‘One Year, Two Seasons’ by Richard Wardell (City Gent Publications, 2018) £3.00
Author Richard Wardell had long thought about writing a book about supporting Bradford City and he could not have chosen a more eventful period to write about. In fact some of us would say that he has successfully written a horror story featuring Bradford City!
It is a long, long time since the Wembley Play-off Final in May, 2017 against Millwall when it seemed that Bradford City supporters were assured of a bright future. Fast forward to the beginning of the 2018/19 and it feels as though the world has been turned upside down. Optimism has been swapped for despondency and rancour. How we will look back upon this period in the future is anyone’s guess but Richard Wardell has done a mighty fine job of documenting the change in outlook during the twelve months that followed the club’s final game of the regular season at Rochdale on 30th April, 2017.
Put together in the same format as The City Gent, it is better described as a booklet (72 pages in size) but with the splendid cover by Paine Proffitt and a good selection of photographs One Year, Two Seasons is well produced and equally well-written. Published to raise money for the Plastic Surgery & Burns Research Unit and the Huntington’s Disease Association it is richly deserving of support.
Richard is a longstanding supporter and one who is unlikely to have his commitment to the club shattered by what has happened at Valley Parade of late. His loyalty to the club and infectious enthusiasm is writ large on each page despite the tangible evidence of the implosion and dramatic loss of form from the end of December, 2017 about which we are all aware. This is a man who should be a positive thinking coach, if not a therapist.
Written as a journal Richard reveals the extent to which supporting his team has come to dominate his life and despite the bad results and disappointments, he demonstrates how it can be a satisfying experience with its various routines. It is something of an understatement when he writes that ‘football is so much more than the 90 minutes on the pitch. It’s about forming and maintaining friendships, it’s about sharing stories with strangers, it’s about communities, and it’s about creating history and making happy memories.’
Amen to all of that. Richard demonstrates that without people like him we wouldn’t have a football club and in truth, it would not be worth following. Long after foreign owners have got bored by their dalliance it will be the likes of Richard Wardell who will help Bradford City AFC begin the process of recovery and rebuilding.
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