By Tim Penfold
With four games to go, we’re ten points clear and on course to win the Premier League. And next up at Valley Parade is our good friends Leeds. Shame we can’t win the title today – as Arsenal have games in hand – but we can still look down our noses at them.
I name an unchanged side, while the visitors name an interesting central defence of Dean Richards and Robert Molenaar. I suspect Molenaar may be a weakness there, and we set about exploiting that. A fluent team move leads to Rankin setting up Robbie Blake to make it 1-0, then Paul Bolland finds some space down the flank and crosses. Windass heads it back across, and Mills heads it in.
There’s a blow when Darren Moore goes off injured, with Peter Atherton coming on, but then Leeds’ day gets worse – Robbie Blake makes David Batty look stupid and Batty fouls him. He’s already booked, so off he goes. In the second half Wayne Jacobs goes flying forward from full back and crosses for Windass to score a 3rd.
We are so nearly there, but there’s an international break first where O’Brien and Wright pick up more caps. Sadly, none for Robbie Blake.
Our next game is a trip to Leicester, which is moved to the Sunday for TV. Arsenal play on the Saturday, and if they lose we’re champions.
So we travel to Leicester. Darren Moore is both injured and suspended, so Atherton starts and Ronnie Wallwork is on the bench. Edinho is also back, and comes in for Rankin. Can we seal the league?
Well, if Stuart McCall has anything to say about it the answer is yes. Blake heads the ball into the six yard box for McCall to hammer it into the net. Our second is a classic from last season – Wayne Jacobs takes a corner, and Andy O’Brien doubles the lead.
We should be miles in front, but we don’t score any more and Tommy Doherty of all people punishes us, pulling a goal back. It’s nervy and tense, and Leicester suddenly start threatening…until one of their younger lads lunges in on Edinho and gets sent off.
From there, we control the game and ease to victory. We are the champions!
I also FINALLY get the manager of the month award. With the season we’ve had, it’s about time.
Our last home game is against Chelsea, and the visitors give us a guard of honour on to the pitch. There’s one change, with Darren Moore returning.
We’re celebrating, and are much better than the visitors. Windass gives us a first half lead, then in the second half Robbie Blake goes on a weaving run past Ronald de Boer and Roberto di Matteo before finishing. It’s so comfortable, and in stoppage time Stuart McCall is withdrawn to a standing ovation. He’s got to go and get ready to lift a trophy.
It’s 15 years since Bradford City last won a league. McCall was there that day as well, when triumph turned to sorrow. This day is pure joy though, and in front of a packed Valley Parade Stuart McCall steps up and lifts the Premiership trophy.
We have one game left – a trip to Derby. Alan Rogers comes in for Wayne Jacobs in our only change.
It’s very much an end of season game – comfortable but not much happening. It’s 0-0 at half time, and continues like that in the second half. Derby have one shot all game, but we can’t score until Andy O’Brien gets fouled in the box in the 87th minute.
Lee Todd hasn’t missed a penalty since he joined the club. He steps up…and it’s saved.
It ends 0-0. Something of an anti-climax really.
Still, I can’t exactly complain. We are the champions!
The team did magnificently all season, but the real stand-outs were Edinho, Mills, McCall and Blake. Gary Walsh had a fine season, and Andy O’Brien is getting better and better at the back.
I wasn’t expecting Alan Rogers or Paul Bolland to play so much, but they did a fine job. Bolland had a key run of games in the 2nd half of the season.
And we’ll wrap it up here – Champions!
Sadly, this is where this ends. My game crashed over the summer update, and I haven’t been able to fix it, so you don’t get to see Stuart vs Barcelona. So we leave it here – Bradford City as champions, Geoffrey Richmond’s legend as chairman secured and Robbie Blake surely going on to win many more caps for England.
Almost as good as real life really.
Categories: Championship Manager