When is an FA Cup shock not so much of a shock? When a Premier League side low on confidence travel to Bradford and perform pathetically.
Sunderland arrived at Valley Parade like lambs to the slaughter. Meekly, from first whistle to last, they were outplayed by a Bradford City side whose never say die attitude is a reflection of their honest and hard working manager, Phil Parkinson.
And members of VG TIPS were on the Bantams to win at a best price of 29/10.
That followed on from my tipping City to beat Millwall in an earlier round at odds of 29/20. I didn’t dare tip them to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the following round, but they did. Whatever happens hereafter, that 4-2 improbable triumph at Chelsea will be the highlight of the season for any City fan who made the journey to West London.
Unless, of course, their battling team win their next cup game, the quarter-final, and find themselves en route to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final.
Having lived high above Bradford, at High Eldwick, and as a near neighbour of racehorse trainer Sue Smith and her husband Harvey; I know what this cup run means to the people of the city and to those supporters who have followed the club through more thin than thick.
Manager Phil Parkinson referred to the noise the fans made on three sides of the ground. It was like a cup tie of old. As for his opposite number, Gus Poyet had to listen to supporters chanting “You’re getting sacked in the morning.” And some of them were Sunderland fans!
Sunderland are 5/1 to be relegated.
Poyet got the miracle he said they needed a year ago. They need another one if they are to stay up this season.
As for Bradford City, they hope for a home draw against a big club in the next round. I think they have a better change of progressing if they did get, for example, Arsenal at home. After all, they’ve shot down the gunners at Valley Parade in the past. The cup being what it is, Bradford City are more likely to make it to the semi-final if they next get Premier League opposition rather than Blackburn Rovers.
The draw for the quarter-finals takes place on Monday evening.