Sunday, 16 March 2008

Bantam Wet

Feeling a bit down and nothing but work on my to do list I impulsively decided to take myself down to Valley Parade yesterday to see Bradford City play -second from bottom of league two-Mansfield. I don't know why Bradford are called the Bantams but I do know that they were the first winners of the current FA cup trophy (1911) and that the trophy itself was made in Bradford. I also know that Valley Parade was the venue of the Premier League's fastest ever goal scored by...Ledley King of all people in only 10 seconds.

I was soaked from fine, extra wet rain by the time I'd got there and installed myself in the 'noisy bit'. A dour performance and a 2-1 defeat didn't cheer me up much I have to say. However, a few other things caught my bar room anthropologist's eye and they made me glad I was there.
The first thing you might just be able to make out if you look over the shoulders of the teeming hoards of Mansfield fans in the TL Dallas stand is the dome of a mosque which, set as it is amongst the old mill buildings and workers' cottages, provides a stunning contrast and hints at all sorts of things about geography and history.
This notice I saw at half time whilst trying to put scalding mince in my mouth. If you can't read it all, under the actual vacancies advertised some Bradford wag has put 'fans'. To be fair, Bradford have the best support in League 2 and yesterday's attendance was around 13,500 which isn't far off the likes of Blackburn, Wigan and Boro. The buoyant attendances are in no small part due to the special offer of £110 season tickets (if 10,000 were sold). Next season it's buy one, get one free at £150(if 9,000 are sold. These season tickets are transferable so I may well get one. The only thing holding me back at the moment is what is Spurs got Bradford in the cup?

The final thing that really made me smile was the way all the people at the far end of the stand on the right of this picture. The rain teemed down at around 45 degree right in their faces but they all stayed where they were and wore these daft rain mac things. That would be fair enough if it was packed out but there were 10,000 spare seats and at least half of them were accessible and under cover. It's funny how compliant we are- their ticket had a seat number on it so that's where they were going to sit.
The only other game I saw at Valley Parade was 0-0. Maybe I should avoid the place; I could be their source of bad luck. They might just be crap but I hope not- they're a good honest Yorkshire club and I'm already beginning to see them as my second club.

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