An afternoon at Valley Parade
Comet editor Darren Isted gives you his take on a trip to Bradford City
Stafford away, Swindon in the rain and of course Newcastle. The pantheon of Big Boro away days had a new name on Saturday with the trip to Valley Parade and the first ever away match in the Football League.
It has been a week of many firsts and I’m sure GW and the side will be glad when they are all behind them and they can get down to some less ‘historic’ games.
But for those that have been waiting for most of their lives for this season, Saturday was another chance to milk the moment.
I had already been ‘warned’ by other members of the press that Bradford would be the best ground we would see this year. And to be fair I could imagine that to be the case as Valley Parade truly is a fantastic set-up for this level.
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Built of course on the foundations of a tragedy, the club recovered from the 1985 stadium fire and hit the heady heights of the top flight before slipping back down the leagues.
Officials at the club suggested that the worst thing which could have happened to them was to escape relegation on the final day of the season when they beat Liverpool in 2000.
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Their survival prompted a spending spree which did not see them stay up the following year and of course dogged them all the way down to the bottom tier.
Set in a valley, the ground only appears to you at the last minute but the impressive co-operative stand wouldn’t look amiss many leagues higher and signals that you have arrived.
The reception in the press area was warm…ish, and I’m sure the person who ran the show didn’t mean to offend when she told me to ‘make the most of it.’
What of course she meant was that such hospitality wouldn’t be repeated at places such as Macclesfield Town and Aldershot.
I could have told her that from past experience although to be fair they surely must have upped their games from the degrading pit of shabby customer service which they once occupied with teams such as Welling.
As for the game, while of course while no defeat is ever good there can be very few negatives to come out of it but I suppose 17 chances and no goals does beg the question that while we have goalscoring options aplenty, a nailed on 20-goals a season man would not go amiss.
At the other end we looked decidedly more mean at the back; Mark Roberts was back to being a beast and once again I am struggling to think of a save which Chris Day has made so far in the League.
On Saturday the pub landlord had enough time to change a couple of barrels and organise a quiz night given the ‘pressure’ which the Bantams managed to muster.
The final word though must go to the fans. Like the players they have moved up a league and look at ease at the higher level. They are noisy, good natured and supportive, and they, like the players, really do look to have got their act together on and off the pitch in the past year.
Having caught the first three games of the season my record will now fall as camping among the squalor of Hylands Park, Chelmsford, at the weekend (cue more Welling references) means I will miss the Stockport clash.
All I can hope for is three points, three goals scored and 3,000 plus to watch.
Cue the history lesson, cue our first League win.