FA Cup: Liam Rosenior hoping Hull City can take inspiration from Bradford fairytale to stay on road to glory
LIAM Rosenior need not look far for inspiration as Hull City attempt to take a second step on an FA Cup run this afternoon.
On Tuesday night he was one of millions in awe of the Bradford City fairytale. Overcoming Premier League Aston Villa and all the odds to seal their place the Capital One Cup final, the fearless Bantams laughed in the face of all footballing logic.
Much to Rosenior’s delight, former City team-mates Matt Duke and Will Atkinson were two of the miracle men behind the Bantams’ stunning achievements this week.
Both players were stung when shown the KC Stadium exit door under the rule of Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby, but rich compensation will come with the greatest moments of their careers next month.
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Duke, Atkinson and Bradford have given life back to the League Cup and restored faith for countless FA Cup hopefuls this weekend. Among them is Rosenior.
“Look at what happened to Bradford,” said the Tigers defender ahead of this afternoon’s fourth round tie at home to Barnsley.
“I was so happy for Dukey and Will Atkinson. Six thousand people from Bradford heading to Villa dreaming of Wembley against all the odds, that is what football is all about.
“I found it inspiring to watch. If they can get to Wembley, why can’t we?
“In this country, we love an underdog and it would be great if we could go on our own run.”
Bradford’s tale is one that takes some believing. Since beating Notts County on the opening day of the season, Watford, Burton Albion, Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa have all failed to halt the Bantams’ march on Wembley. League Two had toppled the Premier League not once, not twice but three times.
The last of those came on Tuesday night when a 2-1 loss at Villa Park sealed a 4-3 aggregate success.
As the drama unfolded Rosenior was attending a City Official Supporters Club night in Hornsea, coincidentally the town where Atkinson went to school, before racing home for the closing stages.
“I listened to Bradford score on my way home and then got in to find my wife watching ‘Glee’ or something else rubbish,” explained Rosenior, risking further domestic wrath.
“She was fuming when I asked her to turn it over. But I loved watching what Bradford did.
“Dukey, what a guy. After what he has been through, too. I bet he never dreamed when he joined Bradford that he would one day be playing in a Cup final.
“Good luck to him and Will, who was a lovely lad who worked hard here.
“It shows what can happen. I doubt anyone seriously thought when they won in the early rounds that this would happen. But it has and every other team should use that as an inspiration.”
City’s progress through the third round of the FA Cup struggled to convince supporters Bradford’s heroics will be replicated in East Yorkshire this season.
A 1-1 draw at home to Leyton Orient needed Nick Proschwitz’s stoppage time header to earn a replay. That fixture was only settled when Tom Cairney pounced at the death of extra-time.
The nine changes made by manager Steve Bruce for the initial third round tie was entirely in keeping with the modern manager’s approach. Bigger fish are there to fry in the Championship promotion race.
The victors of today’s tie between City and Barnsley will net £90,000 and a place in the fifth round draw. A return to the Premier League, meanwhile, could be worth 1,000 times that.
It is a far cry from the world that Rosenior grew up in. His father Leroy came within 90 minutes of reaching the 1991 FA Cup final when part of a West Ham United side beaten 4-0 by Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.
The defeat left a six-year-old Liam in tears and the defender accepts the FA Cup’s lure is not what it once was.
“The biggest memory I have is of my Dad getting to the semi-finals with West Ham,” he said.
“I cried my eyes out afterwards because my Dad had promised I could go to Wembley to watch him.
“When my Dad was playing in the old First Division, his club West Ham were not getting £60-90m just to stay up and the reason the Cup has lost a bit of its magic is money, simple as that.
“Owners now have to see as their priority earning that £60-90m a season, rather than winning the Cup. It is business sense to play your best team in the Premier League, which is a shame because all fans love the romance of the FA Cup.
“The Sky deal has been great for me as it means I get paid well. I can’t complain. But, at the same time, the financial demands on the game mean the cup isn’t as important to a club. I don’t think that will change now.”
Rosenior has been one of the few ever-presents in City’s FA Cup run this season but a start in the Leyton Orient tie three weeks ago was his first game in the competition since 2010 in the colours of Ipswich.
Only twice, with Fulham in 2004-05 and 2006-07, has Rosenior made it past the fourth round, a record he will attempt to improve against this afternoon.
As well as the prospect of winning a place in the fifth round, the 28-year-old knows he will also have responsibilities to guide a relatively youthful squad beyond the Barnsley banana skin.
“My job is to play football and I am part of this team,” he said, after making just two starts in the last 10 league games.
“We have been successful. I looked at my stats and I have played a part in every game but three. So, in saying I haven’t been starting, I have played my part.
“I also want to be a positive influence. We have a young team and I like to have chats with them.
“Barnsley will be tough, they have picked up with a new manager. It was only 1-0 when they were here in the season so we have to show them respect and get into the hat for the next round.”