Football is great for nostalgia, isn’t it? Bradford City would certainly agree.
Bradford’s exceptional League Cup run in the 2012/13 season marked history. They became the first team from the fourth-tier of English football to reach a Wembley final. Furthermore they also became only the second team from the fourth-tier division to reach a major final – with the other team being Rochdale who reached the League Cup Final in 1962.
Bradford’s scintillating run featured big wins over, Championship side Watford in the second round, as well defeating Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa from the Premier League. In the final, the Bantams faced Swansea who trounced them 5-0. Nonetheless, it was run that will always be cherished by Bradford supporters and football fans alike. Here is a look at the starting XI and where they are now:
Matt Duke training with Northampton
Duke received the Man of the Match award during Bradford's 2012-13 League Cup semi-finals against Aston Villa. In the final Duke was given a red card for fouling Jonathan de Guzman. His replacement, McLaughlin conceded the subsequent penalty-kick as Bradford lost 5-0. Duke is now a goalkeeping coach for Chesterfield following spells with Northampton Town and Alfreton Town. Image Source: Zimbio
The season following the League Cup exploits, Darby won seven awards at the end of season dinner. He also became the club captain in June 2014. In May 2017 it was announced that he would be released at the end of the season following his contract expiry. Image Source: chadwickmedia
McArdle played a vital role in the first-leg of the semi-finals against Aston Villa. He scored a header in their 3-1 victory. During the 2014-15 campaign he was credited as player of the year. Rory McArdle is now signed to Scunthorpe United. Image Source: Iron Bru
During the summer of 2014, McHugh left Bradford and signed for Plymouth Argyle. In the summer of 2016 McHugh found himself signing with Motherwell. This was after allegedly agreeing to extend his contract with Argyle. It wasn't until March 2017 that McHugh recorded his first goal for Motherwell in a 2-1 away victory to Kilmarnock. Image Source:
Good spent the 2012-13 campaign on loan with the Bantams, however, he made few appearances. Despite this, Good featured in the starting XI for Bradford's cup final.
Good spent the next season on loan at Dundee United before returning to Newcastle. Due to injury, his return for Newcastle was in January 2017 during an FA Cup match against Oxford United. Image Source: FourFourTwo
Thompson signed a one-year contract with Bradford in July 2012. He was hugely influential for the Bantams during the League Cup scoring his first goal against Watford in injury time. The result was a 2-1 victory. The winger also scored against Arsenal in the quarter-final. He assisted both Nahki Wells and James Hanson in the play-off finals to secure promotion to League One in the same season.
The attacking player found himself with spells at Notts County and Wycombe Wanderers but is currently without a club. Image Source:
Jones signed for Bradford in the summer of 2012. He captained the club in their historic win over Arsenal in December 2012 as well against Aston Villa in the semi-finals. The midfielder has since signed for several clubs including Notts County, Southport and has been on loan with Altrincham. Image Source: Blogg
Doyle had spent the 2006-07 season on loan at Bradford, and made his return to the club in the 2012-13 season scoring in the penalty shootout against Wigan in the League Cup to secure a place in the quarter finals. He was named in the starting XI for the League Cup final and featured at Wembley for a second time that season as Bradford won the League Two playoffs gaining promotion into League One. Doyle signed for Luton Town in September 2014 before leaving early into 2017 by mutual consent and is currently unattached to a team.
Image Source: Twitter
Atkinson featured for the Bantams in the 2012-13 season on loan scoring his first goal for the club in a 4-0 win over Barnet. He played in all of Bradford's seven matches to reach the 2012-13 League Cup final. In the summer of 2013 Atkinson signed a two-year contract with Southend United. In May 2017 Atkinson signed for EFL League Two club Mansfield Town as manager Steve Evan’s 11th summer signing. Image Source: Twitter
Hanson was a key player for Bradford in their journey to the League Cup final scoring a goal in the second leg of the semi-finals against Aston Villa earning himself the Man of the Match award. Hanson remained at Bradford from 2009 until 2017 where he signed for Sheffield United on the 21st January.
Image Source: Twitter
Wells had a fantastic season during the 2012-13 campaign scoring 26 goals in all competitions. During the third round of the League Cup, Wells came on from the bench to score two late goals helping Bradford overturn a 2-0 deficit against Burton Albion with the Bantams winning 3-2 in extra time. During the first leg of the semi-finals against Aston Villa, where the Bantams won 3-1, Wells scored the opening goal on the 19th minute mark. Wells remained at the club until January 2014 where he signed for Huddersfield Town. Bradford are speculated to receive £250,000 bonus payment following Huddersfield’s promotion to the Premier League at the end of 2016-17 season. Image Source: Twitter
Despite the successful run and gaining promotion to League One, most of the players on this list never saw their careers surge. Nahki Wells winning promotion with Huddersfield arguably places him as the best player on this list. What are your thoughts on this starting XI?