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.