Record turnout for derby clash shows just how far Harrogate Town have come, says Jordan Ford

Harrogate Town fans cheer on their team at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City. Pictures: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town fans cheer on their team at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town fans cheer on their team at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
The Harrogate Town supporter primarily responsible for organising transport to away fixtures says that the number of fans who turned out at Bradford City in midweek shows just how far the club has progressed off the pitch.

Jordan Ford, who is into his eighth season co-ordinating away travel on behalf of the League Two Sulphurites' Independent Supporters' Club, was one of the 704 visiting spectators to take their place at Valley Parade for Tuesday night's derby showdown.

Those Town supporters in attendance were treated to a 3-1 success over the former Premier League outfit as their team served up a performance and result which will live long in the memory.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But, they haven't always travelled in such numbers, a fact which really hit home for Ford as he took in the scenes around him inside the Bantams' 25,000-capacity stadium.

Harrogate Town supporter Jordan Ford, centre.Harrogate Town supporter Jordan Ford, centre.
Harrogate Town supporter Jordan Ford, centre.

"It was pretty special. Never did I think that we would be taking that many fans to an away game. There were 515 of us at York City a few years ago, but Tuesday night was different," he said.

"In the end, I wasn't that surprised to hear that there were 704 there because I had an idea of how many were planning on coming and we took 235 on supporters' club coaches alone.

"We organised four coaches to the game, which is like proper Football League away travel, the kind of thing you see the bigger clubs in this division doing. We've never witnessed that before at Harrogate Town.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When I first started following the club it was quite rare that a supporters' coach would run to away fixtures.

"I remember the first time I tried to organise one myself. It was Barrow on a Bank Holiday weekend and the coach company rang me and said 'we are going to have to cancel the booking' because there were only seven people wanting to come. It's fantastic to see how much things have changed."

Town's supporters were vocal throughout Tuesday's contest and made themselves heard despite the fact that they were significantly outnumbered by more than 13,800 Bantams.

And, Ford described the experience as his most enjoyable yet since he started following Harrogate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I think Tuesday night was the best atmosphere I've experienced at an away game," he added.

"We've been lucky this season because going to Portsmouth in the FA Cup was brilliant as well, but there were a lot more of us at Bradford.

"One of the nicest things about it was seeing all the new faces and so many younger fans.

"The amount of 16, 17, 18-year-olds really helps create an atmosphere, but, at the same time, there was absolutely no trouble.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We made a lot of noise and at one point it actually felt like the stand we were in was swaying, but everybody behaved themselves and therefore everyone was able to enjoy the experience."

With interest in the club seemingly on the rise, Ford says that both he and his fellow Harrogate Town Independent Supporters' Club members are starting to see that the work they have been doing behind the scenes is beginning to pay off.

"We've really been trying to grow the following and the other night made it feel as if all the hard work that myself and the supporters' club have been doing is really starting to pay off," he continued.

"It was quite emotional for me seeing so many people in the away end and how things are growing off the pitch alongside the success we have had on it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I just hope it continues to keep building from where we are now and I think that it will because I had so many messages on Wednesday morning from people saying how much they enjoyed Bradford.

"I've already taken a number of additional bookings for Barrow this weekend on the back of Tuesday, so that's really positive."

Anybody wishing to travel on the Supporters' Club coach to Barrow this Saturday can book their place by contacting Ford on 07989 969575.

Related topics: