Issue Everything changes

As told by Michael Wood

Ninety nine times have Bradford City entered the FA Cup since the 1910/1911 season – give of take the odd World War – and ninety nine (well, ninety really) times we have failed to win the competition once more. Next season it will be a century since the Bantams – Jimmy Spiers et al – picked up the old trophy and considering the club’s centenary was something of an horrific damp squib with staying in business put above celebration perhaps the club could look at throwing a proper party in May 2011 to mark that anniversary.

Bringing the FA Cup to Valley Parade as anything other than a visitors seems a remote prospect to say the least though. City are in the bottom tier and the height of our ambitions at present ranges from getting though the season without a visit from the administrator to starting a return up the leagues which some would say will cap out in the Championship.

The ambitions of League Two clubs are simply not that high.

Aside from Notts County the huge spending of which City caught the eye of the storm in a 5-0 defeat at Meadow Lane. That day marked something of a low which the Bantams went on to recover from slowly until a point where we sit in the middle of the league waiting for consistent victories or the return of Omar Daley – or perhaps both.

Since that opening day City have recovered while County have done well although probably not as well as expected. The likes of AFC Bournemouth and Rochdale battle out at the top of the division and County’s idea of rolling over the division with Premiership stars came unstuck when Sol Campbell wandered away from a defeat at Morecambe never to return.

The were asked to name the people behind them beyond “Middle East Investors” and they did citing themselves as packed by various people who would not be named in public – although the FA knows and approves of the people named as The Munto Group – although it did emerge that they were from Japan and Pakistan neither of whom are in the Middle East.

Campbell left and rumours had it that director of football Sven Goran Erikkson would follow until the Swede saw manager Ian McParland replaced by Sven’s former assistant Hans Backe. The club seemed to be waiting for McParland to do something the merited the sack and – the 2-2 penalties defeat to City aside – the manager was doing well enough to keep the position. Without a reason to sack him County seemed to just decide to get rid of him anyway.

The Bantams are talking much about a desire for revenge following that 5-0 defeat but one expects that that revenge for an obnoxious club who lionise a man in Lee Hughes who definitely does not deserve lionising and in Luke Rodgers have a player who is as skilled at cheating as he is at football will come further down the line when the Munto Group’s flexible definitions of truth come back to haunt the supporters.

Stuart McCall is expected to keep faith with Simon Eastwood – providing Huddersfield Town do not mind his being cup tied – in goal despite mounting and justified criticism. Jon McLaughlin would take the clubs is Town seen Eastwood keeping goal after Alex Smithies leaves in the transfer window.

Jon Bateson – who was sent off in City’s last trip to Nottingham continues to fill in for Simon Ramsden at right back in a settled defence of Simon Williams, Zesh Rehman and Luke O’Brien.

Chris Brandon is out with a hamstring strain allowing Lee Bullock to return to the side in a midfield three of Bullock, Michael Flynn and James O’Brien the latter of which is becoming an unsung hero of the Bantams side. Scott Neilson drifts between midfield and attack on the right.

James Hanson – who Stuart McCall justified pumping the ball to at Macclesfield with the immortal line “Well, he was winning everything” – continues up front alongside the hard working Gareth Evans.