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Bradford City at Wembley for Capital One Cup Final: Emotions Will Run Deep

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The incredible journey is nearly over and we're just about done, but it's still not really sunk in: Bradford City are in a major cup final for the first time in 102 years.

Don't tell the boss but my concentration levels have suffered in a cup run that began on a warm August afternoon and an improbable victory at Notts County. Up until then, City's recent success in Cup competitions was as memorable as our League form - forgettable.

When I blogged a few days before the season began never did I imagine what would unfold over the coming months. Last summer I prayed for some good news, not just for my football club, but for both of Bradford's leading sporting clubs who were both up against it. What has happened since has blown everyone's minds.

Living near London, most of my City matches feature south east clubs and so it was that I headed off to the familiar environs of Vicarage Road in August for the unusual experience of a League Cup second round tie. Two goals in the last five minutes were enough to beat Championship side Watford and send the 248 travelling fans crazy. If that sent shock waves through the faithful, you can understand why the well-documented victories since have become more and more mind-boggling.

Much has been said about Bradford City's fall since the heady days of Premiership football, but the struggles go back much further than that and provide more context for what Sunday's Capital One Cup Final means for the club and its fans.

After many years of difficulties, board members Stafford Heginbotham and Jack Tordoff in 1983 saved Bradford City from financial oblivion soon after promotion from what was then Division Four. Their financial input was crucial but so was the £43,000 raised by fans that summer which helped pay players' wages and keep the club afloat.

Many of those fans have been at the forefront of the battles to keep City going over the past decade and in the face of two periods of administration. To have endured such traumas - and not forgetting the tragedy of the fire - means the highs are savoured and soaked up by supporters and absorbed into club folklore with an intensity that can perhaps only be realised by those who have lived through the many lows.

This doesn't mean Bradford City fans have the monopoly on emotions in a passionate sport, but it's those moments that define our club. Mention Forest away, Blackpool away; Wembley, Des Hamilton and Mark Stallard; Everton away and 'that' goal by Chris Waddle; Wolves away; and Liverpool at home and City fans will recall those heroics vividly as though they were yesterday. And maybe that's the nub of it - we wish it really was just yesterday.

Since that Liverpool game, there has been little joy to speak of.. until now. Years of decline culminating in six seasons in the League's basement have been hard but those fans who have stuck with the club through much thin can finally smile again.

And that's why on Sunday Wembley stadium will be filled with deep passion and love for a club on a day which will be remembered and talked about for years to come.

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