Sunday, 24 February 2013

Bradford’s Adventure comes to an Uncomfortable End

Bradford City fans had dared to dream the impossible dream; they believed that after a remarkable run to Wembley, the Bantams could overhaul one more giant and lift the League Cup.

Given they had already dumped Wigan, Aston Villa and Arsenal out of the competition, the idea of Yorkshire club beating Swansea was suddenly not such a fanciful one.

Sadly for the 32,000 fans that travelled down from West Yorkshire, the yawning gap between League Two and the Premier League was ruthlessly exposed, though that only served to show how impressive Bradford’s achievements were in making it to the final in the first place.

What made this year’s final special, however, was that whoever won, there would be a fantastic story behind it.

Ten years ago Swansea were battling to stay in the football league, but their remarkable rise – done without a billionaire benefactor yet still playing attractive, highly skilled football – was capped with their first major trophy in 100 years.

Michael Laudrup can rightly take credit for what the team has done this season, but so can Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, visionary managers whose philosophy re-built and re-moulded the football club into something the fans would have scarcely imagined a decade ago.

The big question is now - just how far can they go? They already have a European place in the bag and are on course for their highest top-flight finish for more than 30 years.

Keeping Laudrup at the helm could be their first challenge given apparent interest from Real Madrid. But looking at how they seamlessly moved on from Martinez and Rodgers, I highly doubt the Dane’s departure would stop the Swansea fairytale from continuing on a while yet.

While Swansea may be on their way to the Europa League, fans of the competition will need to find an alternative club to bet on this season. Visit the Europa League betting website for the latest from Europe:

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