had been told to hit him hard (and fairly), and he gave better than he got.

I thought that Jake Reeves was very impressive, as was Alex Gilliead. Charlie Wyke simply made my day, but I was also thrilled at the speed of Dominic Poleon and Omari Patrick. Maybe we lack a bit of height in defence, to be rectified by Adam Thompson. My wife said it was the best she had ever seen City play, although it is fair to say they had played better in the Premier League days. But so what.

The atmosphere in the crowd was great, my pulse rate (regularly checked during the game) stayed okay, and we got away comfortably at the end.

What a great day! There will be others this season, and some bad ones I expect. We might not win promotion, but on this showing we are a better team than the previous two seasons, and certainly more entertaining to watch. I am confident about the future.

Categories: Opinion

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13 replies

  1. Superb article. For me, as I have got older, and I have only supported Bradford City since 1988, it’s not so much about the winning but about the performance and who is playing for us. Yes, I want us to be successful, but I also want to win with players who care as much about the club as I do. However, your health is the most important thing and sometimes we forget that in all of the hustle of everyday life. P.S. Your comment about Mike Harrison is spot on. He and his footsoldiers do a fantastic job. Proud to support Bradford City.

    • Totally agree. There are so many others too that never get a mention and most don’t know their names but are just as important as the manager and playing squad

  2. What a wonderful post! The very best of health to you! Although watching City has never been for those cardiovascularly challenged!!

  3. What a great tale and brilliant to hear you’re now back in the fold. There are lots of positives to be had with Stuart and the new owners holding the reins. There are those that would try and spoil the party, but that’s always going to happen and it doesn’t warrant air time. As you say there’s so much promise in this squad, whether we realise it and achieve all we can, who can tell before the fat lady sings? One thing’s for sure though, there will be a hell of an emotional roller coaster ride between now and then.

    Bring on the Bantams!!!

  4. John, it was good to chat with you both before and after the games and thanks for your kind words regarding what we do at The City Gent.

    Just to confirm what we have done for the club so far this season, as we have bought 2 season tickets and donated them to the charity Centrepoint and we have also sponsored 2 youth team players. Our total spend in sponsorship is £900. This is a sum of money which is down to our loyal supporters who buy the City Gent on a regular basis.

    It is good that you have survived your heart scare and that you are fit and well enough to start attending games at VP again, long may that continue. It is sometimes easy to take our health for granted, for me it has been easy to take walking around for granted, until I ended up on crutches 4 weeks ago!

    Thanks for sharing your match day experience and what an entertaining game for you to see. That in itself must have been a great tonic and I do hope that you enjoy reading the copy of CG211 that you bought.

  5. I’m so pleased you enjoyed your day, and took everything in, John. But moreover – the fact you were able to attend after such a life threatening set back. I and others will admire your love for BCAFC, but second only to your courage and determination. The spirit of BCAFC and it’s ‘family’.

  6. Thank You, Mr John Wade! You have FILLED a mad 67 year-old, City SUPPORTER with sheer delight of your WONDERFUL insight of part of your world also as a City SUPPORTER. However, I sincerely pray that you do not over-excite yourself in the coming weeks, my Friend, for there’s going to be thrills aplenty. Good Luck in staying “calm” lol Gabriel.

  7. I am a young ‘un, John. I didn’t start until 1962, walking from my home off Whetley Hill with my dad. You will remember those awful Division 4 days, the cold and wet stadium and the sub-4,000 crowds.
    It’s great news that you are recovering, and well enough to visit your second home. Thanks for the article which I enjoyed. I hope you will be attending VP for many years to come!

  8. John. I’m sorry to read of your health problems, but really happy that you have made a good recovery. Whenever I see a comment from yourself or Robert on Width of a post, it brings back memories of our epic battles on the squash court all those years ago. I’ve been a City supporter all my life but having lived “in exile” in deepest Gloucestershire these past 30 years I’ve only been able to watch them when they visit the likes of Cheltenham, Swindon, Oxford and the Bristol clubs. Very rarely have I witnessed a City victory. So reading Width of a Post articles (and BfB before that) is something I always look forward to. Balanced articles and balanced comments – wonderful. I was disappointed to read that because of commitments the frequency of articles was going to be much reduced. It almost spoiled my summer! So my plea is can we have more write ups, particularly of the home matches. It makes not being able to watch City regularly, more bearable.

  9. I was standing with Mike on the corner of Midland Road when you bought the ‘Gent’ and told us about your health problem. It makes you think first it?
    I have been coming down here since the me 60s and one time it will be the last time. My wife saw City for her last time in 2016 and died shortly after. Whereas a loyal City fan which is how we got together. She worked hard for the club and could have been excused for thinking she would continue to do so, and I certainly thought we would see a lot more games together.
    The point I am making is how important City can become in your life.
    You mentioned that after your heart attack the first thing you thought was whether you would see another game.
    So I would say to anybody, enjoy watching the team we love.
    Support them, and enjoy days like Saturday.
    It’s later than you think!

  10. A touching article, thanks for sharing. On 31 January 2015, one week after the historic Chelsea match, i left VP with my kids, and found as I walked down Manningham Lane, that I couldn’t walk straight. That night I was admitted to BRI’s stroke unit. It took me 3 months to recover. I missed the Sunderland match, and got a friend of mine- a Leeds fan- to take my kids in my place.

    I found going back to VP after several months a big step, but continue to enjoy it all. Take care of yourself!

  11. This article sums up for me all that is good about Width of a Post – real supporters sharing their stories about their football club. John (and others) are right to emphasise the things that are important in life. I have supported City since 1959, a 5-4 defeat to Accrington Stanley. In the early 1970’s I moved to Lancashire and have lived there ever since. But I have come to know the M62 very well and have been a season ticket holder since the premiership years. My youngest daughter Kate accompanied me to Wembley to watch City’s play off success against Notts County, the League Cup Final against Swansea and the play off final against Northampton Town. In 2014 she was diagnosed with cancer and three months later Kate passed away. As a family we were devastated to lose such beautiful, intelligent, humorous and caring young woman. But in her final days she was explicit in how she wanted us to carry on as normal and enjoy the rest of our lives – so much easier said than done. The trip to Wembley last season was difficult but I know she would have expected me to be there. This season I have bought a season ticket for my five year old grand daughter who insists that she wants to go to her first game on her sixth birthday, so that will Plymouth in November. I hope she enjoys it and I also hope that if we ever visit Wembley again in my lifetime she will be there thinking of Auntie Kate and watching City win.

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