I looked at the cup draw this morning and cheered wildly. Leeds. Away. It doesn’t get much better than this I thought. Another game with 4,500+ travelling Bradfordians in full voice backing the lads out on the pitch – exciting! But I came online and I found more posts around the message boards bemoaning the draw than excited at it.
City aren’t going to win the cup. And apart from last season we’ve hardly had a win in the damn thing. In recent years we’ve not trouble the 2nd round, bar last year, exiting in mundane games against the likes of Carlisle, Forest and Wolves. Hardly pulsating games to excite the masses. But the Leeds draw is different. Despite residing only ten miles down the road from Bradford, the paths of the two teams rarely meet. We rarely get the opportunity to get one over them from down t’road and we should take the chance with both hands.
A lot of fans seem to have a defeatist attitude – we’re not going to win so what’s the point? Well if that’s the case, why bother at all – City rarely go into games, if ever, guaranteed of a win. We probably wouldn’t have won had we drawn Scunthorpe, Rochdale or Carlisle – but we’d still give it a go.
Then people were moaning about whether it’ll be on TV or not – will we get our share of £30,000 TV money? Who cares? It’s Leeds, get down to the game. I realise that’s not an option for some, but the vast majority it’s the closest game we’ve had since we last played Leeds 3 years ago. For once money can be forgotten about – and at Elland Road with most likely a crowd of around 20,000 similar to last time, the share of the gate receipts will be more than plentiful.
Since dropping into League Two, we’ve had a severe lack of local derbies. I remember 6 or 7 years ago in League One where it seemed every other game was a derby of sorts – Huddersfield, Hull, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield Wednesday all in the same division. And we came out on top of the ‘Yorkshire League’ that year! Since then we’ve had nothing of the sorts - Leeds gives us a game to get excited about again. Our biggest rivalry in League Two is probably Rotherham – and that’s lost any sort of kick it had about it since they left Millmoor. The trip to Elland Road gives us a chance to have a highly charged, intense game for once, with what will promise to be an electric atmosphere.
And for Leeds fans too, I’m sure they will be much more looking forward to a game against City, than some of the possibilities they could have drawn – mouth-watering ties with Accrington, Burton or Hartlepool. A midweek game against City will, with the greatest of respect, be a much bigger prospect for them than welcoming any of those teams and I’m sure they will be looking forward to telling us how much they don’t care about us, how it’s not a proper rivalry and how they will remind us that we are the ‘poor relations’. Despite all this, the Leeds fans that I’m mates with have for the last few years proclaimed how they wish that ourselves and Huddersfield had swapped positions and they could have had matches with us rather than those from the Galpharm. They want a ‘proper’ Yorkshire derby it seems, and we’re the ones to give it to them.
Maybe I’m biased, being Leeds born and bred and having lived here for my 21 years all my mates are Leeds fans and love winding me up – but I think if you can’t get excited by the thought of this cup draw, then nothing much will excite you as a Bradford City fan.
It might only be the Carling Cup. They might not really care about us. But who cares?
It’s Leeds, away. Bring it on.