St James' Park, Newcastle

Next Game

Newcastle v Swansea

Saturday, 19 April 2014, 15:00

Barclays Prem

The Liberty Stadium

Last Game

Swansea 0 - 1 Chelsea

Sunday, 13 April 2014, 16:07

Barclays Prem

Bradford did League Two proud in final

TEAMtalk guest Tom Reed believes Sunday's Capital One Cup final highlighted Swansea's fortune in reaching the Premier League in the modern era.

Last Updated: 25/02/13 at 10:55 Post Comment

Phil Parkinson: Stands in front of Bradford's massed ranks

Phil Parkinson: Stands in front of Bradford's massed ranks

World Cup 2014

Check out the latest outright odds on next summer's World Cup in Brazil

While some pundits framed Sunday's League Cup final as an uneven battle between Premier League style and League Two brawn, the more astute realised that there is little to separate Swansea and Bradford City.

Both are medium-sized clubs from former industrial heartlands, the key difference being that Bradford had their Premier League years before the serious money hit England's elite league.

If roles were reversed and Bradford were in the top flight and handed their £90million revenue boost, it could easily be Michu plying his trade at Valley Parade, whilst the modern-day equivalent of Benito Carbone (said to be on £40k a week in 2002) could even be accommodated.

Indeed, whilst Bradford live with the hand-to-mouth financial restrictions of the basement division, their opposition from south Wales can afford to expand the capacity of their Liberty Stadium for the hell of it.

There's no doubt that this galling state of affairs played on the mind of the 31,000 Bantams fans who made their way to Wembley. For Bradford actually has a larger population than Swansea.

In the nineteenth century, Swansea was known for its copper smelting works, and its current football team has the cosmopolitan sheen worthy of a city once known as 'Copperopolis'.

Managed by the dashing Dane Michael Laudrup, who graced both the Camp Nou and the Bernabeu in a distinguished career, the Welsh side could call upon a multinational roster including Michu, Jonathan De Guzman and Ki Sung Yeung for their trip to Wembley.

In contrast, Bradford, below Morecambe and Fleetwood in the current League Two standings, featured both an ex-supermarket shelf stacker and a former pub team player in their starting XI.

Not that James Hanson's time at the Co-op or Matt Duke's stint between the sticks for a Sheffield and District Sunday league side made them any less worthy of gracing the Wembley turf.

Indeed, Bradford, birthplace of David Hockney, had a smattering of artistry themselves with the cherubic speedster Nakhi Wells capable of painting broad brush strokes across a game, whilst the wing work of Zavon Hines is worthy of a player schooled by West Ham.

Not that Swansea would be outdone in the style stakes with friends and relatives of Swans players flying in from Canada, South Korea, Australia, Germany and Spain. The mercurial Asturian Michu bought an extra twenty tickets for his entourage from Oviedo.

The match itself showed that there was everything and nothing between the two teams. Bradford struggled to get effective crosses to their aerial threat Hanson while Swansea bossed the possession as you would expect of a club with a £65million turnover. This resulted in goals one, two, three, four and five for Swansea.

The first, third and fourth goals were forced by Nathan Dyer's agile runs on and off the ball, whilst the Swans' second saw Michu given space in the Bradford box to switch feet and curl the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Swansea's penultimate goal came by way of a penalty after De Guzman was tripped by Bantams goalkeeper Duke when through on goal. De Guzman and Dyer (who was on a hat-trick) showed precious little class in arguing over who was to take the kick after Duke had received his marching orders.

Eventually De Guzman slotted home the penalty before being allowed the luxury of a 92nd-minute tap-in to seal the win and the League Cup.

Bradford's fans stood resolute in their many thousands as they have done all season. After all, they follow a club with 10,000 season ticket holders in League Two.

They had been beaten by a club who, when in the basement league, struggled to break through the 5,000 attendance barrier. Never had the riches of the Premier League seemed so divisive.

Much was made of Swansea's rise from League 2 to their current seat at the top table. But it no longer seems realistic, with the multi-million pound fortunes being gambled in the Championship, that any basement side could repeat the feat.

It would have been poetic justice if Swansea, home of Dylan Thomas, had lost to Bradford.

However, as Laudrup's men toasted their silverware and the bars around Wembley reverberated with raucous refrains of 'Land of my fathers', the Bantams had achieved something perhaps more notable.

They had brought League Two football to the world's attention at a time when those from the bottom rung of the ladder are feeling most disenfranchised and disconnected to the top.

Lower league fans will be hopeful that Bradford's efforts have shown that every club deserves a meritocratic shot at upward mobility. They will not go gently into that good night.

World Cup 2014

Check out the latest outright odds on next summer's World Cup in Brazil

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Contract news: Tim Howard has been handed an extension to his Everton contract

Tim Howard will be staying with Everton until at least 2018 after agreeing a two-year extension to his contract.

Neymar and Jordi Alba will miss the bulk of the remainder of the season

Barcelona forward Neymar has been ruled out for up to a month due to a left foot injury.

Transfer news: Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino warns off Luke Shaw suitors

Mauricio Pochettino says in-demand defender Luke Shaw will be staying at Southampton.

Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property