Bradford City striker James Hanson scores a hit with pupils

Bradford City striker James Hanson scores a hit with pupils

Lady Royd pupils were thrilled to welcome Bradford City striker James Hanson today to talk about his successful move from Co-op shop worker to professional footballer and playing in that Wembley final.

The towering centre forward spoke to pupils about the motivation and determination needed to succeed in life and about his own accomplishments in football.

After a short montage of Bradford City’s finest goal scoring moments and a sing-along to the Bantam supporter’s song, James was happy to answer questions from his enthralled audience of young fans.

The 26 year old striker talked about his love of football from a very young age and playing for the Huddersfield Town Academy, a team that is still his favourite today. He started his senior career playing semi-professional non-league football with Eccleshill United and Guiseley, balancing his football career with a job in his local Co-operative supermarket.  With 46 goals scored in just two seasons he was thrilled to catch the eye of Bradford boss Stuart McCall who signed him for Bradford City.

Born and raised in Bradford, he admitted that being a professional footballer is his absolute dream job, especially playing for his local team and even better when the team is playing well. ‘I have been at Bradford City now for six years and I love every minute of it’ he told his young admirers.

Asked about his training and particularly how he scored so many goals, James explained how he trained every day, with the schedule dependent on the matches ahead. He put his goal-scoring success down to sheer hard work and having the right attitude and encouraged all the children to think that whatever they chose to do in their own careers, these were certainly the best qualities to adopt.

Although he had already scored 10 goals this season, he said his personal aim was to finish the season with 15 goals under his belt.  However, James would not be drawn into a debate about who was the best player on the Bradford team. Diplomatically he mentioned that each player had their own particularly strengths which they brought to the team, but he did admit that defender Steve Darby was one of his favourites and a great player.

Finally, as might be expected, he was asked about that winning goal against Aston Villa that secured  Bradford City’s place in the League Cup final at Wembley. ‘I had not scored for a while so I was particularly pleased with that goal’ he said. ‘It was the best feeling in the world when it went in the back of the net’.

Lady Royd would like to thank James for taking time out from his busy schedule to come along and talk to our pupils. ‘He is a very inspirational young man and a great role model for our young pupils’ said Mr Sheard, adding ‘and of course he is from Bradford!’

Pic: James is pictured here with Year 5 pupils Sahar Qureshi and Emily Johnson