BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 22, 2013) (ITN) - Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson was in a dream after they beat Aston Villa 4-3 on aggregate in the League Cup semi-final on Tuesday (January 22).
Despite the evening's 2-1 loss at Villa Park, Bradford held on to become the first fourth tier club to reach a major English cup final since Rochdale lost to Norwich City in the League Cup in 1962.
Villa, trailing 3-1 from the first leg, went ahead through Christian Benteke but James Hanson's 55th-minute header calmed Bradford's nerves and they held on despiteAndreas Weimann's late effort for the five-times League Cup winners.
"It was a moment to savour for everybody and you know, the supporters, the players, myself, we all had our families in the crowd tonight, so for them to be a part of what we achieved tonight, you know, is something we will never forget and you know I'm so proud of the players, the way they perform," Parkinson told a news conference afterwards.
He acknowledged that it was the biggest night of his career so far.
"Yeah it's got to be, it's got to be, to take the club to a Wembley final. You know we said just before the lads went out that most -- a lot of players, a lot of managers -- never get this opportunity, to play in a semi-final. But to take a team and from the English second division to Wembley is, is a dream and we're going to savour every minute of it and I can assure you and think Bradford could sell out Wembley on their own," said Parkinson.
Parkinson told his news conference: "Well I mean, first of all, financially you know, the money we've earned up to this point has been fantastic, but to go to Wembley, it's going to keep the club going for, for quite a while I sdhould imagine. For the city of Bradford I think it's massive, you know, you feel this can galvanise the area. Our supporters have stuck with the club through really tough times, you know. Over the last 10 years there hasn't been a great deal to cheer about, being a Bradford City supporter and I'm so pleased tonight that we've given something (for supporters) to go into work tomorrow, you know and to hold their heads up high and be proud of the club."
Victory in the Wembley final on February 24, against the winner of the Swansea Cityagainst Chelsea match being played on Wednesday (January 23), would earn Bradforda place in Europe for the first time since they appeared in the now defunct Intertoto Cup in 2000.