Monday 19 November 2012

Arsenal - A Long View

As Bradford eagerly awaits the visit of Arsenal for the League Cup quarter-final tie, we look back to the Gunners first ever visit to Valley Parade in 1904. This snippet is taken from David Pendleton’s book Paraders, the 125 year history of Valley Parade, which is available from Waterstones in the city centre.

When high-flying Woolwich Arsenal visited Valley Parade on 13 February 1904 a double row of wagons was placed on the plateau at the top of the Manningham End to allow more supporters to see the game. Woolwich Arsenal had selected the trip to Valley Parade for their annual club holiday. Three special trains, provided by the Midland Railway, conveyed the two thousand, five hundred trippers from London. Bradford City had specifically requested that Woolwich Arsenal use the Midland due to the close relationship between the railway company and the football club – mainly due to the fact that Bradford City were the Midland’s tenants at Valley Parade.

The first train arrived in Bradford at 6am on the morning of the match. The visitors were recommended to see the district by tramcar, with the Saltaire and Queensbury routes being specially mentioned. Drummond’s, Shaw’s and Salts Mills all offered tours for the trippers. Unfortunately, ceaseless rain ruined the spectacle. The Woolwich Arsenal captain, on winning the toss, joked that he would ‘play with the tide’. With Bradford City leading 1-0 at half-time the match had to be abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch. As the first train was not due to depart for London until 11.15pm the trippers enjoyed the local theatres and public houses.

The Arsenal supporters proved to be popular visitors and a large crowd of their Bradford City counterparts were on the Midland Station to see the trains off. Some evidently enjoyed their trip to Bradford rather too much as several Arsenal supporters were reportedly seen wandering around Lister Park on the Sunday morning.

Saturday 10 November 2012

We Remember

This year Remembrance Sunday falls on 11 November: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when the guns finally fell silent in 1918 and on the Great War. Whilst we take a few moments to think of those who fought and died in conflicts around the world, here at bantamspast we particularly remember former players and supporters of Bradford City.

Of the players, in the Great War the club lost: Jimmy Speirs, Robert Torrance, Evelyn Lintott, Ernest Goodwin, George Draycott, Gerald Kirk, Jimmy Conlin, James Comrie and Harry Potter. In the Second World War we lost Alfred Keeling and guest players Sidney Pugh and Ernest Tuckett.

A roll call of the club’s supporters killed in conflicts is obviously impossible to collate. However, those who took part in this year’s trip to the Somme were particularly affected by the fate of the Bradford Pals. We visited the grave of Manningham born Arthur Greenwood, a private in the first Bradford Pals who was killed on the 1st July 1916 – the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Among his personal effects were several postcards of Bradford City teams, including those great FA Cup winners of 1911.

We will remember them.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Ivor Powell, 1916-2012

Former City player-manager Ivor Powell has died aged 96. A Welsh international midfield player, Ivor came to Valley Parade initially during the Second World War as a guest player when he was serving with the RAF as a physical trainer.

He returned to play and manage City between 1952-54. He made 83 appearances scoring 9 goals. Ivor also played for QPR, Aston Villa, Port Vale and Barry Town. He managed Port Vale, Bradford City, Carlisle United, Bath and PAOK. Born on 5 July 1916 he was given the middle name Verdun to honour the huge battle being fought at the town between the French and the Germans in the Great War. In his later life Ivor was awarded an MBE by the Queen. We remember the life of Ivor Powell 5 July 1916-6 November 2012.
In the image above, Ivor is on the front row, second left