Cup Final: Rival Watch
22nd February 2013
Hines revels in Bradford limelight
Bradford winger Zavon Hines says his time at the Yorkshire club has helped him rediscover his love for the game.
Following a promising start to his career with West Ham as a youngster, including a couple of sublime displays against Manchester United and Liverpool, Hines was off-loaded to Burnley last season on loan.
After a disappointing spell at Turf Moor, the winger was available on a free transfer last summer and admitted that Bradford wasn't quite such an appealing prospect at the time.
"If I'm honest, I thought: 'I don't really want to play in League Two," he said. "When you've played higher you have a bit of an ego but then I thought: 'I can use this as a chance to step back up."
However, following the club's heroics in this season's League Cup, Hines will now get his big chance on the biggest stage of all.
"I'm enjoying Bradford now," he said. "My friends from West Ham tell me I shouldn't be playing down at this level because I'm better than that, but League Two's not as bad as everyone thinks.
"Everyone thinks we're going to lose but I think we've got a great chance of winning - I truly believe that. And Wembley's a good opportunity; I'd like to show everyone I can still play at the highest level. If the Gaffer picks me, of course."
Far-flung fans are Wembley bound
As Bradford City prepare for their first major cup final in 102 years, the excitement around their Valley Parade home is building.
An astonishing League Cup run, that saw them dump a trio of top-flight names out of the competition, culminates in a showdown with the Swans at Wembley on Sunday.
But the anticipation has spread way beyond the confines of West Yorkshire as Bantam fans across the globe are making their way to London for a famous day in the club's history.
"I've watched us at places like Aldershot and Plymouth and seen us get beat. So, what is 30 hours?" said Nick Allan of his impending flight to Heathrow from New Zealand.
Mr Allan is a life-long Bradford City fan eager to be part of the occasion, and is not allowing the small matter of recently moving to Wellington, New Zealand to spoil his football dreams.
Mr Bowers took to social media to get permission to fly to the game from Australia
For him it means a 23,200 mile (37,200 km) round trip to spend just a couple of days in the UK but he admitted he was "unbelievably desperate" to be there once Bradford made the final last month.
"It was the only thing I could think about. It's a dream come true," he said.
David Bowers is another far-flung fan keen to see the final.
He turned to social media site Facebook to help convince his wife to let him fly 10,500 miles (16,800 km) from Melbourne, Australia to watch the Bantams at Wembley.
His campaign attracted worldwide attention and he is already en-route, via Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, to reach the game.
"In years to come I will be able to look back and say I was there when Bradford went to a Cup final."