Sunday 29 November 2009

bantamsbook Launch at the bantamspast Museum

David Markham, the Telegraph & Argus’ former Bradford City reporter, will be launching his latest book, entitled Bradford City on this Day, at the bantamspast museum on 12 December prior to the Rotherham United match. David will give an outline of his book and will undoubtedly treat us to some of his many City recollections. David has been a supporter of the club for over half a century and was the Telegraph and Argus’ reporter on City matters for several decades. His knowledge of Bradford City in the last half century is unrivalled and supporters will have the opportunity to ask questions as well.

The launch of Bradford City on this Day will begin at 2pm on Saturday 12 December. As always with events at the bantamspast museum, admission is free and all are welcome.

Former City Gent editor, and author of City Memories, John Dewhirst will be selling a limited range of Bradford City heritage badges based on former club logos. John will be in the museum from 1.45pm. For graphics and further information go to

All in all, it will be a busy day around the museum, with Wayne Jacobs' charity 'One in a Million' holding its annual awards in the museum in the morning and Johnson's Paint Trophy is on display in the club shop. Apparently, fans can have their photos taken with it.

Oh, and apparently, there's a football match on at 3pm as well...

Tuesday 17 November 2009

bantamspast at Bradford Cathedral

Our event Finding Robert Torrance, held at Bradford Cathedral, which remembered the nine City players killed in the Great War, was a resounding success. A good turn out of people saw the early history of the club explained against the background of the lives of those nine City players. In a dramatic closing sequence, the names and images of the nine players were shown in complete silence. Then a moving rendition of the Last Post was played by Lucie Sanderson. It was a fitting event, coming as it did on Armistice Day, 11 November.

Our thanks to all involved, particularly Glyn Watkins, Mark Neale, Lucie Sanderson and the staff of Bradford Cathedral.

Picture shows Lucie Sanderson, the FA Cup and the 1911 Cup Winning Team.

Picture show event co-creator, David Pendleton, with the FA Cup

Picture shows the FA Cup with the majestic Cathedral as its backdrop

Monday 9 November 2009

City Heroes - Finding Robert Torrance

The City of Bradford, Bradford City, the FA Cup and the War To End Wars

A memorable and moving show at Bradford Cathedral on the evening of 11th November, Remembrance Day. The show is dedicated to the Bradford City players who lost their lives in the First World War.
Featuring pictures, stories, film and a guest appearance by the F.A. Cup, which is returning to the city that made it in 1911, first won by Bradford City in 1911.
Also featuring The West Riding Cup, made by the same firm that made the F.A. Cup (Fattorini's) and won by a Bradford City reserve side, including one Harry Potter.
The visit of both trophies has been arranged on behalf of the show by Bradford City fan Mark Neale, and it is the third time Mark has managed to bring the F.A. Cup 'home'.
The show has been created by Bradford-based poet and showman
Glyn Watkins, together with David Pendleton and John Ashton, curators of Bradford City's bantamspast museum at Valley Parade.
The F.A. Cup will be at Valley Parade in the afternoon of 11th Nov. raising money for the Burns Unit. It will be at Bradford Cathedral, Church Bank, from 6.30.
The show starts at 7.30. Entry is free, but there will be a collection to cover costs, and profit being shared between the Cathedral and the bantamspast museum. Anyone who is definitely going is urged to reserve seats by calling the Cathedral on 01274 777720.

Friday 30 October 2009

Bits of News

Andy O’Brien England Shirt

Life long City fan Ben Stainthorpe is emigrating to America next week. We wish him and his family all the best in their new life. We would also like to thank Ben for continuing to loan the museum the match ball from the City v Liverpool match in May 2000; the game that saw City dramatically save their Premiership skins on the last day of the season. Ben has additionally loaned the museum two signs from the old Wembley Stadium. Ben has taken his Andy O’Brien England U-21 shirt to America with him as a reminder of his many happy years supporting, and working for, Bradford City. The shirt was on display in our large spherical case. Many thanks Ben and bon voyage!

City Heroes - Finding Robert Torrance

The museum’s David Pendleton was interviewed today by the BBC regarding our forthcoming event at Bradford Cathedral on 11 November. David talked about the life of that City great Robert Torrance – man-of-the-match in the 1911 FA Cup Final. Of course, Torrance met a terrible end during the Great War when he became one of the nine City players killed in that conflict. We’ll post details of when the interview will be broadcast later.

You can see and hear the story of Robert Torrance, and the eight other players who died in the Great War, at Bradford Cathedral on 11 November 2009 at 7.30pm. Admission is free, however, there will be a collection to cover costs.

Thursday 15 October 2009

A More Fitting Reminder

The support of the people of the German town of Hamm in the wake of the fire disaster was one of the positive things to emerge from the blackest day in modern Bradford's history. Hamm, of course, provided the memorial that still stands in Centenary Square and it provides the centrepiece for the annual commemoration on 11 May. In recognition of the support of the people of Hamm the new ring road that joined Canal Road with Manningham Lane was named Hamm Strasse.

Today, only a couple of small plaques reminds people of the link with the fire disaster. With the twenty fifth anniversary of the fire due in May, David Pendleton of the bantamspast museum thought it would be fitting if the road was rededicated. With the aid of Councillor David Ward the idea of a re-dedication, and a new marker to remind passersby of the kindness shown towards our city by the people of Hamm, has moved closer to fruition. On Thursday the two Davids met Bradford City Centre managed Bob Parker who has offered his support to the scheme. Bob is now pricing up differing sizes of a stone marker which it is hoped will stand at the junction of Hamm Strasse and Manningham Lane.

It is expected that the new marker will be in place for 11 May 2010 and we are looking to invite local dignitaries from Hamm to rededicate the road during the early afternoon of the twenty-fifth anniversary.

Thursday 8 October 2009

City Heroes - Finding Robert Torrance

City Heroes - Finding Robert Torrance is the title of what promises to be a memorable and moving night at Bradford Cathedral on 11th November, Remembrance Day, 2009.

Co-written and produced by Bradford based poet and showman Glyn Watkins and David Pendleton, curator of the Bradford City Museum, it is subtitled 'The City of Bradford, Bradford City, the F.A. Cup and the War To End Wars', and includes projected images and guest appearances by both the West Riding Cup and the F.A. Cup, both of which were made by former Bradford jewelers, Fattorini's.

It tells the largely forgotten tale of the earliest days of Manningham F.C., the rugby club that became Bradford City in 1903; how City went on to bring the new F.A. Cup back to the town in which it was made and what happened to some of the players in the First World War, including Jimmy Speirs, who scored the Cup winning goal. We particularly highlight the story of Robert Torrance, who was married at Bradford Cathedral in 1915, killed by shell in 1918, and is one of tens of thousands of World War I British and Empire casualties with no known grave.

The show begins at 7.30 and admission is free.

The Cathedral will be open from 6.30 onwards for short tours and to give people a chance to see the cups.
There will be a collection.
Anyone intending to come and see City Heroes - Finding Robert Torrance is urged to reserve seats by calling the Cathedral on 01274 777720.

Really Ten Years Ago?

Friday 25 September 2009

The Dawn of Football at Valley Parade

Football has been played at Valley Parade on a regular basis ever since Bradford City were formed in 1903. Prior to that date the oval ball ruled the roost as City's predecessors Manningham Rugby Club played both rugby union and rugby league at the ground.

Prior to 1903 several local football matches were played at Valley Parade, but thanks to research by the bantamspast team we can reveal that the first ever football match played at Valley Parade was a women's football match.

On 7 May 1895 the British Ladies' Football Club played an exhibition North v South match at Valley Parade. Thus the game was ground breaking in more than one way. As both the first ever football match on the ground and one of the earliest women's football matches played in the World to a paying public.

Following is the report from the Bradford Daily Argus of 8 May 1895.

The active members of the British Ladies' Football Club paid a visit to Bradford and played a match under Association rules on the ground of the Manningham Club last evening. The game attracted a considerable attendance. There were probably 2,000 people present, including a sprinkling of lady spectators. The players as they posed on the field and as the pursued their sport, presented a series of interesting and, to Bradfordians, highly novel pictures. Each player was attired in loose tunic and bifurcated nether garments, with the exception of the goal keepers, who were in skirts. The sides were Reds and Blues. On each side hostilities were conducted by ten players, there being one forward less than the customary compliment. As regards play it was of a leisurely character and a rather poor exhibition of the Association style. "Little Tommy" dominated play, and towards the finish one or two of the other participants played up with spirit. The game ended in a draw.

Bradford Daily Telegraph, 8 May 1895
Although the visit of the Lady Footballers to Valley Parade last night had only been advertised for one day a crowd of between 2,000 and 3,000 people turned up to see the fun. It was fun that was expected by the spectators, and fun was all that was forthcoming, the attempts at football being feeble and farcical. There was nothing in the costume of the lady footballers to shock Mrs Grundy, but all the same the attire is not likely to become popular with the fair sex, for the simple reason that it is not becoming. Had the lady footballers been less favoured by nature they would have presented a "dowdy" appearance, but the natural beauty and grace of several saved the team from this. To the regret of many Rugbyites the ladies played yesterday evening under Association rules, and owing to the half-hearted way in which most of the players entered into their work the exhibition at times fell woefully flat. Several members of the team seemed, as the crowd put it, afraid of hurting the ball, and they persistently refused to "give it boot." The kicking of some was so gentle as to suggest parlour football, but there was one exception. A young girl operating on the left wing, who was styled "Tommy" by the London spectators under the belief that she was a boy, put in a lot of dashing play and fairly roused the crowd from its lethargy to cheering. She was certainly worth any three of the other players, but at the same time it should be said that one or two other players did not "frame" at all badly. The great drawback to ladies' football, however, seems to lie in the fact that is seems a physical impossibility for ladies to run quickly and gracefully. As an exhibition of football the play was a miserable travesty of a splendid game and as an entertainment it soon became tedious.

Thursday 17 September 2009

Extra Time Event for Older Supporters

Bradford City FC Community Foundation
Bantams Community Programme

Are pleased to announce our new projects for older people. The Extra Time programme is to help support independence and wellbeing for older people. We hope to show films of matches from the 1940s and 50s. With the aid of photographs and memorabilia we hope to rekindle memories of days gone by.

We would like to invite you to join us at the launch of these projects Friday 25th September 2009 10am to 12.00(lunch included)in the bantamspast museum at Bradford City (above the club shop).

To book your place please call Paula on 01274 706850 or 07814760198 or email

Sunday 13 September 2009

Valley Parade Heritage Launch

All are welcome to Wednesday's launch of the bantamspast memories project. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will collect the memories of those who have lived around Valley Parade since the Second World War.

The old ground has witnessed huge social and demographic changes, particularly over the last fifty years. The collapse of the traditional industries and immigration from Eastern Europe and Asia. We want to know what is was like to live alongside the football ground on a daily basis. Whether you are now in Manningham or Baildon your memories are vital to our project.

The launch takes place in the bantamspast museum at Valley Parade on Wednesday 16th September between 10am-11.30am. For more details please contact Paula Helliwell on 01274 706850 or 07814 760198.

Sunday 6 September 2009

Bantams and Brewers

There can’t be many towns that can boast of having three different Football League clubs. With Swifts, United and now Albion, the beer town of Burton has hit a hat-trick of league clubs.

The history of matches between City and the Burton clubs is brief in the extreme. However, Bradford City’s first ever victory came at Burton United in 1903. Since then the football fortunes of the Worstedopolis and the Beeropolis have trod very different paths.

On a misty November day in 1995 Burton Albion visited Valley Parade in the FA Cup. When City went 3-1 up it seemed like a regulation victory, but Albion staged an amazing fight back and at 3-3 with seconds remaining many were beginning to plan a trip to the brewery town. Ian Ormondroyd had other ideas and saved City’s blushes with a late, late winner.

On Saturday City and Albion meet as equals in the Football League. Visiting fans are more than welcome to visit the bantamspast museum and cafe. Admission is free and reasonably priced snacks are available in the volunteer run cafe. The museum opens around 12.30pm is situated above the club shop behind the Kop end of the ground.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Intertoto Cup Reunion

It was quite a night in the City Vaults after the Torquay game. A fair number of the fans who attended City’s European debut in Lithuania in 2000 rolled up to renew friendships and swap Intertoto Cup tales. Three options came up: whether to return to Lithuania next summer, or to the second and third round venues of Holland and Russia respectively. A trip to Rotterdam by overnight ferry was alluring but the consensus was for a return to Vilnius next summer.
We’re busy trying to contact the fans who couldn’t attend last Saturday and are beginning to look into the costs of returning to Vilnius. More news as it happens.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Intertoto Cup Reunion

After the Torquay game on Saturday 29 August there will be a reunion of all those supporters who travelled to Lithuania for City’s European debut in the Intertoto Cup. The reunion is in particular aimed at those who travelled independently to Lithuania. The trip was by common consent one of the most memorable undertaken by City fans in recent years. Next year it will be ten years since the trip, there is tentative talk of a return to Lithuania in the summer of 2010. The reunion will therefore be part social and part a pre-planning meeting.
The reunion will be in the City Vaults pub on Hustlergate in the city centre from 5.30pm. Doubtless, the reunion will go on for some hours, so feel free to call in later in the evening if the start time is not convenient.

Friday 7 August 2009

Bits of News

Thanks to a helpful bantamspast reader, we now have names for the upcoming season's team picture. We've also got most of them for last season's now, although there are still one or two question marks. Any help would be gratefully accepted.
David Pendleton mentioned how Jimmy Speirs' now has a new headstone on his grave at Dochy Farm Cemetery, complete with the correct spelling of his name. As you can see, it looks very smart.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Team Group for the New Season

Once again, the club has provided us with a team image for the coming season. Many thanks to Jon Pollard. It completes the decade in our team groups gallery. bantamspast would be grateful if anyone could provide names to go alongside the image. In fact, for some reason we never got round to providing them last season, so names for 2008-09 would also be welcome.
We know this image doesn't feature the current squad. Right year and decade - wrong century!

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Jimmy's Return - More Pictures 3

David Pendleton with Jimmy at Forster Square Station, Bradford

Jimmy's Return - More Pictures 2

David Pendleton with Frank. Frank is wearing his Kortrijk scarf.

Jimmy's Return - More Pictures

's David Pendleton with Jimmy and fellow traveller Glyn Watkins.

Monday 3 August 2009

Jimmy's Return - More details

The museum’s full size figure of FA Cup legend Jimmy Speirs returned to Valley Parade following a two year loan to the Passchendaele Museum in Belgium. We loaned the figure to help the Museum commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in which Speirs was killed along with 300,000 British and Commonwealth troops.

Last week bantamspast’s David Pendleton travelled to Belgium to visit the Passchendaele Museum and bring the figure of Speirs back to Valley Parade in time for the new football season. On Saturday David, along with his daughter Rosie and fellow City fan Glyn Watkins met Frank at the Passchendaele Museum. Frank kindly drove our small party to Dochy Farm New British Cemetery where Jimmy Speirs is buried. We were pleased to note that Jimmy has received a new headstone and for the first time in ninety years his name is now spelt correctly on his grave – it had been spelt Spiers, an error that had been made on Jimmy’s enrolment form when he first joined the army.

Frank then drove us to the Passchendaele Museum, where we were given a guided tour. The museum is well worth a visit and has an impressive reconstruction of a British dug out. We later visited Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British war cemetery in the world, where we viewed the memorial to that other great FA Cup winner – Robert Torrance. Sadly, he has no known grave and is commemorated on Tyne Cot’s Memorial to the Missing.

Frank gave our party a lift to Kortrijk railway station – sadly as we had the cut-out figure of Speirs booked on a London bound Eurostar that evening, we had to turn down Frank’s offer to watch his beloved Kortrijk play Anderlecht on the opening day of the Belgian football season. We received a few bemused looks as we boarded a Ghent bound train with the large cut-out. After a short stop at Ghent we arrived in good time at Brussels to place the figure on a Eurostar bound for London. We followed two days later and picked Jimmy up from St Pancras. It was quite a challenge to get the cut-out, its base and a large framed photograph from there to King’s Cross. By now the group was down to David and Rosie, so the short distance was a bit of a struggle. However, the helpful National Express staff soon had our items stowed in the guard's van and we were soon heading north. At Leeds it was an easy hop to a Forster Square bound train and bantamspast’s John Ashton met us at the station for the short journey to Valley Parade.

The cut-out figure of Jimmy Speirs will be on display once more when City open their home campaign against Port Vale on Saturday 15 August. Our thanks to Frank at the Passchendaele Museum for his hospitality. The staff of SNCB, Eurostar, National Express East Coast and Northern Trains for their assistance in getting Jimmy Speirs back to Valley Parade in time for the new season. A fuller account of the journey will appear in a forthcoming City Gent.

Jimmy Returns

Just to allay all fears, bantamspast can confirm that the life-sized figure of Jimmy Speirs is now safely back in the museum after its long stay in Belgium. Here it is with fellow traveller, Dave Pendleton, still in its protective wrapping, outside the museum this afternoon. More details of the trip to follow.

Sunday 26 July 2009

Jimmy's Coming Home

After a two year loan to Belgium the bantamspast museum’s life sized figure of Jimmy Speirs will be returning to Bradford in time for the new season. We loaned the cut out of Speirs and a framed picture of the 1911 FA Cup winning team to the Passchendaele Museum to mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in which 300,000 British and Commonwealth troops died – including City’s FA Cup winning captain Jimmy Speirs.
bantamspast’s David Pendleton is travelling to Belgium this week and will bring the Speirs figure home by train. We’d like to acknowledge Eurostar, National Express East Coast and Northern Rail for their support in getting the near six foot figure back to Bradford.
It is hoped that the graves of Jimmy Speirs and Gerald Kirk will be visited. As well as the inscriptions to Robert Torrance and James Comrie who have no known grave. Pictures of the trip to Belgium will appear here next week.
Picture shows Jimmy outside the museum before he set off nearly two years ago.

Saturday 11 July 2009

City v Avenue - Playing for the Tom Banks Trophy?

In his programme notes for the first home game of the season last year against Notts County (ironically our first league opponents this year, this time away), Dave Pendleton wrote: 'The Bradford derbies have a rich history, one that raged across all four divisions of the Football League. Given that friendlies against Halifax, Huddersfield and Leeds are now non-starters, thanks to policing bills and the like, I would like to see the Avenue game expanded into a mini-Bradford Championship involving a City XI, Avenue, Eccleshill United and Thackley. We have the Tom Banks Trophy, formerly played for between City and Avenue, in the museum and we would be delighted to make it available as the Bradford Championship trophy.'
As the Bantams are due to play Avenue again on Wednesday next at Horsefall (k.o. 19.45), we are making the trophy available once more. In the hope that it's taken up, we've given it a much needed clean.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Harry McIlvenny Passes Away

The former Bradford Park Avenue player, and Yorkshire CCC Vice-President, Harry McIlvenny has died aged 86. A centre forward, he played for Avenue between 1946-50.
His father Jimmy McIlvenny was a centre forward for Bradford City during the club's golden age. Contemporary commentators felt that Jimmy's best years were lost when league football was suspended for the duration of the Great War.
Jimmy joined City from South Shields in 1911 and during an eleven year spell he scored 26 goals in 132 appearances. He left for Blackpool following City's relegation from the top flight in 1922. He spent one season at Bloomfield Road scoring 4 goals in sixteen games.
When City meet Avenue at Horsfall on Wednesday it would be fitting for both sets of fans to pause for a moment to remember the McIlvenny's who served Bradford football so well.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Bantams Community Programme

For obvious reasons, there's not too much activity going on in the bantamspast museum at the moment. Later in the close season we plan to spice up the displays and add one or two large images although, as everywhere else, money is tight.
Meanwhile, the Bantams Community Project continues to meet. This is a joint committee, made up of all the bodies that use the space above the shop. It's current main aim is to see that the space is well used, thus generating revenue that will keep it running over the long term. We still await news of funding for our bantamsmemories project. We should hear very soon.

Monday 11 May 2009

May 11 1985

Twenty four long years have passed yet the memory is as fresh and raw as yesterday.
Today especially, we take time to remember the 56 fans who perished, their families and friends and all others who were affected by this terrible tragedy.

Friday 1 May 2009

Manningham Community Fun Day

This annual event will be taking place this Sunday, May 3rd at Valley Parade. Representatives from bantamspast will be in the museum showing DVDs on our recently installed ceiling mounted projector and telling people all about the little gems we have on display.
There'll be a lot of other stuff going on throughout the stadium complex, including junior football competitions, stalls and activities, culminating in a Manningham All-Stars v Thackley football match in the afternoon.
Admission is free and everyone's welcome.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Last Home Game Programme Notes

The programme notes for the Rotherham game are now available in our Programme Notes section. David Pendleton concludes his account of the long and eventful Odsal modernisation saga.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Lincoln City Programme Notes

Apologies for the delay. There are now available in our Programme Notes section. We continue our Odsal odyssey with the National Superdome and the Tesco developments. As ever the ‘Wembley of the North’ was to prove elusive.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Brentford Programme Notes

These are now available in the Programme Notes section of the site. David Pendleton gives us Part Two of his history of proposed developments at Odsal.
During Saturday's eventful match against Brentford I was reminded that they had been the opponents at my very first City game. This was followed by the sharp realisation that the season, 1968-69, is now all of forty years ago. It actually took place on September 28th 1968 and we won 3-0 with goals from Hall, Ham and Walker.
Same division, same opposition and so much in between. We got promotion that year with a 3-1 away win at Darlington. Here's hoping…

Friday 27 March 2009

Harry Hanger Update

The bantamspast research department, in the shape of Chris Ambler, has been busy trying to find out whether the Crystal Palace website claim that our former player Harry Hanger died during the Great War is correct. The facts are inconclusive, but we are inclined to believe that the Harry Hanger who was killed in the conflict wasn’t the player who appeared for City between 1906-09.
City secured the signature of left half Harry Hanger from Kettering on 12 April 1906. The burly 5’ 9” centre half played 79 games for City, scoring 4 goals. In all but one of those games he played at left half (no.6), but did switch to right half for one game. After three years at Valley Parade Harry transferred to Crystal Palace. The Bradford Daily Argus reported on 17 May 1909 that he had signed for Southern League side Crystal Palace. In Terry Frost’s excellent Bradford City, The Complete Record book it states that Harry signed for Northampton, indeed, the Daily Argus had reported on 3 May 1909 that Harry and Frank Whittaker had signed for Northampton, but the report of 17 May appears to supersede the earlier story. Indeed, Harry did play 178 games for Palace, scoring 8 goals.
During the Great War on 19 January 1915 the Bradford Daily Argus reported: ‘H. Hanger, now of Crystal Palace, has enlisted in the Football Battalion.’ The Harry Hanger the Crystal Palace website refers to was killed whilst serving with the Household Cavalry. The British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards show that the Hanger who was in the Household Cavalry enlisted on 6 October 1914. He was born at Market Harborough in Leicestershire, whilst Harry Hanger the footballer was born at Kettering.
So, it appears that the Harry Hanger who was killed whilst serving with the Household Cavalry was not the Harry Hanger who played for City and Palace. Though we are happy to be proved otherwise, for the time being we are not adding Harry to the nine City players killed in the Great War.
Our thanks to Chris Ambler for the hours put in researching the above at Bradford Central Library.

Port Vale Programme Notes

These are now available in our Programme Notes section.

Sunday 22 March 2009

The Odsal Debate Continues

A packed bantamspast museum enjoyed a lively debate on the proposed Odsal Sporting Village and City’s involvement. The top table was comprised of: Dave Baldwin (Bradford City’s chief executive), Peter Hood (Bradford Bulls chairman), Cllr Adrian Naylor (executive member regeneration and economy, Conservative), Cllr David Warburton (sports and leisure spokesman, Labour) and Cllr David Ward (deputy leader, Liberal Democrats).

Dave Baldwin opened by stating that City’s position was to remain at Valley Parade and correspondence had been opened with the ground’s owner Gordon Gibb. However, with overheads of £1.2m per year at Valley Parade unless the ground could be bought, or the rent reduced, then quite clearly the club would have to seriously consider Odsal if the Sports Village went ahead. David Baldwin revealed that the club had already talked to the Council and had raised issues such as rent, revenues from advertising, corporate revenues, access to Odsal Stadium on non-match days, besides much else. He reiterated that those talks were very much letting the Council know the club’s issues, but Valley Parade remained the number one choice for the club’s future.

Peter Hood explained the concept of the Odsal Sports Village (OSV) as a venue for a host of sports and said repeatedly that it was not just about getting a new stadium for the Bradford Bulls. For example he wanted fans to envisage a Richard Dunn’s three times its current size. He said that City would be welcome as partners at the OSV and had no doubt that ground sharing could be made to work. Answering questions about what would happen if the OSV failed to materialise, he said that the Bulls would try and make a go of Odsal themselves, but would also have to consider Valley Parade. The Super League was moving forward rapidly with new facilities. Hull, Huddersfield, Warrington and Wigan had built new grounds. Leeds were improving Headingley, St Helens are building a new ground and Castleford are at the planning stage. Clearly, the Bulls would be left behind if Odsal remained in its current state.

Adrian Naylor defended the Council’s pledge of £15m to the OSV saying that it would host a huge number of sports and that 5,000 student athletes would live at the village. It would offer ordinary Bradfordians the chance to train alongside some of the best athletes in the country. He also said that the £15m would attract match funding from many other sources. However, he revealed that they were very much at the planning stage and that no concrete plans had yet been laid.

David Ward, whilst fully supporting the OSV concept, wondered whether it was wise for the Council to fund a project that might potentially take City away from their traditional Manningham home. City play a huge part in bringing thousands of people into the city centre every other Saturday and are a central plank of the Manningham Masterplan – in which incidentally City now play an official role. What would it say about social cohesion if City left Manningham? He ended by saying he had huge concerns about what would happen to Valley Parade itself if City went to the OSV? The thought of it lying derelict and vandalised was inconceivable.

David Warburton hoped that both clubs could find a way of remaining at their traditional homes. However, he fully supported the OSV and revealed that he had even once played at the ground and later had manned the old scoreboard for Northern matches.
When the debate was thrown open to the floor, unsurprisingly a lot of fans wanted to ask David Baldwin about purely City related matters. David reassured fans that the club was committed to Valley Parade, but he had to explore all avenues and if an option became available that could reduce the club’s overheads, then he would be duty bound not to ignore it. He said that he was pleased that the club, Bulls and the Council were involved in an open and honest debate. He wanted the Council to fully understand City’s position. He wanted to build a better relationship with them and get away from the two bodies only speaking to one another when the club was facing a financial crisis.
Peter Hood was asked about where the Bulls would play during the OSV build stages he said he had already spoken to Julian Rhodes and expected that the Bulls could be playing at Valley Parade for two years whilst the OSV was being built.
David Baldwin suggested that the OSV be built as a multi-sport and training venue and that the option of building a new ground be deferred. The Bulls could share Valley Parade and once the OSV was up and running then a proper evaluation of whether a new ground was needed at the OSV could be taken. His preferred option was for a top class multi-sport and training venue at Odsal, but with Valley Parade as the focus for professional sport in Bradford. It would save a huge amount of money at the OSV and would allow even more to be spent on the new Richard Dunn’s and other athlete training facilities. After all, a virtually brand new stadium already existed at Valley Parade.
In the end though it was all about economics, the better the balance sheet the more money the club could give to the manager. In a stark message he said that currently 6,000 season tickets had been sold for next season, if the remaining 4,000 people who currently have season tickets for this campaign don’t renew then the playing budget for next season would be cut by £600,000. He wanted everyone in the room to go out and convince those who had not renewed to do so. He accepted that it was tough given the current run of results – and he had suffered with the fans at Rochdale, Exeter and Bournemouth – but it was vital for the long term success of the club. If the fans walk away now, the job of returning the club to a higher level would be all the more difficult.

Saturday 21 March 2009

New Team Group Added

Thanks to Mick Lamb from the ticket office at City, we now have a team group for season 1956-57. Only a photo-copy unfortunately but the players are clearly identifiable - Back: D Jackson, G Smith, M Currie, G Mulholland Front: P Jackson, R Liversidge, G Williamson, L Samuels, J Simms, W Marshall.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Gentle Reminder - the Great Odsal Debate, Part Two

On Saturday the museum will be hosting the second of its Odsal debates, this time with a panel made up of the great and good. Confirmed to attend thus far are:
  • Dave Baldwin (Bradford City's Chief Executive)
  • Peter Hood (Chairman, Bradford Bulls)
  • Cllr David Warburton (Labour Sport and Leisure spokesman)
  • Cllr Adrian Naylor (Conservative, Executive Member for Regeneration and the Economy)
  • Cllr David Ward (Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrat)
The debate will begin at 1.30pm. Supporters are advised to arrive early to get a seat as last time it was standing room only.

Friday 13 March 2009

Movers and Shakers form Odsal Panel

Prior to the Port Vale game another Odsal debate will take place in the bantamspast museum. This time the movers and shakers of Bradford will form the panel. Thus far Bradford City's chief executive David Baldwin and the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Councillor David Ward have confirmed their attendance.
We are awaiting replies from the other two main political parties on Bradford Council as well as the Bradford Bulls - though the latter are playing a Super League fixture in France on the same day.
As usual the debate will commence at 1.30pm and admission is free.

Monday 9 March 2009

Fans' Forum - The Odsal Debate

On Saturday a packed bantamspast museum saw City fans debating whether the club should move to the projected Odsal Sporting Village. One interested observer was City's David Baldwin, who as we shall see, ended up making a valuable contribution.
Nick Kitchen talked of how he had first engaged the council with his petition to increase the council's involvement with the club. The Supporters Trust chairman Alan Carling gave an interesting talk on how they had tried - in vain thus far - to involve the council in a buy out of Valley Parade. He also talked of the possibility of Valley Parade becoming a community owned venue.
Of course, Valley Parade is currently owned by our former chairman Gordon Gibb. The museum's David Pendleton outlined the costs incurred by City and outlined the options understood to be open to the club. At this point City's David Baldwin took the floor and explained that everyone on the board wanted the club to remain at Valley Parade.
Their first option was to buy back the ground, indeed he had written to Gordon Gibb requesting a valuation and was awaiting a reply. If that failed, then they would seek to renegotiate the rent. The current overheads run to £1.2m per year, which is obviously unsustainable for a League Two club. If all that failed, and the Odsal development went ahead, then for the long term viability of the club they would reluctantly consider a move to Odsal.
David Pendleton outlined the heavy public investment that has been made into Odsal since the 1930s. He stressed that the debate should not descend into a City v Bulls bun fight, but that the council should be asked why they were continuing to place such huge amounts of public money into Odsal when a modern large capacity stadium already exists at Valley Parade. Why spend £15m of money from the sale of the airport when probably something in the order of £2.5m would secure Valley Parade? That would leave £12.5m to spend on improving community sporting facilities right across the district
In a final plea, fans were asked to highlight the issues via letters to councillors and newspapers. This is a debate that can be won. The fight for Valley Parade is on.

Aldershot Programme Notes

These are now available in the programme notes section of our site.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Special Fans' Forum: The Odsal Debate

On Saturday the museum will hold a forum for fans to air their views on Odsal. This will be very much for the ordinary fan. We are aiming next time to invite the movers and shakers, but this Saturday it's about City fans.
1.30 pm Saturday March 7 (before Aldershot game) in bantamspast museum, above Surridge UpFront Sports.
Chaired by David Pendleton, bantamspast museum
Terry Armstead, IDL White Abbey Branch
Alan Carling, Bradford City Supporters Trust
Darren 'Dazz' Clarke (tbc), City Gents Supporters Club
Steve Gorringe, Shipley Bantams
Mike Harrison, City Gent fanzine
Nick Kitchen, Council Petitioner
All City fans are welcome to come and talk about the Odsal Sports Village project, ground-sharing with the Bulls, stadium purchase, Council involvement with City etc.
Admission free. Tea and snacks at the UpFront cafe.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Macclesfield Programme Notes

These are now available in our Programme Notes section. For this match's notes, we look ahead to some upcoming events in the bantamspast museum.

Thursday 19 February 2009

An Image From The Seventies

Before the Wycombe game, City director Bill Roper approached us again with another picture from his collection. It comes from a 1974 fund-raising event. The gathering includes the famously bearded Trevor Hockey with goal-ace Bobby Ham to his left. Garry Watson is also there on the right.
Next to Trevor Hockey is Gladys Hannah. Over several decades Gladys has supported the club through numerous fund-raising efforts, most notably by selling raffle tickets. We at bantamspast were honoured to have her open the museum in 2005. Recently Gladys has had a serious fall and is currently in a nursing home in Manningham. We are sure all supporters will join us in wishing her a rapid recovery.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Forgotten War Hero Discovered?

bantamspast reader Bill has written to us recently, claiming to have found another of City's fallen heroes. Harry Hanger played for the club between 1906 and 1909 and was part of the side that won the Second Division Championship in 1908. Shortly after this he was transferred to Crystal Palace where he enjoyed several successful seasons, becoming club captain.
Thanks to an entry in one of the Palace forums, Bill has discovered that Harry enlisted in Northampton in 1915 and was sadly killed in action in Flanders in March 1918.
We are currently checking details in order to confirm that the City and Palace Harry Hangers are the same person. If so, this is a truly remarkable find. Many thanks to Bill for doing the research and bringing it to our attention.

Sunday 15 February 2009

1980's Presentation and Other Museum Events

For once, pre-match events in the bantamspast museum were not followed by disappointment on the pitch as City went onto victory, knocking Wycombe off their top-of-the-table perch.
bantamspast's presentation of images from the early 1980s went down well and we were also able to show video footage of games from the era, most notably the League Cup tie against Manchester United (image, right).
Radio Leeds' City correspondent Derm Tanner was also on hand to interview curator David Pendleton regarding recent speculation about ground sharing with Bradford Bulls. The main reaction from him and other supporters present was that we'd heard it all before over the years.

Friday 13 February 2009

Presentation Reminder!

Just in case a number of you subscribe to this blog, it's worth mentioning again that, prior to the Wycombe game, bantampast will be presenting: Going Places - Bradford City 1981-84 in the bantamspast museum. This illustrated talk will describe the short but tumultuous period in which the foundations for future footballing success were laid. It will begin around 1.30 p.m. and, as always, admission is free. Image shows action from a game against Bury at Valley Parade during the 1981-82 season.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

1980's Presentation

v Wigan, 1981-82As you would have read in Monday night's programme, had the weather not cruelly intervened, we are planning another of our illustrated presentations. This will take place prior to the Wycombe game on Saturday 14th February in the bantamspast museum.
It will concern that tumultuous period in the club's history in the early 1980's. In the space of just three seasons - a famous League Cup victory, promotion, resignations, near extinction and the foundations laid for two decades of footballing progress. We will also be featuring many of our newly acquired images from that period. The one displayed here shows action from the home game against Wigan during the 1981-82 season.
As usual everyone is welcome and admission is free.

Monday 2 February 2009

Grimsby Town Programme Notes

David Pendleton's account of an early away day outing to Grimsby are now in our Programme Notes section.

Sunday 1 February 2009

Further Website Updates

Today we have added pages pertaining to grounds: Valley Parade, Carlisle Road (City's first home, as Manningham RFC) and Odsal, which has had a number of links with City, both potential and actual, over the years.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

New 1910-11 Squad Image: Update

There are many pictures of the 1910-11 FA Cup winning team, often reproduced as postcards to commemorate what was, arguably, City's finest hour. This one is a little unusual, however, in that it shows the whole squad in front of a match day crowd.
We have most of the names as well:
Back (left to right) Chaplin, Spendiff, Bigland, Speirs, Mellors, Lintott, Campbell, Farren, Blair, Maskrey, Robinson;
Centre: P. O'Rourke (secretary-manager), Torrance, Peart, McDonald, Graham, O'Rourke, Young, Logan, Potter, Handley.
Front: D.L. Menzies (asst trainer), Harewood, Bond R., Pimbley, Hampton, Boocock, ---, Bond A., Devine, C. Harper (trainer).
Thanks to Bill for providing names originally missing from this post.

Monday 26 January 2009

A Brand New Team Group!

Doesn't happen much these days, so with an extra note of celebration we tick off another season for which we now have a team group picture - 1923-24! And what a gem it is too. The whole squad with the famous old Midland Road stand in the background. All the names, including Front Room of Famer Donald Duckett, are handwritten on the back so we'll be adding it to our Century of Teams Gallery in coming days.

Team Group Update: Season 1983-84

Another from our newly acquired picture archive is an improved team group from season 1983-84. Seeing as you've helped us out with names from previous images, why not have a go with this lot?

Friday 23 January 2009

FA Cup Memories

This weekend's FA Cup 4th round gives us an opportunity to show another of our newly acquired images and remember a time when City's involvement in the competition went beyond the second or third round.
It takes us back to January 6th 1962, when the Bantams faced the mighty Arsenal at Highbury. Former T&A City correspondent, David Markham, takes up the story by describing the career of City goalkeeper Mitchell Downie: "Mitchell was a spectacular, acrobatic goalkeeper who originally came from Scotland to play at Park Avenue in 1950 and joined City after spells at Lincoln and Goole. He spent four years at Valley Parade - 1959-1963 - before ending his career with Doncaster Rovers. I remember the Arsenal game very well. It was a third round FA Cup tie in January 1962 and I joined a special train run by the T&A. We set off at 7am and the £6-plus cost included breakfast and evening meal. The T&A arranged for 400 copies of the Yorkshire Sports to be delivered to the train when it stopped at Doncaster so we could read a report of the match on the last stage of our journey home. It was a great day out. City didn't disgrace themselves, but were comfortably beaten 3-0. They were in the Fourth Division then and, after the cup defeat, they had a great run to the end of the season before missing out on promotion by one place - four teams were promoted and they finished fifth."
In the picture, Mel Charles, Arsenal's centre-forward (second left) beats Downie, Bradford's goalkeeper and Storton, Bradford's left-back, to score Arsenal's second goal. The ball is completely covered by Storton.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Great New Campbell Image

A gem from our recently acquired archive is this shot of Bobby Campbell being welcomed back to Valley Parade by his team-mates after a short spell at Derby County during season 1983-84. It will now take pride of place on his page in the Front Room of Fame. Looks like a youthful Stuart McCall in the background. Other names?
Update: Thanks for the two comments which have provided names for the other pictured players: (left to right) Terry Gray, Steve Lampkin, Bobby Campbell, Stuart McCall, Chris Withe and Greg Abbott.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Archive Acquired

Amidst all the other activity on Saturday, we were also given a carrier bag full of images! For the most part these come from the 1980s although there are many from earlier times. Quite a few scanning evenings ahead before we can get them out to a wider audience, but here's one to whet your appetite.
It shows City's centre-forward Derek Stokes scoring his side's second goal against Burnley in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The match was played at Valley Parade in front of more than 26,000 on Saturday February 20th 1960. Although City were two goals ahead after 75 minutes, the game was eventually drawn, 2-2. The Bantams eventually lost the replay 5-0 and Burnley finished the season as First Division Champions.

Monday 19 January 2009

Another Lively Afternoon for the Museum

Saturday's match against Accrington was preceded by a number of happenings in the bantamspast museum. Regular readers of the City Gent will know of John Holman's recent regular articles which link his love of 1960s music and supporting City during that era. These memories and sounds were brought together in his excellent presentation.
Meanwhile, CG editor Mike Harrison was being tailed by a camera crew gathering material for a forthcoming film about football supporters. The image to the right shows the camera crew getting a close look at George Mulholland.
David Pendleton's article for the game is now available in the programme notes section.

Monday 12 January 2009

Website Tweaks

One or two small additions and amendments to the website today. We noticed that the fourth chapter in the Early Days section, Defence of the Cup, 1912-1918 no longer had the images it had on the original site. This has now been corrected. A page that used to link to that section, Bradford City v Bradford Park Avenue, 1912-1969, has now also been resurrected.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Front Room Almost Complete

Today more of our heroes have been returned to the Front Room. Two members of our current management team, David Wetherall and Stuart McCall, are now in residence along with John Hendrie and a hero of the 1920s, Willie Watson (right). Jimmy Speirs' details will be added soon, but don't forget you can find much more about him at his own site.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

More Front Room Returns

Goal ace Bobby Campbell, whose action photo is featured in the bantamspast museum, is now back in the Front Room. Also it's a happy return for 1920s stalwart Donald Duckett. Donald's last contract with City is on display in the museum and an extract from it is shown on his page. It reads: 'In the event of the said player being prevented from playing football on account of any accident whilst riding a motor vehicle for pleasure, the club shall withhold payment of wages during the period of incapacity.'

Monday 5 January 2009

Returning to The Front Room

Following the Christmas break we have resumed our refurbishment of the site. Today Bobby Ham, Ces Podd (right), Don Hutchins, Peter Downsborough and Peter Beagrie have taken their places once more in the Front Room of Fame.

Shrewsbury Programme Notes

Describing the club's fundraising efforts throughout its history, the bantamspast column for the Shrewsbury game can now be found in our Programme Notes section.

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