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.

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