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.