News and Views

Bradford City Fans Struggle To Pick Winner

05 March 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Before our crunch FA Cup quarter final fixture at Bradford City this weekend we popped on City fan site Claret and Banter to get their views on how the game might go, players to watch out for, and their opinions on Phil Parkinson and Reading Football Club. We got a mixed response but were a bit surprised they weren't all expecting to cruise into the next round against an out of form Reading side. The home side are favourites with the bookmakers to make it through but both sets of fans seem to be finding it a very hard game to predict. It could go either way. One thing is for certain, former Reading midfielder and current Bradford City manager Phil Parksinon is a very popular man with both Reading and Bradford City fans.

Here's a summary of the Bradford City viewpoint:

1) Bradford City are favourites for the win... should they be? What's the score going to be?

"Difficult to predict. Who score first will have a massive bearing on the final outcome."
"Reading are a Championship side, but the pitch should help City!"
A few predictions for a narrow Bradford City win and a few for a draw with Reading winning the replay. The odd Reading win was predicted. A lot of Bradford fans couldn't call it: "The odds with the bookies are really close and were the same three games ago, personally I don't see us as favourites. Your away form is relatively good, our home form so so, and you are playing Championship sides every week. Good luck with predicting a score! After the Chelsea game I've given up."

2) Phil Parkinson is a Reading legend. After promotion, League Cup final and this FA Cup run how far away is he from legend status at Bradford?

"He's already a legend." was a popular response. "Phil has weaved his magic over the the club. Initially there were a number of detractors, but he has won over the vast majority." If he's not quite a legend yet at Bradford then he nearly is: "He is getting ever closer to legendary status. He is a perfect fit for our club, and I hope he is here for many more years to come." Phil Parkinson has brought the good times back to Bradford City after a steady decline. City are still well placed for the play-offs and could find themselves playing Reading in the Championship next season. Parky has already got City out of League Two and taken them to the League Cup final. There's a real belief that another cup final could be on the cards and promotion perhaps next season or even this.

"He's definitely the best manger we've ever had though and seems like a great guy to boot. He builds teams where shirking, sulking and underperforming isn't tolerated. Where teammates either pull together or they find themselves on the bench or out completely. In short; he builds the kind of teams fans want to see representing them on the pitch. Please never come calling with a job offer."

"It's hard for managers to be legends, he's a hairs breadth from catching Trevor cherry. No one from Bradford will deny his status, top man, top manager."

3) Who have been the best players for Bradford so far this season?

Unlike Reading this season, Bradford have a whole load of stand out players, partially thanks to their amazing run in the FA Cup. It was more of a case of "who hasn't had a great season", summed up by the response: "I love all my children equally". That's a popular viewpoint: "Difficult to single out really. But if pushed, I would go for Rory McArdle and Gary Liddle. Jon Stead and Filipe Morais have been the class acts in the FA cup though".
"Rory McArdle has been immense at centre back and Jon Stead has added some real class".
"Liddle, I imagine he is in the mould of Parky when he played."

4) What do you think of Reading? Like us? Hate us? Don't care?

This was a definate case of "don't care", or more simply: "Who?", or even "Couldn't give a monkeys chuff."
For Bradford the Royals are as nondescript as they come. City fans seem a friendly bunch, so I can't imagine any trouble for traveling fans this weekend regardless of the result. "I cant think of a club who have pi$$ed as few people off as Reading" was followed up by "Fondly referred to as Mumsnet FC." "What's not to like? My best mate is a Reading fan, his dad is an affable vicar. Perfect metaphor." Perhaps the worst experience of Reading was "I think of the time a pigeon pooped on my head whilst watching City in the 80's at Elm Park".

5) Who's going to win the FA Cup?

Apart from Bradford, Liverpool seem a popular choice: "Got Liverpool written all over it." Strangely, no mention of Reading in this one. We can't understand why!

6) Another season in League One or defeated FA Cup finalists?

A bit of a mix on this one, but Bradford fans seem to think promotion is lined up for next season anyway, which gives the logical answer of "FA Cup finalists, promotion next year on the back of that". It's difficult to argue with that, and you get the impression that Bradford City are a team on the up and a small delay on arriving in the Championship would be an ok return for two further trips to Wembley this season. Of course adding a play-off final appearance to that would make it a season comparable to League Cup winners and probable Premier League winners Chelsea - who of course Bradford City have already dumped out of the FA Cup 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. There's still plenty of interest left in this season for Bradford one way or another - while for Reading their season will be essentially over if we're beaten at Valley Parade.

7) Best pubs for away fans?

"Certainly not the Barrack Tavern on Lumb Lane!". Try the Bradford Arms or The Fighting Cock. On the Fighting Cock: "It's a moderate trek form the ground, has sawdust on the floor, cress in the urinals and a landlady that uses Hacksaw Jim Duggan's barbers but it's a great boozer and has the largest selection of ales, lagers and ciders in the whole of Christendom. It even has a comfortable kerb outside for a late night nap."

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