Mum’s the word as Thompson prepares for fourth Wembley appearance

BRADFORD CITY have worked hard this week to ensure their players enjoy a stress-free build-up to the Capital One Cup final.

All media duties, for instance, were completed on Tuesday, while the club have also bent over backwards to satisfy and deal with all ticket requirements.

The City board also sanctioned Phil Parkinson taking his team south two days before the final, and not the usual overnight stay, to give the players the best preparation possible.

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For Garry Thompson, however, there is one nagging worry that the club have been unable to ease.

“My mum was telling me the other night that she has done an interview with our local paper in Kendal,” laughed the 31-year-old in conversation with the Yorkshire Post.

“I was born in Kendal and us getting to Wembley has caused a bit of a stir. It is only a little town up in the Lakes, but there are a lot of my family and friends coming down. A lot of them can’t imagine that a lad from Kendal could be playing in the Capital One Cup final.

“As for my mum’s interview with the local paper, I am dreading it. She could have said anything. And, no doubt, she’ll have had the scrapbook out and dug out an embarrassing photo of me aged about six.

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“I’ve got my mum’s number in my phone but it could be on delete very soon. My wife (Chelsy) has also done a radio interview. I haven’t heard it yet and I’m more worried about what she has said than I am about walking out on Sunday. She could be packing her bags.”

Thompson is, of course, joking. Like all the City squad, he has enjoyed the Yorkshire club’s stint in the spotlight.

“It has been good fun,” he adds. “Stephen Darby was doing an interview with Al Jazeera TV this week and we don’t get many requests on the training ground notice board (where the players’ weekly interview duties are displayed) from them, I can tell you.

“It is all about memories. It would be great to turn round in 20 years’ time and be able to tell all the grandkids and the kids, ‘This is what your granddad did in football’.”

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Thompson has netted two vital goals during City’s Wembley run. The first came in stoppage time at Watford to seal a 2-1 second-round win, while the other was on that never-to-be-forgotten night when Arsenal were beaten on penalties at Valley Parade.

He also hit the crossbar in the semi-final second leg at Aston Villa as Bradford’s 4-3 aggregate triumph was enough to clinch a Wembley date that will be the fourth of Thompson’s career.

The midfielder scored in Morecambe’s Conference play-off final triumph over Exeter City in 2007, and he was also on the winning side three years later as Scunthorpe United clinched promotion to the Championship by beating Millwall. In between those two triumphs, however, the Iron lost to Luton Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.

He said: “If selected, Sunday will be my fourth time at Wembley and not many can say that. That would be the icing on the cake, as, hopefully, we won’t need to go back in May because we will have already got promoted.

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“Getting there with Morecambe was great, especially as we won promotion to the Football League. Playing at Wembley for Scunthorpe was great, too.

“But this is completely different. It is a national competition and the coverage we’ve had already has been phenomenal.

“I’ve had so many good luck messages.

Jim Bentley, my former manager at Morecambe, has been on to congratulate me and so has Nigel Adkins, who despite what was going on at Southampton still found time to text me. It is brilliant that people have done that.”

A second goal at Wembley tomorrow would, of course, be a dream come true for Thompson, who admits that the DVD of Morecambe’s 2007 triumph over Exeter in front of 40,043 fans has had more than its fair share of airings.

“It is going to be great to go again,” he says.

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“I don’t care who you are, the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up and there will be a lump in the throat as we walk out in front of a full house.

“If I am honest, my first visit was a bit of a daze. I look back at the DVD and still can’t believe it’s actually me scoring.

“It would be fantastic to do the same again.”

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