The Weekend With Cup Final Class
League Cup Final
Usually, after the winner’s celebrations, crisis stricken headlines would surface on the back pages of newspapers as the losers try to come to terms with missing out, their season deemed a failure.
Not so for Bradford, who delivered one of the greatest football stories of modern times despite being comprehensively beaten by a classy Swansea side.
Swansea dominated Bradford from start to finish restricting the League Two side to a solitary shot on goal as they scored five.
Michael Laudrup ensured his side learned from the mistakes of Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa who had fallen to Bradford before them.
Their slick passing cut Bradford apart, delivering a series of nutmegs and flicks that highlighted the gulf in quality between the Premier League and League Two like those before them could not.
But for Bradford the glory was in the journey, not the destination.
The League Cup final is a long way away from the fourth tier of English football and Phil Parkinson’s side have gifted fans memories en route that are likely to never be matched.
It remains a shame that the final happened to be the first occasion on this cup run where Bradford preformed at a fourth tier level.
However, this was the first time their opposition preformed like a top half Premier League side.
Nathan Dyer appeared to glide around the Wembley turf for his brace and was named man of the match despite his embarrassing bitch-fit when denied the chance to secure a hattrick from the spot by Jonathan De Guzman.
Pablo Hernandez terrorised Bradford down the right and his double nutmeg combination with Michu for Swansea’s second typified Michu’s alchemistic season, a goal worthy of croquet.
Swansea’s first major Cup victory is the culmination of a decade’s work that makes their victory just as romantic as Bradford’s journey to the final.
Ten years ago they teetered on the brink of relegation from the Football League. If Bradford want a model to follow as they move forward, they’ve just been beaten by it.