League Two club Bradford City beating Aston Villa 4-3 on aggregate in the Capital One Cup semifinals to become the first fourth division club to play in a major cup final since 1962 was a memorable enough moment. Bradford captain Gary Jones made it a bit more memorable for 9-year-old fan and brain tumor survivor Jake Turton though, when he found Turton in the crowd at Villa Park after the final whistle of the second leg and planted a kiss on his head.
Bradford had an incredibly difficult path to Wembley, having to beat three Premier League clubs in Wigan, Arsenal and finally Aston Villa. Yet that is absolutely incomparable to what Jake has had to endure over the last three years.
From the Daily Mail:
Jake was diagnosed with the tumour three years ago after it had spread to his spine. He had brain surgery, was in a coma for 10 weeks and had to endure months of chemotherapy before being given the all-clear. He has had to learn to walk and talk again and his favourite club are giving him plenty of reasons to smile.
Jake's father contacted the club to see if Jake could serve as a mascot for the first leg of the semifinal at Bradford's Valley Parade ground. The club agreed and Jake led the team out onto the pitch, holding hands with Gary Jones, before their shock 3-1 first-leg win. So when Jones sought out Jake two weeks later, with the fairytale job complete, there really was no better way to end the night.
Sporting Intelligence shows the incredible scale of Bradford's triumph in global football context.