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City's Class of '99 reunite!

15 September 2013

Over two thousand City fans witnessed a selection of club legends roll back the years as the Bantams' 'Class of '99' reunited at the Coral Windows Stadium this Sunday afternoon.

A large number of the squad members who famously helped City into the Premiership back in 1999 joined together once again for the first time in over fourteen years to play their part in a special celebration match against a Celebrity XI.

The match, which was organised by former Bantam and co-founder of the One in a Million charity, Wayne Jacobs, was played to mark the recent opening of the Bradford City/One in a Million free school, which is situated next to the Coral Windows Stadium.

Led by Paul Jewell - Bradford's manager for their memorable promotion-winning year - City's squad from the 1998/1999 season included the top scorer from that campaign, Lee Mills, and the skipper Stuart McCall.

Wing wizard Peter Beagrie was also on hand to dazzle the crowd with his usual array of twists and turns, while Gary Walsh, Jamie Lawrence, Darren Moore, Dean Windass, John Dreyer and Isaiah Rankin played as well.

Stephen Wright and Gareth Whalley came out with the rest of the team for the start of the match but, due to long-standing knee problems, were replaced as planned almost straight after kick off by Gordon Watson and David Wetherall.

Cricketing duo Anthony McGrath and Steve Harmison turned out for the Celebrity XI, along with former pros Andy Ritchie, Craig Short and Ken Monkou.

Danny Forrest, Louis Horne, Dean Saunders and Simon Grayson - all of whom have featured for City in the past - also played, while City goalkeeping coach Lee Butler went in net for the celebrities.

The Pulse's Tim Thornton, Sky Sports presenter Bryn Law, Tom Milner from Waterloo Road, Beautiful South's Paul Heaton, One Direction drummer Josh Devine and singer and presenter Jake Quickenden made up the rest of the celebrity squad.

Pictures kindly provided by Claire Epton

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was originally penciled in to play for the Celebrity XI but he couldn't make it as he was at Sixfields Stadium to watch next weekend's opponents Gillingham take on Coventry City.

The game itself was won 4-3 by the Celebrity XI, with Forrest netting the winner with four minutes remaining thanks to a fierce strike from outside the area.

Mills, Dreyer and Ryan Williams - who had successfully bid for a place on the team as part of a pre-match competition - scored for City's 1999 team.

Along with Forrest's winner, the Celebrities' other goals came from Ritchie, Horne and Adam Coulson - another City fan who bid to play in the match.

With substitute announcers Tom and Dom from Bantams Banter pitch-side to keep fans up to date with who was being brought on and off throughout the game, both teams changed players at regular intervals during the friendly.

The game was also split into three thirty-minute periods instead of the usual two halves of forty-five minutes.

Match organiser Jacobs was brought off five minutes from the end to receive a rousing reception from the plentiful crowd in the club's Main Stand.

After the match, Jacobs addressed those same supporters to thank everyone involved for making the day happen before the players from both sides stood to take the acclaim of the crowd.

The day's events were then completed later in the evening when around 500 supporters moved into the club's McCall and Hendrie Suites for a Q&A session with the players.

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