Saturday 24 December 2011

Seasonal Best Wishes

We would like to wish all our visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

During the festive period we will be selling copies of the new book Paraders, the 125 year history of Valley Parade, on matchdays in the bantamspast museum. Copies of our previous publication, Glorious 1911, will also be on sale. The books are also available from Waterstones in the city centre and online or by email. We hope to see many of you at the matches on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

Friday 9 December 2011

Pre-Christmas Activities

One in a Million (The Charity based at Valley Parade) and Friends of Bradford City (The fund raising group of supporters) are staging a Christmas event in the Museum/Cafe area (Above the club shop) prior to next Saturday's game against Plymouth. Shipley Salvation Army Band will be providing suitably festive music in the Museum prior to appearing on the pitch before kick off and at half time.
One in Million will be offering festive fayre in their cafe including mince pies and mulled wine, whilst Santa Claus will be dropping in.
bantamspast will have the newly launched book `Paraders` tracing the 125 year history of Valley Parade available for sale, and author David Pendleton will be available to sign copies.
Bantamstrek will be selling Santa Hats, the sales of which will benefit the Bradford Burns Unit,.
It is hoped some of the City players will be making an appearance.
Friends of Bradford City will be selling their new 2012 Calendar `Its a fan's life` featuring City players in fans roles, and will also have other seasonal gifts available.
In addition Friends of Bradford City will be giving details of the re-launched `Junior Bantams` young supporters club in association with One in Milllion and would give a warm welcome to young City supporters.
City Gent will have a seasonal twist in their new issue of the City Gent fanzine, and Friends of Bradford City will have sales locations in each stand, making it a very busy day for the various supporter groups.
Mark Neale, Chairman of Friends of Bradford City said "The home game nearest Christmas is traditionally a special day for the fans, and it's great that the various supporters organisations have joined together to have a special event in the Museum/Cafe area before what is a very important game for City".
"We are developing a great relationship with One in a Million who are now an important part of the Valley Parade scene, and bantamspast are also very pro-active in keeping alive the history of our great club".
"There will be something for every age group on Saturday, but we really hope young City fans can come and get our new Junior Bantams group of to a great start with an official launch taking place on 31st December".
Above: David Pendleton signs copies of his latest book, Paraders, at Thursday's launch, held at Waterstones in Bradford,

Monday 5 December 2011

Paraders - Book Launch

The official launch of a new book which celebrates the 125 year history of Bradford City AFC’s Valley Parade ground will take place at Waterstones at 6.30pm on Thursday 8 December. Entitled ‘Paraders, the 125 year history of Valley Parade’, it has been written by David Pendleton, curator of Bradford City’s bantamspast museum and author of the critically acclaimed book Glorious 1911.

Paraders tells the story of the Bantams’ home from its inception as a rugby ground in 1886 right through to the present day. From the fire disaster of 1985 to the FA Cup winners of 1911; the brief Premier League sojourn to all too many years in the basement division of English football. The full sweep of the history and development of Valley Parade is captured. Scores of previously unpublished images enhance the painstakingly researched text. Even the most dedicated Bradford City supporter will learn something new from this comprehensive history.

Paraders is much more than a history of a football ground. It touches on the social, industrial and demographic changes that have shaped the wider city of Bradford over the last 125 years. Priced at just £16 the book will appeal to even those who do not make the fortnightly pilgrimage to Valley Parade.

Paraders is on sale in the bantamspast museum on matchdays and at Waterstones in Bradford city centre. The author will be signing copies in the bantamspast museum prior to home matches during December.

Monday 24 October 2011

Guest of Honour Joe

Joe Cooke watching City's 2-1 victory over Northampton Town. He was our guest of honour at the museum's first Black History Month event. Thanks to Jess Jess Pétrie for the photo.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Older than the Bantams

Celebrating 112 years of black footballers in Bradford
Saturday 22 October 2011, prior to the game against Northampton Town
bantamspast museum
Bradford City AFC
Valley Parade
Admission free

In 1899 a team of black players from South Africa played a Bradford & District team at Park Avenue, four years before the Bantams were formed.

Two years later, in 1901, the spectacular show Savage South Africa was staged at Valley Parade in a three week run that played to over twenty thousand people. The show, complete with 500 hundred actors and 120 horses, also featured, what the Bradford Daily Argus termed ‘real African darkies’. Today the show is often criticised as being a human zoo. However, for a working class family, living perhaps in a cramped terrace house, in days long before radio and television, the show must have simply appeared as fabulous entertainment.

In 1905, only four years after the staging of Savage South Africa, Bradford City signed their first black player, the mixed race winger Billy Clarke, from Aston Villa. He had already become the first ever black player to score a goal in the first division of English football whilst with Villa. At Valley Parade he would win a second division championship medal and score Bradford City’s first ever goal in top flight football in 1908. A hugely popular player with the Valley Parade crowds, it is interesting to note that, during his near 100 games for the Bantams, the newspapers barely mention his race. It seems that he was accepted into the Bradford City family almost without comment.

In the 1970s Bradford City welcomed the pioneering modern day black players Ces Podd and Joe Cooke to Valley Parade. The two men became immensely popular with the supporters and Ces is still the club’s record appearance holder, playing 565 games for the club between 1970 and 1984. Arguably, the presence of both men in Bradford City’s team helped to shape the culture of the club during an era that defined race relations in Britain. Being a racist and a Bradford City supporter was simply incompatible. Today, the club still enjoys a reputation for openness and tolerance. Ces and Joe’s role in establishing that culture will be one aspect of Bradford City’s celebration of Black History Month.

The bantamspast museum co-curator, David Pendleton, will give a presentation about the visit of the black South African team to Bradford in 1899; the arrival of the show Savage South Africa at Valley Parade in 1901; and Bradford City’s first black player, Billy Clarke, who joined the club in 1905.

Professor Matt Taylor, of De Montfort University, Leicester, will speak about the pioneering black footballers of the 1970s, including Bradford City’s own Ces Podd and Joe Cooke.

The director of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University, Leicester, Professor Tony Collins, will talk of the contribution of black sportsmen and women to the culture of the north of England.

We hope that our guests of honour will include, Joe Cooke and Des Hamilton, scorer of Bradford City’s opening goal during the Wembley 1996 play-off final when the Bantams secured promotion to the Championship.

The bantamspast museum event is part of Bradford City’s One Game, One Community day, which is dedicated to the Kick Racism out of Football initiative.

Programme Fair

Tuesday 4 October 2011

In a Bantam Frame of Mind

A mini-photographic exhibition featuring life around Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground
A mini photographic exhibition will open in the bantamspast museum on Saturday 8 October. A series of twelve shots, taken by Bankfoot photographer Jess Petrie, captures a taste of life around Bradford City’s Valley Parade stadium. The photographs were taken as part the bantamsmemories project, which sought to gather the memories of the varied communities that have lived in the shadow of the football ground over the last fifty years.

The mini-exhibition runs parallel with the Bradford wide Ways of Looking photographic festival, which runs throughout October. The co-curator of the bantamspast museum, David Pendleton, said: "We are delighted to be able to display a small portion of Jess’ work. We hope to commission her once more in the near future to record the area around the ground on a match day. The importance of the football club, both socially and economically, to Manningham is perhaps taken for granted, but we feel it is important to recognise the shared links of two communities that come together for a few hours every time City play at home."

Jess Petrie gave her thoughts on the project: "I was honoured to be commissioned to document scenes of daily life from around the area. In true reportage style I set on my little journey ‘in the shadow of Valley Parade’.

I had a clear vision of the people and places I was to focus on; all the people that belong to the local religious establishments in the area, the worshippers, local business workers and the local people and communities.

The diversity and multiculturalism surrounding the area is so vast and it’s so nice to see communities of different cultures mixing, working and living together… it’s harmonious and how the rest of the world should be living.

It’s been refreshing and eye-opening to hear the stories that everyone has to tell about their life surrounding the stadium and the changes that the area has gone through over periods of time.  The opportunities that have arose from the football club, the vibrancy and ‘team spirit’ that leaves an ambience in the air before each match, the beaming smiles on the faces of local business owners after each match, and the proud feeling inside everyone that is part of the community.

I have witnessed a lot of positive actions whilst taking part in this project. And my views of Bradford have been seen in an even newer and positive light since working on it.

The communities around Valley Parade are full of support and care for one another and have great dignity. Everyone has been so welcoming, kind, warm and open.  I would like to thank all those who shared their stories with me, their time and their smiling faces, I will take a lot away with me from this pleasant experience."

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Meet Wayne Jacobs and David Wetherall

A Friends of Bradford City Event
Thursday October 22nd (8pm)  FoBC Forum
A chance to meet and thank two of that rarity nowadays, the loyal club servant.  Both Wayne and David never got the chance to say goodbye to the fans, and the fans would like to wish them well in their future careers. This evening is an opportunity to do so.
One in a Million will open their cafe for the evening.
Entry is free to members of FoBC and £1 to non-members.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

bantamsmemories launch

Over the past two years, the lottery funded bantamsmemories project has been recording the stories remembered by people from different generations and backgrounds who have lived in the area around Valley Parade. The product of much work carried out by many volunteers can now be seen on the bantamsmemories website.

A film and visual display have also been produced and these will be exhibited in the bantamspast museum soon. Watch this space!

The Season's First Pre-match Event

The bantamspast museum hosts its first presentation of the season on Saturday. Prior to Bradford City's match against Bristol Rovers, the Bradford Bulls Foundation will be showing films and giving a presentation relating to their Heritage Lottery funded Past Times project which is aiming to capture the social history of Odsal Stadium for future generations.

The ground, which of course was Bradford City's home in the wake of the fire disaster, has a rich heritage and has hosted rugby, speedway, stock cars, equestrian, festivals of sport, girl guide jamborees, football, trotting, dog shows, the Harlem Globetrotters, cattle markets, tennis and many other events.

The event begins at 1.15pm in the bantamspast museum which is located above the Club Shop behind the Kop End of Valley Parade. As with all bantamspast events, admission is completely free.

Thursday 18 August 2011

bantamspast: A New Look

The 1911 FA Cup Final ball has returned to the bantamspast museum following its long term loan to Bradford Industrial Museum where it was on display for their fabulous exhibition that marked City's 1911 FA Cup triumph. We also took the opportunity to create a new case that holds some of the most iconic items from the club's history. These include the match ball from City's miraculous Premier League survival when Liverpool were beaten 1-0 at a breathless Valley Parade. Also from that unforgettable match is Matt Clarke's shirt. Alongside those items are Stuart McCall's boots from the game at Wolves when City gained promotion to the Premier League and the shield the club received to mark that feat.

As fabulous as those items are, the most noticeable change are the two huge images of the FA Cup winners Jimmy Speirs and Bob Campbell which will greet visitors as they enter the museum. Over the coming weeks we will also be erecting similar profiles of the other cup heroes. More photographs will be added as work progresses.

Monday 15 August 2011

Upcoming Events

The bantamspast museum is pleased to announce the return of our popular pre-match events. Further details will appear nearer to the time but here are three for the earlier part of the season. As usual admission to the museum and events is completely free of charge.

10 September: The Bradford Bulls Foundation will be giving a presentation on the social history of Odsal Stadium and will present a 20 minute DVD which gives a flavour of the many sports Odsal Stadium has hosted since it was constructed in 1934: from speedway to rugby league; baseball to show jumping.

24 September: Bradford City's Valley Parade ground is 125 years old this year and the actual birthday falls on 25 September. As Bradford City play at home to AFC Wimbledon the day before, that seems like an ideal time to celebrate our beloved ground. The birthday party will take place in the bantamspast museum. Come enjoy a birthday cake, cards and balloons.

22 October: Bradford City's Billy Clarke was the first ever black footballer to score a goal in the first division of English football. He signed for City in 1905. Over 60 years later Ces Podd and Joe Cooke graced Valley Parade as pioneering modern day black players. We celebrate the contribution of black players to Bradford City with an event in the bantamspast museum prior to City's match against Northampton Town. Speakers include Professor Matt Taylor of De Montfort University and bantamspast's own David Pendleton. An international five-a-side match will take place on the pitch between two teams from Bradford's African refugee community. Joe Cooke will be one of our guests of honour.

Saturday 25 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011 - A Final Picture

Our band of travellers at Jimmy Speirs' grave. An appropriate way to end the celebrations of Glorious 1911.

France-Belgium 2011 - James Comrie

The huge Menin Gate at Ypres has become the site of one of the best known and poignant ceremonies that surrounds the modern memory of the First World War. Every night members of the Ypres fire brigade play the last post beneath the imposing gate on which are inscribed the names of 56,000 men who died in the defence of Ypres and have no known grave.

Among those names is James Comrie, signed when Bradford City gained promotion to the first division and he replaced Gerald Kirk in the team. When the war came James was living in Lincoln, but for reasons unknown he ended up serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed near Ypres, but has no known grave. As large crowds gathered to witness the last post ceremony, the traffic was stopped and the bugles sounded their lament, I looked for James' name, but found myself pondering the eleven men whose graves we had visited.

My eyes were then drawn to the endless lists of names on the Menin Gate. I read as many as I could, thinking of the places and lives they had left behind. This is no glorification of war, far from it, there was only sadness and a thankfulness that my generation had not been asked to face the horrors that these ordinary men had.

France-Belgium 2011 - Gerald Kirk

The village of Poperinghe was for British troops a respite from the hell of Ypres. This was the railhead for the infamous Ypres Salient but also a place where bars and restaurants could be visited. For City's amateur centre half Gerald Kirk it was the place he came to die. Badly wounded during the defence of St Julian following the first ever gas attack in the history of warfare, when the German's released poison gas on French colonial troops who ran for their lives at the sight of the yellow gas clouds.

Gerald's company were thrown into a hasty counter attack designed to plug the gap in the line, it was successful but it cost Gerald Kirk his life. Badly wounded he was taken to Poperinghe, but the following day he succumbed and he lies in the Poperinghe Old British Cemetery.

France-Belgium 2011 - Robert Torrance

As you walk down the gravel path to the Tyne Cot Cemetery halfway up the Passchendaele ridge, a soft woman's voice reads a name, regiment and age at the time of death. It's a beautiful litany of the 300,000 men who died in the infamous Battle of Passchdaele. Tyne Cot is the largest British and Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. Over twelve thousands graves and an additional 36,000 on its Memorial to the Missing. This truly is the Silent City.

Among the names on the Memorial to the Missing is that of Robert Torrance. Probably Bradford City's greatest defender. The auburn haired centre half was the man-of-the-match in the 1911 FA Cup Final replay. Seven years later he lost an arm during an artillery barrage near the Belgian town of Ypes. The field hospital he was taken to was then shelled and Robert was blasted into oblivion. His body was never found. Today he may still lie undiscovered under a Belgian field, or he may lie in a grave marked simply 'known unto God'.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011 - Jimmy Conlin

The Nieupoort Memorial to the Missing was unlike any other we had seen thus far. It was situated in the centre of the town, at a main road intersection with trams and canals nearby.

City's first ever England international Jimmy Conlin is commemorated on the memorial. He was quite a character. The first City player to be sent off, only the second ever player in the world to be sold for over £1,000 and he was at the centre of a riot at Valley Parade against Manchester United in 1906.

Sadly, his brilliant career ended with suspension as drink got the better of him. Jimmy was killed in action at Neiupoort whilst serving with the Highland Light Infantry. He has no known grave and is thus commemorated by name on the memorial. The photograph shows bullet holes in the memorial from the Second World War.

France-Belgium 2011 - Ernest Goodwin

Line after line of brilliant white headstones. Étaples British Cemetery, within sight of the sea, is a poignant place. Here wounded soldiers were brought from the front. If they survived they were placed on a boat for Britain and home. Sadly, over 12,000 got within sight and sound of the sea, and by association, home, before succumbing to their wounds.

Among the rows of headstones is City reserve Ernest Goodwin. He lived on South Parade right behind Valley Parade's main stand. Ernest was badly wounded by shrapnel attacking Thiepval during the Battle of the Somme. He made it to Étaples, but no further.

Sunday 19 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011 - Harry Potter

The huge Arras Memorial to the Missing lies alongside a major road just west of the city centre. Once inside the high walls of the memorial the noise of the traffic disappears and once again you find yourself in the tranquility of an English garden.

The beauty and peace of the Commonwealth Cemeteries strikes the visitor time and again. Among the 30,000 names on the Arras Memorial is that of City reserve Harry Potter. A native of Bradford, Harry was living in Girlington with a young family when war came. He died holding the line in the German all-or-nothing spring offensive of 1918. It was the beginning of the end of the 'war to end wars'.

Once the German offensive was spent, the British began a sustained push that rolled the German's back towards their border and eventual surrender. Little compensation for Harry's wife and young daughter left behind in Bradford.

France-Belgium 2011 - Bradford Pals Memorial

The tiny village of Hebuterne has a plaque on its church wall commemorating the Bradford Pals. The location was chosen because it is close to where 44 Pals were killed in woodland, but it is a couple of miles distant from Serre where the majority of them were mown down on 1 July 1916. The area around Serre has several Pals memorials - Accrington, Barnsley, Sheffield to name but a few, so it does feel a bit odd that the Bradford Pals memorial stands on its own at Hebuterne.

Thanks to Steve Whittaker we were able to lay a claret and amber wreath to remember the Pals who died on the Somme. Both battalions were admitted free to Valley Parade in the days leading up to their departure from Bradford. Their initial meetings took place at the Drill Hall right next to the ground and undoubtedly many of them will have been supporters of Speirs, Torrance et al.

Indeed among the ranks of the Pals was none other than City's most famous player, the England international winger Dickie Bond, fortunately he survived the conflict.

Sunday 12 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011 - Donald Bell - Part Two

A few minutes drive from Bell's redoubt is the final resting place of Bradford Park Avenue's Donald Bell VC. We walked down a grassy path between ploughed fields into what the troops called the Caterpillar Valley, dominated today by the large Gordon's Dump Cemetery.

Without a building in sight we walked among the long lines of brilliant white headstones. Several wreaths of poppies lay at the foot of Donald Bell's headstone - including ones from Aireville School, Skipton and Donald Bell's former school, Harrogate Grammar.

Undoubtedly, his grave attracts the most attention in the large cemetery, yet all the headstone are of exactly the same size and design; the message being that they fought together and died together, equals in life and death. It was a sentiment that was to change Britain and beyond, for among the battlefields of the Great War our modern world was formed.

Thursday 9 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011 - Donald Bell

The Somme.

The tall white cross of sacrifice that stand sentinel over every British and Commonwealth cemetery becomes a regular sight. We wind among narrow lanes and suddenly come across Bell’s Redoubt on the edge of the village of Contalmaison.

On the roadside stands a memorial marking the spot where Bradford Park Avenue’s Donald Bell died. He is commemorated because a few days before his death he charged across no man’s land under heavy fire and killed the crew of a machine gun that was decimating the attacking troops. For his extreme valour Bell was awarded the Victoria Cross. A few days later he attempted to repeat a similar act and was killed.

Alongside the memorial was a wreath of poppies from Bradford Park Avenue. It was strange seeing the familiar civic coat of arms so deep in the French countryside; a little piece of a foreign roadside that will be forever Bradford.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Bradford Park Avene's Jimmy Smith

Another remote French village, set in rolling fields of barley, Ramicourt. Situated on the edge of the village and on a rise is the final resting place of Bradford Park Avenue's Jimmy Smith. He was a striker with an incredible scoring rate. Signed to strengthen the Avenue side in the wake of their promotion to the top division, he carried on hitting the net with an unerring regularity. Just a few days before he was due to return home to Bradford to marry his fiancé at Heaton he was killed in action. His portrait hung in the boardroom at Park Avenue as as a reminder of his supreme sacrifice - I wonder what became of it after Park Avenue was demolished in 1980?

Unfortunately, his grave stone is badly worn, but will doubtless be replaced in the near future. As we looked out in brilliant sunshine over the fields of barley swaying gently in the breeze, it was once again difficult to comprehend the slaughter that had occurred in that place. If the cemeteries did not exist the battlefields of the Great War would have already been returned completely to nature. In some ways a sad thought, in others a lovely one.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011 - George Draycott

Under glorious skies the final commemoration of Glorious 1911 took place on the Great War battlefields of Belgium and France. No Bradford City supporter will need reminding that the captain and goal scorer in the 1911 FA Cup Final, Jimmy Speirs, was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele just six years later. Thus the centenary of the FA Cup victory was the appropriate occasion to visit the final resting places of the nine Bradford City players who lost their lives in the Great War. Over the next couple of weeks we will feature sections of the journey, along with a commentary and photographs.

Twenty City supporters left Bradford Interchange on a sunny Thursday mid-morning en route to France. One change of trains, a quick dash through the Channel Tunnel and we were in Lille in time for tea. The following day we were conveyed by a Belgian coach to Gauche Wood and the first of the former players George Draycott. He lies in an isolated cemetery among rolling hills with the Gauche Wood as its backdrop. A single tree stands within the cemetery. Looking out over the quiet fields it is difficult to believe that men fought and died in this tranquil place. The tiny cemetery had a powerful impact on our group. Its size and isolation added to the poignancy. We wondered how many visitors had discovered George’s final resting place? Situated up a winding green lane, inaccessible by car and many miles from the nearest centre of population, Gauche Wood is far from the madding crowd. The beautifully tended cemetery, designed, like all the others, to resemble an English country garden, evidently has regular visits from its gardeners, but one suspects visitors are few and far between. If it was my fate to be killed in a war many miles from home, I would be content to have somewhere akin to Gauche Wood as my final resting place.

Monday 6 June 2011

France-Belgium 2011

The final event to commemorate the centenary of the 1911 FA Cup triumph took place this weekend when twenty people visited the final resting places of the nine Bradford City players killed in the Great War. We also took in the graves of the the two Bradford Park Avenue players and the Serre area where the Bradford Pals attacked on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Further images and a report will follow.

Speaking of events, this is the absolute final week of the When The FA Cup Came Home exhibition at Bradford Industrial Museum. It all finishes next Sunday 12 June. If you've not visited, shame on you! But there's still time - just.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Another Little Mystery

A member of Robert Torrance's family has kindly loaned a number of images to us, including this one. The big question is, who is it?
We know that a comedian by the name of Sammy Shields recorded a humorous sketch around the time of the 1911 Cup Final win. Could it be him? Unfortunately the internet doesn't provide much of a clue - there's very little information given regarding Mr Shields.
Can anyone out there help?

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Ernest Goodwin

We have just received this photo of Ernest Goodwin from his family. He was a City reserve and was killed during the Great War. In June we will be visiting his last resting place at Étaples, France.

Thursday 12 May 2011

On Reflection …

In the wake of the club’s lowest position in the Football League since 1966, and the ongoing debate as to whether Bradford City will continue to play at Valley Parade, the 26th anniversary of the fire disaster was a timely reminder and it helped to place the club’s current travails into perspective. As the flowers were piled around the memorial to the 56 fans who died on 11 May 1985 I did wonder whether Bradford City could ever leave Valley Parade while the generation who survived the fire remain active supporters of the club?

Of course, time and tide wait for no man and come 1 July 2011 there will only be a smattering of the curious and historically aware, gathered at the memorial to the Bradford Pals, to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. On that single day over a thousand young Bradfordians were mown down by machine guns and artillery fire on the blackest day in Bradford’s history. Yet less than a century on the anniversary will pass largely unnoticed. One day the Valley Parade fire will slowly fade into history, but the tears that were shed during the soft singing of ‘Abide with me’ illustrate that our disaster is still raw in the memory.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

11 May 1985

Today marks the twenty sixth anniversary of the fire disaster. As talks go on regarding the future viability of Valley Parade, we pause to remember the 56 supporters who died and the hundreds more who were injured. We will post images and a short report of the memorial service in the city centre later today.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Glorious 1911 and BBC Look North

Well, we're all still getting over the fantastic celebrations of last Tuesday, 26 April 2011, the centenary of the epic FA Cup win. As many readers will know, both the BBC and Yorkshire TV covered the various events throughout the day on their local news programmes.
Thanks to the BBC's Martin Armstrong and Look North Editor Tim Smith, here is what was broadcast on Look North, some of it live from the Midland Hotel.

Video courtesy of BBC Look North

Wednesday 27 April 2011

A Magnificent Day - 26 April 2011

A long glorious day began at Bradford Industrial Museum with the arrival of the FA Cup and ended with a magnificent dinner at the Midland Hotel, attended by over 200 people. Both Calendar and Look North were there as well as various other members of the press.
All agreed that the centenary of Bradford City's finest hour had been celebrated in a fine and suitable style.
In the coming days and weeks we would like to ensure that future generations will learn of what took place yesterday. Who knows, in a hundred years' time a future generation of supporters could be learning of these celebrations when they mark the bi-centenary.

If you have any images from the day that you would like to share, please either upload them to our Facebook group page or email them to us at bantamspast.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Happy Birthday FA Cup! One Hundred Today

Tuesday 26th April 2011 is the centenary of Bradford City’s greatest feat: the winning of the FA Cup. A club only eight years old, having already established itself as one of the top five clubs in the country, won the greatest and most coveted prize of the age. It was an achievement almost without parallel.

Designed and produced by Bradford company, Thomas Fattorini, the current trophy (the third) was first presented to Bradford City captain, Jimmy Speirs, after the team's 1-0 victory in a replay against Newcastle United at Old Trafford, Manchester (itself then only a year old, thus its first big fixture) on 26 April 1911.

The celebrations for this significant footballing event reach a climax today when the trophy will be coming home to the city of its creation.

From 11am to 3pm it will be on display in front of a life-sized display of the team image above, as part of the exhibition When the FA Cup Came Home at Bradford Industrial Museum. Also on display are six of the players' winning medals, two shirts from the final, the original Fattorini hand-drawn design for the trophy and much more.

Skipton’s Aireville School are welcoming representatives from Bradford City, bantamspast museum, the Yorkshire Regiment and the PFA. A replica of the FA Cup will be at the school and pupils who are undertaking a pilgrimage to the battlefields of the Great War, including the final resting place of Jimmy Speirs, will be presented with replica shirts from the Edwardian era.

A centenary dinner will take place at the Midland Hotel during the evening. The FA Cup will be at the hotel exactly one hundred years to the minute when the Bradford City players returned from Old Trafford to the Midland itself with the Bradford designed FA Cup. Speeches and toasts will be made over the course of the evening.

Many players from Bradford City’s FA Cup quarter final of 1976 will be in attendance (incidentally, it is 35 years since that remarkable achievement) as well as representatives from Bradford City. Finally, Stuart McCall, one of few former City players who have appeared in both the English and Scottish Cup Finals, will be one of our most honoured guests. It will be an evening to remember and a commemorative programme will be on sale. The dinner itself is a complete sell out.

Friday 22 April 2011

A letter to Jimmy Speirs

On 19 April 1911, Newcastle United captain, Colin Veitch was staying in The Alexandra Hotel and Hydro, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, in preparation for the FA Cup Final the following Saturday. Using the hotel's headed notepaper, he replied to a letter from Bradford City captain, Jimmy Speirs:

Thanks for your letter, which expresses in sound terms the spirit of comradeship, and the proper sentiments one would expect to see associated with the sportsman and the sport.

Please express to your colleagues the admiration which we all feel for your kindly thoughts for the injured players. You will be pleased to hear that recent reports are not so unfavourable in the case of Albert Shepherd, whilst Willis has improved so rapidly during the Easter weekend that there is every chance of him appearing on Saturday.

I trust we will have a splendid game at the Crystal Palace, and by our united efforts, serve to bring the professional side of football even more prominently in front of the public, as the essence of everything good in the sport.

May the best team win, as you say.

Again thanking you for timely and kindly letter.

I remain

Yours sincerely

Colin Veitch

Friday 8 April 2011

When the FA Cup Came Home - Grand Launch

A fantastic evening at Bradford Industrial Museum attended by over 300 people. The celebration of Bradford City's 1911 FA Cup win was officially opened when Mary Needham, granddaughter of City's first chairman, Alfred Ayrton, cut the claret & amber ribbon.
Alexander Jackson, who works for the National Football Museum, said that in his opinion it was the best football related exhibition he had ever seen.
You can see more launch pictures here.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

An exciting day today as a team from Bradford Industrial Museum went to Birmingham to secure the loan of the original design drawing for the current FA Cup produced, by Bradford's own Fattorini & Sons, back in 1911. From tomorrow it will take pride of place in the exhibition When the FA Cup Came Home.

This image does not do it justice. Be sure to go and see it yourself.

Sunday 20 March 2011

When the FA Cup Came Home - Now Open

The exhibition celebrating the centenary of Bradford City's epic FA Cup win is now open! First comments are most encouraging. If you're going to Bradford Industrial Museum to see it, be sure to take your camera so you and your loved ones can be pictured with the team.

Glorious 1911: France and Belgium 2011 - Fully Booked!

Our trip to visit the final resting places of the nine Bradford City players killed during the Great War is now fully booked. However, if there is sufficient interest we may be able to offer a further eleven places. Though the price for the additional places will be under £300, until we contact Eurostar we cannot give a firm quote.

If you are interested in making the trip, please contact David Pendleton as soon as possible, either by email or by dropping into the bantamspast museum before home matches. We will make a decision on the additional places after the Shrewsbury match on 26 March.

The trip departs Bradford on the morning of Thursday 2 June and returns on the early evening of Sunday 5 June.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

When the FA Cup Came Home - Setting Up

As you can see, preparations for the forthcoming exhibition at Bradford Industrial Museum are coming together well. When the FA Cup Came Home is open from Saturday, with a special viewing on Thursday 7 April (more on that to come). It's going to be good!

Saturday 5 March 2011

Glorious 1911 - Visit to France & Belgium 2011

If Glorious 1911 was Bradford's finest hour, then the years 1914-18 were the bleakest the city has ever faced. The fate of Bradford City's FA Cup winning captain Jimmy Speirs perhaps epitomises the era. In 1911 he held the glittering FA Cup aloft to the cheers of 100,000 people packed onto the streets of Bradford; six years later he lay dying in a muddy shell hole.

As we celebrate the centenary of Bradford City's greatest triumph we will also remember the nine Bradford City players who lost their lives in the Great War. As we have seen among that number was the captain and goalscorer in the 1911 FA Cup final, Jimmy Speirs. Also killed was the man-of-the-match of the FA Cup final Robert Torrance. Sadly, Torrance has no known grave and is thus commemorated among the 36,000 names on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing near Ypres, Belgium. Others with no known final resting place include City's England internationals Jimmy Conlin and Evelyn Lintott.

Bradford City fans will have an opportunity to visit the last resting places of the nine players during a trip to France and Belgium in June. As well as the nine players the visit will also take in Serre where the Bradford Pals attacked on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and the grave of Bradford Park Avenue's Donald Bell - the only professional footballer to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

The trip will take place between Thursday 2 June and Sunday 5 June 2011. People can book an early bird price of £270 if they pay before April. It includes all travel to and two nights accommodation in Lille and one night in Arras (including breakfast). The trip is strictly limited to twenty places and will be sold on a first come first served basis. To register interest please contact David Pendleton by email or drop into the bantamspast museum at Valley Parade prior to home games.

Friday 4 March 2011

Working on the FA Cup Came Home Exhibition

Things are really hotting up at Bradford Industrial Museum in readiness for the exhibition about Bradford City’s FA Cup triumph 100 years ago. On Tuesday we went across to Preston, to the National Football Museum (currently in the process of moving to Manchester) to collect a splendid Newcastle United shirt from the game.
Having been loaned the pristine City shirt of centre forward Frank O’Rourke, we now have an example from each team. How splendid they look!

Sunday 27 February 2011

Sad News

This week has brought the sad news of the deaths of former City players Norman Corner and Dean Richards. Whilst both are to be regretted, the death of Dean Richards is particularly shocking given his young age. Deano was a cultured defender who moved from his humble Rhodesway roots to the very top of the English game. A great talent and a modest man as well. He had been coaching back at Valley Parade prior to his illness. On the day his death was announced three of his former clubs: City, Wolves and Southampton all won (Spurs had no game). Minutes before City's dramatic winner a rainbow appeared over Valley Parade. Perhaps it was Deano smiling down on us one last time? Our thoughts and hearts go out to the families of Norman and Dean.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Bradford City FA Cup Winners 1911 Centenary Celebration Dinner

26 April 2011


Midland Hotel, Bradford

On the evening of 26 April 1911 Bradford City’s FA Cup winning team arrived back in the city following their 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in a replayed FA Cup Final at Old Trafford, Manchester. The scenes which greeted their arrival in Bradford were unprecedented. An estimated 100,000 people were on the streets to welcome their heroes; an incredible third of the entire population of the city.

The team arrived at Bradford Exchange station. Two horse-drawn charabancs took the players across the city centre to the Midland Hotel where they were to celebrate their famous victory. Sat alongside the driver of the first charabanc was Bradford City’s captain, and goalscorer in the FA Cup final Jimmy Speirs. On his lap was the brand new Bradford designed FA Cup. In an astonishing coincidence 1911 was the first year the current FA Cup was used. It had been designed by the Bradford jewellers Fattorini’s. Thanks to a first half header by Jimmy Speirs the FA Cup made a rapid return to the city of its birth.

Speirs held the cup aloft to deafening cheers as the charabancs crawled through the packed streets. Down Bridge Street, around Town Hall Square and along Market Street should have taken only a matter of minutes – the journey took over three quarters of an hour. When the players arrived in the sanctuary of the Midland Hotel, a mass of humanity crammed themselves into the streets outside the hotel. Speirs appeared at an upper window of the hotel to give the crowds a final glimpse of the silver trophy. Speirs must have looked down on a sea of cheering faces. What a moment it must have been. Without doubt the biggest celebration in the city of Bradford’s history.

Exactly one hundred years since those momentous events the FA Cup itself will return to Bradford will be in pride of place during a centenary celebration dinner which will take place at the Midland Hotel. One hundred years to the very hour when Speirs and his players arrived at the Midland Hotel in triumph diners will be raising a glass to their remarkable triumph. During the three course meal speeches made on that unforgettable night will be recreated and a brass band will play tunes from the Edwardian era. The Saltaire Brewery is producing a batch of Glorious 1911 vintage ale based on the same recipe that was drunk by the players in 1911. The real ale will be on sale in the Midland’s bar during the course of the evening.

 The event has been organised by the bantamspast team at Valley Parade comprising Dave Pendleton, John Dewhirst and John Ashton. During the last year there has been fund raising through the sale of enamel badges and a cheque for £5000 will be formally presented to Professor David Sharpe and his staff from the Burns Unit. 

On the night diners will have the opportunity to purchase a number of limited edition collectibles which are being produced to commemorate the evening including a programme, rosette and enamel badges with proceeds donated to the Bradford Burns Unit. Copies of David Pendleton’s book Glorious 1911 will be on sale and the author will be on hand to sign copies. Directors of Bradford City AFC have been invited and several former players have promised to attend.

The evening is close to being a sell out but a few tickets are still available. They are £25 a head and can be ordered by sending a cheque payable to:


PO BOX 307


BD18 9BT

Further details, email and/or from the websites or

Details also available from the bantamspast team in bantamspast museum above the club shop before kick off on match days.

Dress: jacket and tie for gentlemen, dress for ladies.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Glorious 1911 - Visit to France and Belgium 2011 - Itinerary Update

Days after we announced the itinerary for our trip to visit the war graves of the nine City players killed in the Great War, slight changes have been made to the summer rail timetables. Unfortunately, due to required connection times at London we have had to slightly recast our travel plans. The new times are as follows:

Thursday 2 June

Depart Bradford Interchange 1022
Arrive King’s Cross 1345

Depart St Pancras 1434
Arrive Lille 1658

The only significant change is that our arrival time back into Bradford on Sunday 5 June is 1850. Apologies for the alterations which are beyond our control.

Friday 4 February 2011

Glorious 1911 - Visit to France and Belgium 2011 - Itinerary

Our itinerary for the bantamspast trip to visit the war graves of the nine Bradford City players killed during the Great War is now in place. We are waiting to confirm hotel fees before we can announce an overall price for the trip, though it is likely to be in the £350 bracket (this includes all travel and accommodation, but not food and drink).

Places will be restricted to twenty people to make the trip manageable and will be on a strict first-come-first-served basis. Places will only be confirmed once a deposit has been paid. We will shortly announce the amount of the deposit required and how you can contact us. The deposit will be non-refundable; this because we have to pay a non-refundable deposit to the various companies. Please keep watching for updates as we hope to announce a price early next week.

Thursday 2 June

Dep Bradford Interchange 3.22pm
Arr London King’s Cross 6.44pm

Dep London St Pancras 7.34pm
Arr Lillie Europe 10.04pm

Night in Lille

Friday 2 June

Coach: Arras (Harry Potter), Etaples (Ernest Goodwin), Villers-Guislain (George Draycott), Theipval (Evelyn Lintott).

Night in Albert

Saturday 3 June

Coach: Neiuwpoort (Jimmy Conlin), Poperinge (Gerald Kirk), Tyne Cot (Robert Torrance), Dochy Farm (Jimmy Speirs), Ypres (James Comrie).

Night in Lille

Sunday 4 June

Dep Lille Europe 12.56pm
Arr London St Pancras 2.31pm

Dep London King’s Cross 3.57pm
Arr Bradford Interchange 7.09pm

Wednesday 12 January 2011

When the FA Cup Came Home

There are just 66 days until the opening of the exhibition When the FA Cup Came Home.
This will be the undoubted highlight of our celebrations marking one hundred years since Bradford City won the FA Cup. You’ve seen the film, read the book and now it will not be long before you can visit the exhibition. On display will be several FA Cup winners’ medals, shirts from the era as well as a host of other memorabilia never seen before.
In preparation for the exhibition several exhibits, including the FA Cup Final ball, have been moved from the bantamspast museum at Valley Parade to Bradford Industrial Museum. As a result it will remain in a state of flux until the end of the season. However, 90% of our items remain on display and we hope that our regular visitors will bear with us until next season when the entire bantamspast museum will receive a much needed facelift.
The exhibition When the FA Cup Came Home is being hosted by our good friends at Bradford Industrial Museum in Eccleshill. The scale and cost of staging the exhibition meant that we could not hold it at bantamspast. However, many of the displays will move to Valley Parade in time for the 2011/12 season.

When the FA Cup Came Home
Saturday 19 March 2011 to Sunday 12 June 2011
Admission free
Bradford Industrial Museum

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Albert Shepherd and What Might Have Been

In the summer of 1914 Bradford City spent heavily on a forward line to compliment a defence that was widely recognised as being the best in the Football League. It should have been the start of a new exciting era. However, the outbreak of the Great War ruined any chance of the club firmly establishing itself among the elite of the game. Had the war not come City would have probably added to their FA Cup triumph of 1911 and pushed for the league title that had eluded them on several occasions.

One of the forwards signed was Albert Shepherd from Newcastle United. By December 1914 he was beginning to form a formidable partnership with Oscar Fox. In that month Shepherd scored seven times in four games. These goals included a hat-trick against West Brom on 19 December. Sadly, only 5,300 saw the game; the war was frustrating City’s well-laid plans.

The 1914/15 season was Albert Shepherd’s only campaign for the Bantams. He scored 12 goals in just 26 appearances. He retired during the Great War. One can only wonder as to what might have been.

Happy New Year!

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