Town reaches fever pitch over FA Cup

Six-year-old Halifax Town mascot Nicholas Christian-Wilkinson.
Six-year-old Halifax Town mascot Nicholas Christian-Wilkinson.

The FA Cup is the talk of the town as FC Halifax prepare to take on Bradford City in Sunday’s televised clash at the Shay.

The district is buzzing about the eagerly-anticipated match, which will see the two football teams meet for the first time since September 1998.

Halifax chairman David Bosomworth, a former Bradford director, says he and fellow board members Bobby Ham and Stuart Peacock cannot wait for the big day.

“I’m immensely excited. Everybody’s referring to be Bradford City connections with myself and Bobby and Stuart.

“But rest assured we’re blue-and-white and we’re desperate for Halifax to be in the draw for the next round.

“I would say 99 times out of 100 you’d expect Bradford City to win - League One club, massive playing budget, full-time.

“But perhaps it’ll be that one occasion out if the hundred that we win.

“What does everybody say - it’s the magic of the cup, you just don’t know.

“If Bradford City play to their maximum then they’re probably going to win the game.

“If they don’t and we play in an inspired way we might win and that’s what we’re all in it for.

“But win, lose or draw we’ve got to enjoy what is a superb occasion.

“This is for Halifax and the Calderdale area, so we need the fans and people who perhaps haven’t been down to the Shay before.

“Come down and support the town’s team.”

Halifax MP Linda Riordan said: “This is a fabulous day for everyone associated with the club and the town as a whole.

“I think there will be a brilliant atmosphere and, whatever the result, the players will do themselves and FC Halifax town proud.

“Ever since the draw was made this has been the talk of the town.

“Let’s hope for a great day, a great crowd and a great result for the Shaymen.”

Mascots for the game will be Sacred Heart School pupils Coby Thomas Hayes and Nicholas Christian-Wilkinson, both aged six, who both play for Ryburn United Juniors.

Coby also trains with Manchester City and Manchester United academies, and his favourite Town players are Adam Smith and Phil Senior.

Nicholas was born in Bulgaria and both his grandfathers played professionally as goalkeepers.

He has trained with several high-profile clubs as well as at the national football centre at St George’s Park. His favourite player is Scott Boden

Town fans have been snapping up tickets in advance of Sunday’s game after the club announced that some tickets would go on sale prior to the match.

John Travis, 68, from Barkisland, said: “It’ll be a tough game. It’s a good draw, good for the club but it’ll be a tough game. I’m looking forward to it.”

Paul Ferguson, 56, who was born in Halifax but lives in Keighley, said: “I’ve supported Halifax for 50 years.

“I’m very excited. I’ve seen some big games down here including Stoke in the replay in 1969, Man City at home, Man Utd at hom in the Watney Cup.

“It’s a special time but it’s a bit more special being a local derby.

“We believe we’ve got a good chance of winning.

“With City’s slightly poor form and Town being very good at home I’m very confident.”

Phillip Waddington, 71, from Sowerby Bridge, said: “You can dream can’t you!

“I’ve been watching Town since I was five.

“I thought it was fantastic when the draw was made.

“We’re not going to go very far are we so a good gate like this could be better for the club.”

Craig Robertshaw, 27, of Bradshaw, Halifax, said: “I think it’ll be a good game and I think Halifax can win.

“Bradford haven’t been playing very well.

“It’s exactly what we wanted, a big tie like this.”

The game kicks off at noon on Sunday. Halifax fans, who also can pay on the day, are advised to get to the Shay early.