MENTION the ‘FA Cup’ to Bradford City supporters and even those left truly demoralised by the current troubles will struggle not to smile.
Those fantastic days when Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Sunderland were humbled by Phil Parkinson’s men en route to the quarter-finals may feel like a lifetime ago at a club sitting rock bottom of League One.
But less than four years have passed since those heroics and Julian Rhodes, back then joint chairman and now newly-employed in a consultancy role, believes another stirring run can help banish some of the doom and gloom enveloping Valley Parade.
“It isn’t just the income with the FA Cup,” said Rhodes, ahead of today’s tie at National League outfit Aldershot that offers prize money of £36,000 to the victor.
“But also how good a run can make people feel about themselves. You only have to look back at the times we had in both Cups under Phil. Times that none of us will ever forget.
“If we can go on a run, get to the third round and maybe draw one of the big clubs, then that can all help a more positive atmosphere.
“There is also a financial element, of course. The prize money is decent, even for just winning in the first round.
“The plan is to strengthen in the January window and all income generated between now and then can only help.”
League survival is the priority this season after a dreadful start that has seen 13 of the first 17 games lost.
“I am always a big believer in the Cups helping the league form,” added Rhodes. “A lot of people say you can’t have both and should prioritise. But we proved that wrong in 2013 by getting to the League Cup final and winning promotion. The two can feed off each other.”
If we can go on a run, get to the third round and maybe draw one of the big clubs, then that can all help a more positive atmosphere.Julian Rhodes