Week 4: Hero – Bradford City FC

by Ray_North on January 26, 2015

hero_iconThis week’s heroes are the Division One football side, Bradford City – though, we also mention in glorious dispatches – Middlesbrough, Cambridge United, Bolton Wanderers and Leicester City.

There are a number of lies and misconceptions at the heart of association football and most of them have something to do with money.

The first one, is that one footballer (or indeed person) can be worth about 18million times more than another – when you think about it, that’s got to be nonsense. The only people who believe this are the agents who inflate the prices and the businessmen who are stupid enough to engage in such a ridiculous economy as football. And, when you saw Bradford and the other ‘lesser’ ‘cheaper’ teams playing over the weekend, this false and massive difference in their worth was exposed for all to see. Sure, Oscar (value: £30m), can do things with a ball that Gary Liddle (formerly of Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, value: fuck all) can only dream of, but, put them on a football pitch together, as two men competing, as part of two teams trying to win a match and the distinction between them closes.

The second lie, is that the clubs in the Premiership are somehow more important, more significant, because they’re the ones with the money, they’re the ones delivering the product. Bradford City is just as important as Chelsea, or, for that matter, Man City, Spurs, Liverpool or United – Bradford City is a club with a proud and often tragic history, it is a club with fans who will go to bed each night worrying about the fitness of the striker and why their defence has suddenly started leaking goals, fans who will turn up week in week out, not because it’s trendy or because they expect to win, but because that is what they do. And on Saturday, they delivered a salutary lesson to Chelsea’s prawn sandwich fans just how you show real passion.

The third lie, is that football as a game is better now than it used to be, and that we must thank all the foreign imports for improving the game. Nonsense – and again, nonsense, perpetuated by the agents, businessmen and broadcasters who are making money out of football. True, football is different from the game I grew up watching, but that has as much to do with the improved fitness and pitches than anything else – but, is it better? Well, no – don’t tell me, that my pulse is now raised more by watching two Brazilians and Serb on the ball, than it was a kid watching two Scousers and a Scotsman.

Over the weekend – Bradford City a team built for £7500 all in, beat Chelsea a team that cost well over £100m because they were as fit, as strong, as committed, and, clearly just as good at football, otherwise they wouldn’t have scored four goals. Similarly, Cambridge held Man United (the richest club in the world apparently), Middlesbrough gave Man City (a club with bottomless pockets) a hiding, playing some great football; Bolton players put in some brilliant individual performances to thwart Liverpool, and so on – it was amazing. It was sport, not business, it was physical competition not commerce. It was true and honest and just what the FA Cup is all about.

We hail Bradford City this week because they well and truly smashed the lie that money can always buy success and that wealth is superior to skill and individual endeavour, passion and honesty.

Come on the Bantams!

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