Picture Via Steve Walker on Flickr
It truly was one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of recent times. Not only did League One team Bradford City get past Premier League leaders Chelsea when they met at Stamford Bridge, but they crushed them with an epic second-half performance that saw them claw back a two-goal deficit to eventually win 4-2.
Chelsea looked comfortable as frontrunners. But when they came out for the second half at 2-1 following a Jon Stead goal just before the break, it all fell apart. It was not as if they were not without some of their firepower either. It was a decent Chelsea side. But the heart and tenacity of The Bantams showed a spark of that infamous FA Cup magic.
Bradford have fan support so why not broadcasters?
Though they are a modest eighth position and outside the play-off places in their own division – the third tier of English football – Bradford’s performance was nothing short of first rate. They did not eek by with a single, scrappy goal in a nip and tuck affair, they came from behind when they could have easily put their heads down and got drubbed by four or five. Instead, they battled for their right to be in there with the big guns and it paid off. Betting tipsters Blue Square said “Bradford are at it again,” harking back to their giant-slaying activities in 2012/13, defeating Arsenal and Aston Villa in the League Cup.
The kind of spirit and charm they showed is exactly why the northern minnows deserve to get the attention and financial gain from a televised match in the next round. It is a disgrace that their achievements will not be rewarded by the TV attention of their scheduled home tie which would net them a much needed quarter-of-a-million pounds. Even local politicians have urged for action from the Sports Minister Helen Grant.
“How can they justify it? It’s a disgrace,” said Bradford chairman Mark Lawn. They cannot, and he is right. For a competition that is billed as special specifically because these kinds of upsets are possible, the fact that broadcasters are currently choosing not to showcase Bradford in the fifth round is a real kick in the teeth for the Yorkshire club, and lower league supporters nationwide.