Bradford City have been this season’s “fall in love” team.
Every season there is a small club which rises from the ashes and takes on the big boys in a David versus Goliath-type match. This year the Bantams have been the shining light in what has been quite a dull FA Cup.
There have been a few great matches such as the Blyth Spartans v Hartlepool United match but all in all there have been no great upsets. That is until Bradford came along.
Bradford have been exactly what the FA Cup have needed. In recent years many have complained that the big clubs don’t take the FA Cup seriously anymore and Bradford have come along, not only proving they are right but all shown why the competition is so magic.
In a week where Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that he has sacrificed his side’s FA Cup chances in past seasons in a hope to compete in Europe, Bradford are still going strong in this year’s competition. Their attitude in the FA Cup has been refreshing and manager Phil Parkinson is one of the few managers who has been giving the competition the recognition and respect it deserves.
Despite still having the chance to gain promotion from League One, the Bantams gaffer decided to rest seven of his key players before their match against Reading.
Now they have already beaten Chelsea, Millwall and Sunderland, the West Yorkshire outfit have earned a well-deserved sixth round replay to Championship side Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
It is refreshing to see a League One side get so far. Yes, in recent years we have had the occasional cup upset, but it has been a long time since a lower league club went on such a run.
The FA Cup has needed this kind of excitement for some years. It has always classed itself as “magic” yet it seems to have lost its sparkle in recent times especially with some of the bigger clubs admitting winning matches in the competition is not their biggest priority.
If you look back over the years, the FA Cup has been the one constant in football while everything else around it has changed. It is such a unique competition where teams from all leagues come together and its great to see the magic return.
Hopefully Bradford’s run will make other clubs realise that the FA Cup is a fantastic competition and cup runs can be so beneficial to a league campaign. Bradford’s Cup run has not dented their chances of reaching the League One play-off spots and the fans are loving the journey they are on.
Cup runs are great for everyone involved in the club; the players love it because they get to play different teams and the fans love it because it’s an experience.
Hopefully, next season, others will take note…