The star of the latest instalment of the ‘Own The Moment’ 2022/23 season-ticket campaign - alongside grandson Isa - Dilshad Khan is a man whose blood Bradford City runs through.
Currently enjoying Eid with family and friends after fasting throughout the holy month of Ramadan, the 68-year-old has spoken of his involvement in the campaign and pride in representing the club.
Having regularly been attending games for over 25 years and supporting the Bantams much longer, Dilshad was followed around the Utilita Energy Stadium earlier this year, where his matchday routine was shown in ‘Dilshad’s Moment’.
He said: “The experience was absolutely fantastic for myself and my grandson, Isa, who also came along.
“We were invited by the club to participate in the season-ticket campaign, and I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity, so jumped at it.
“When I spoke to Luke (Flacks, director of brand, marketing and media), he told me what the intention of it was. It was to increase the ticket sales for the forthcoming season and I am fully supportive of that because I believe anything we can do to support Bradford City, our team, is a very positive way forward.
“The day itself was absolutely fantastic, but also very tiring, as you can imagine!
“Having to do retakes upon retakes and pretending to not notice the camera was hard, especially with my grandson and trying to explain to him that he needed to act as naturally as he could for the camera.
“Apart from that, though, it was a very special occasion for the both of us, and we really enjoyed it.”
Having seen plenty in the stands at Valley Parade - from City’s time in the top flight to memorable cup victories throughout the 2010s - Dilshad reflected on the highs and lows of being a Bantam, and how this for him has represented the unpredictability of following football.
He added: “Supporting Bradford City is not for the faint-hearted. We go through all the worldly emotions on a daily basis.
“Like any supporters, we are absolutely ecstatic when we are winning, scoring goals and really kicking on, and the opposite when we are losing.
“My main support for Bradford City - even though I have been going since I was a youngster - came when I had my children. I wanted to encourage them to support their local team.
“The first season ticket I bought for my daughter was in 1999, when we got promotion to the Premier League. She was quite excited - and quite rightly so!
“Since then, I have been going to the football to watch City at home.
“Irrespective of all the lows, the highs far outweigh them, for me.”
For Dilshad and many others, religion and football are two things which often go hand in hand.
Practicing Islam has meant Dilshad has largely had to observe his faith and his support of City at the same time, though he insists the club remains more than welcoming of his religion.
He continued: “One of the biggest problems we have experienced in the past, and I think this goes for a lot of my fellow supporters who are from religious backgrounds, was that when we used to go to matches - especially in the winter - we would have to leave at half-time to go and pray in the Mosque.
“That was a bit disheartening, because I wanted to support my team, but unfortunately religion and football at that time did not seem to mix.
“However, after a number of years, I got to speak to the club and explained the situation.
“There were a number of supporters who did this and, as Bradford City is in the heart of the Asian community, to welcome more people from the Asian community, could we do something?
“I asked if we could have a specific room to fulfil our religious obligations, especially when it was half-time in the winter, and then we could continue enjoying the match and supporting our team.
“Thankfully, it was looked at positively by the club, and we have had our prayer room ever since.
“There are not many clubs outside the Premier League who provide such facilities, so I will always be very grateful to the club for enabling us to fulfil our religious requirements as well as support the team we hold very dear to our heart.
“It is fundamental to me, because both are very high priority. Religion pretty much takes priority over everything in my life.
“What I observe amongst many supporters, believe it or not, is that supporting their team is like a religion.
“They do it religiously. Every Saturday, every Tuesday night, everything stops and they go to support their local team.
“Second to family and religion, Bradford City is very high on my list of support. For me, religion and supporting Bradford City are both very important in my life.”
Focusing solely on on-field affairs, Dilshad is optimistic about the season ahead, in hopes the Bantams can too ‘Own The Moment’ in 2022/23.
He hopes the signs he has already seen from Mark Hughes’ way of playing will reap further benefits for City next season, and has encouraged his fellow supporters to get behind the side once again.
Dilshad concluded: “Bradford City is a very big club. It is a big fish in a little pond at the minute.
“We want to get into a big pond and be an even bigger fish at some point in our lives.
“I am amazed at our ability to attract a good calibre of people, and hope Mark can be the one to bring success, because I have seen from just a few games that his philosophy is filtering in.
“Mark Hughes has always been a fighter and a winner, whether in his playing days or his managerial career.
“If his fighting spirit can filter into the way we play, Bradford City will be the place to be, and that will be amazing.”
To follow Dilshad’s lead and ‘Own The Moment’ by securing your 2022/23 season ticket, please CLICK HERE.