Book Review – Wool City Rivals: A History in Colour by George Chilvers & John Dewhirst

Wool City Rivals: A History in Colour, is the seventh book from bantamspast, who as a publisher continue to create, “a collection of complementary books to provide a definitive history of Bradford soccer from the beginnings until the present day.” To date the six other titles are as follows:

Book 1: A History of Bradford City AFC in Objects by John Dewhirst (2014)

Book 2: Reinventing Bradford City: The Extraordinary Story of Bradford City’s Modern History, 1985-2016 by Jason McKeown (2016)

Book 3: Room at the Top – The Origins of Professional Football in Bradford and the Rivalry of Bradford FC and Manningham FC by John Dewhirst (2016)

Book 4: Life at the Top – The Rivalry of Manningham FC and Bradford FC and their Conversion from Rugby to Soccer by John Dewhirst (2016)

Book 5: Who We Are: Exploring the DNA of Bradford City AFC by Jason McKeown (2018)

Book 6: Late to the Game: The origins of association football in Bradford and the story of its pioneering clubs by Rob Grillo (2019)

This latest addition to the collection, Wool City Rivals: A History in Colour, is a collaboration between the driving force of bantamspast, John Dewhirst and George Chilvers, one of the leading colourisers of archive football photography.

The book is essentially made up of four chapters, which through over 170 colourised pictures chart the history of Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue, with images stretching from as far back as 1895/96 through to 1972/73. It is a history that saw the two clubs play each other in each of the top four divisions of the English game, as well as highs such as Bradford City winning the FA Cup in 1910/11, through to the lows of Bradford Park Avenue dropping out of the Football League in 1969/70 after not being re-elected.

Besides the main four chapters, Chilvers provides a useful and interesting introduction in the book about colourisation and the process used on the old black and white images.  His meticulous work brings to life the pictures of ‘derby’ games past between the Bradford clubs, as well as so many other fixtures, team line-ups and crowd scenes, with Dewhirst providing his usual informative and well researched knowledge to the accompanying text.

Whilst the changing fortunes of the rivals is clearly the central premise of the book, the images also tell the story of so much more, in terms of social history through the period covered, as fashions changed, and the country emerged through the two World Wars.

Indeed, readers will want to revisit the book time and again as they notice different things in the background of the images, and marvel at a game from a very different era which like the Park Avenue ground is lost forever but is thankfully captured in this wonderfully atmospheric book.


(bantamspast. November 2020. Paperback 304 pages)


To purchase this book or get more information about bantamspast and their back catalogue click here

Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT

Book Review: The Wessie – A History of the West Riding Senior Football Association Cup by Martin Jarred

The FA Cup is recognised as the oldest cup competition in the World with it first being played during 1871/72, when Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0 at the Oval in London. It predated the first Football League Championship in England by seventeen years, when Preston North End took the title.

The point of this brief timeline of English football? Well, simply that cup football came into being before the organisation of league football and perhaps was partly responsible for the special place the FA Cup competition once held within this country. Additionally, it is useful for understanding where the early power of the game was, with The FA coming into existence in 1863, and a number of County FA’s also being founded, for instance, the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA (1867), Lancashire County FA (1878) and Cumberland FA (1884), before the Football League in 1888.

The West Yorkshire Association came into existence in 1896, due in part to the fact that this part of the country was dominated by the game of rugby. The fledgling organisation launched the West Yorkshire Cup in 1896/97 with Hunslet the winners in the four team competition, which included Bradford, Halifax, and Leeds.

The title of the book, The Wessie, takes its point of reference for the term for people living in the West Riding by those living in other parts of the Broad Acres of Yorkshire. What is immediately evident, is that this has been a real labour of love for its author, Martin Jarred, who came through Prostate Cancer to complete the book, from which half of the author’s royalties go towards Yorkshire Against Cancer in appreciation of the care and treatment he received.

In terms of contents, the book charts the history of the Senior Cup, which in its various guises was played for between 1896 until 1999, details of the County Cup from 2007 to 2019 (when the Senior Cup was presented to the County Cup winners) and a brief overview of key figures in the history of the West Riding County FA.

The amount of research that has gone into this book is staggering, with team-line ups, scorers, attendances, and venues, dating back to that first year of the cup back in 1896/97. It is a book that you will pick-up and put-down and learn something different every time. This includes the early influence of rugby with a number of the grounds used in the early years of the competition, such as Fartown (Huddersfield), Crown Flatt (Dewsbury) and Wheldon Road (Castleford), locations familiar to fans of the thirteen-a-side code. Other points of interest include seeing how players who became household names started off their careers in the Senior Cup such as John Charles, David Seaman, and many of the 60s and 70s renowned Leeds United teams.

The journey through the book is also a journey through the history and development of the game, with clubs going out of existence, in Leeds City and the original Bradford Park Avenue, and the introduction of innovations such as floodlights and substitutes.

However, the most significant factor is that this book is a record of a competition that is unlikely ever to be revived. If the FA Cup is treated with such distain these days, what chances do the County competitions have? The Wessie details how the Senior Cup in West Riding slowly but surely became nothing more than a nuisance in the football calendar, with the senior teams increasingly using it as a chance to blood youngsters or indeed decline to take part altogether and as a result crowds simply did not turn out to see what became games between teams of reserves. The wonderful Fratelli made trophy though at least does still live on, now presented to the County Cup winners, but the irony being that even some of those clubs taking part in recent years (from the National League, Northern Premier League, Northern Counties East League and North West Counties League), use the competition to play their reserves or Academy players and so means that there is little interest from spectators and certainly no financial reward. Will history repeat itself and see another competition consigned to the pages of history?

(Tony Brown. December 2019). Paperback 132pp)


Book Review: Breaking Ground: Art, Archaeology & Mythology (edited by Neville Gabie, Alan Ward & Jason Wood.

Definition: Breaking (new) Ground

 – the first excavation of a site in a project or

 – an initiative that is new and ground breaking

In all honesty this outstanding publication, shortlisted for the 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, couldn’t be more aptly titled, not only in terms of its content, but the way it was funded and its collaborative approach.

At the heart of this beautifully constructed book, both in terms of words and images, is the story of an abandoned football ground, reclaimed by nature and the remarkable work to carry out an archaeological dig on the site of Bradford Park Avenue’s former home. The results of an initial excavation in November 2013 and another two years later are recorded in the book and accompanying DVD.

In the pages of the book and through the video footage the reader is treated to essays and images that tell the story of not only what the dig produced, but of the people who once stood on the now wooded terraces of the Horton Park End and the demise of the once proud Football League club.

It is a publication that wonderfully brings together art, whether that be in the form of football memorabilia or the skillfully drawn sketches of the trees and shrubs that now stand amongst the terraces, the scientific analysis and painstaking work involved in archaeology and the mythology and folklore of the Bradford Park Avenue club and its supporters.

In addition, it has a wonderfully ethereal feel, with the terraces last occupied over 40 years ago, briefly exposed and fleetingly stood upon as the fans of the club today looked out one last time reliving their memories of Park Avenue.

It is in no sense a run-of-the-mill football story; indeed, it is a book that will be picked up and put down as the pages are revisited time and time again. Quite simply it is a unique addition to the William Hill Sports Book competition and really is a contender to take the top prize which is announced on Tuesday 28 November.

The book is available through selected bookshops or directly from AXIS PROJECTS on-line:

Book Review: A History of Bradford City AFC in Objects: The Definitive Record of Memorabilia from a Hundred Seasons of League Football, 1903-2014 by John Dewhirst

Imagine visiting an exhibition that told the story of your football club through a myriad of ephemera, memorabilia and club relics; room upon room of programmes, badges and medals, oozing with the history and tradition of the team you support.

Think about capturing all this in a book, so that you were able to pick it up at any time and look back upon the fantastic collection.

Too fanciful an idea?

Well, over 344 pages of beautifully glossy colour pages, John Dewhirst, a Bradford City supporter of more than forty years, has detailed the story of The Bantams from 1903 to 2014, through the presentation of over 1,050 objects.

Besides memorabilia from the 1911 FA Cup Final, the 1985 Valley Parade fire, the 1996 Play-Off Final, the Premier League years, the 2013 Capital Cup Final and the 2013 Play-Off Final, there are programmes and pennants, badges and books, magazines and music, ties and tickets, scarves and shirts, fanzines and fixture cards, handbooks and hats, covering the ‘highs and lows’ of the club.

However, to think that this book is simply a collection of images of Bradford City AFC (BCAFC) related objects would be wrong. The wonderful pictures are supported by over 67,000 words, which whilst exploring the detail behind many of the items, also seek to inform the reader.

For instance, there is a significant chapter on the history of the BCAFC supporter organisations who down the years have worked to ensure the club survived. There are also little nuggets, such as the short, but nonetheless pointed piece, about the fact that if you talking about the team from Valley Parade, they should always by referred to as City, whereas if you talk about Bradford, then that is the Park Avenue club.

This book though is also a very personal story in that the memorabilia is based extensively on the collection of the author and indeed Dewhirst is not afraid to express his opinion, whether that be about the club from Elland Road, his ‘soft spot’ for Workington or the future of collectables.

Dewhirst himself is also part of the BCAFC history as an editor of the fanzine, The City Gent and through his day job as an accountant.  In 2003 the author “experienced a collision of…personal and professional life” as he was, “formally engaged by BCAFC to assist with the preparation of a financial forecast”. This led later in 2004 to Dewhirst preparing a review for the Professional Footballers’ Association as to whether they should lend money to cover the players’ wages at BCAFC. As the author says, “it was the ultimate moral dilemma that caused much agonising.”

Does this book have a wider appeal than supporters of BCAFC? The answer has to be ‘yes’, in that the relationship with Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC is explored (and will be detailed further in the book Wool City Rivals by Dewhirst, available in late 2015), as well as touching on other sports in the city, such as rugby league and speedway. It should also have an appeal to fans of other clubs who have crossed swords with The Bantams down the years.

In addition, those who live in Bradford will be able to glean some measure of the social history of their city from the words and images of this book and it is an excellent study for anybody interested in sporting memorabilia.

With the world and indeed football now dominated by the internet in terms of the range and immediacy of information and images available, A History of Bradford City AFC in Objects will come to have even more significance in time and provide the reader with a lasting reminder of a different era through an incredible collection.

Quite simply – every club should have a book like this.


For further information about the history of BCAFC visit


Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT

2011/12: FA Cup 1st Round – Sheffield United v Oxford United

Friday 11 November 2011 (10.30 am)

With the (Budweiser) FA Cup 1st Round fixtures this weekend, the competition moves into its second phase. The six Qualifying Rounds, played every two weeks since 20th August this year and the domain of the non league clubs, now gives way to what is referred to by some as the FA Cup “proper” with the professionals coming to the table. However, for me it is a term which is ill used and can be seen as a slight to the clubs who have battled to this stage of the Cup. In all the games I have witnessed this season in the tournament, there is certainly no less desire, determination and excitement both from players or fans at being involved in the Qualifying part of the Cup than will be seen in the later Rounds. It would be churlish not to recognise too what a Cup run can achieve on a financial basis for a club, non-league or otherwise.

Tonight, battling for the right to be in the 2nd Round draw is a top of the table clash from the Blue Square Bet (BSB) Premier between former League rivals, Cambridge United and Wrexham. Wrexham currently lead the table on 40 points with Cambridge 4 points behind in third place. Despite the success on the pitch, behind the scenes Wrexham are still trying to secure its future. Fingers crossed that the Wrexham Supporters Trust are able to ensure football continues at this historic club in North Wales. These team met on the opening day of the season at the Racecourse Ground. Wrexham looked like they had done enough to claim victory with a goal on 17 minutes from (current caretaker player-manager) Andy Morrell. However, in injury time, Conal Platt’s goal grabbed a point for United.

In the Fourth Qualifying Round, both teams faced fellow BSB Premier opposition. Cambridge faced struggling Hayes & Yeading away, but came through comfortably  6-2. Wrexham were handed a much tougher challenge at home to high flying York City.  Wrexham went ahead early in the second half with a header from Nat Knight-Percival, but the lead was quickly wiped out as a Patrick McLaughlin free-kick brought York level. With the game entering the final ten minutes, the Racecourse faithful saw their team take the lead once more, as a David McGurk own goal handed a 2-1 win to Wrexham. It could be another tight encounter tonight.


Friday 11 November 2011 (10.15 pm)

Just as the fixture in the League proved to be a close one, so did the FA Cup meeting between Cambridge United and Wrexham. In a game of ‘cat and mouse’, Wrexham were twice ahead through Andy Morell, but were pegged back each time with a brace from United’s Josh Coulson. As in the League opening day meeting between these teams, Wrexham must have thought they had done enough to win, but conceded an equaliser (as they did back in August) to Cambridge in injury time.

Bring on the rest of the fixtures and all the stories that will unfold. The Cup weekend is underway!


Saturday 12 November 2011 (11.00 am)

The destination today is Bramall Lane, for the game between Sheffield United and Oxford United. The attraction? Well to be honest, there are a few. Firstly, I have a soft spot for The Blades, since on the day I was born, Fulham (my beloved Whites) played against Sheffield United in a First Division fixture at Bramall Lane. As such I feel I have a connection with the place. Secondly, it is one of my favourite grounds. It is a compact and atmospheric venue with a vocal home support. Thirdly, in practical terms it is easy to get to by train and lastly, the tickets are excellent value at just a tenner today.

There is also a good link today between the clubs, which adds a bit of spice to the fixture today, as current Oxford manager Chris Wilder is a boyhood Sheffield United fan and he also made over 100 appearances for The Blades in two spells at Bramall Lane. Also returning to the club he supported growing up, is Oxford goalkeeping coach Alan Hodgkinson who spent his entire professional career with Sheffield United, making 675 appearances.

Neither team has had a great November to date. In their League One fixture, The Blades lost at Stevenage last Saturday, with a penalty in the last ten minutes sealing a 2-1 win for the team from the Lamex Stadium. In midweek, it was a Yorkshire Derby at Bramall Lane in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Bradford City. Matt Phillips put United ahead on 27 minutes, but back came The Bantams to equalise before half-time through Michael Flynn. The score remained at 1-1 and so it was left to penalties to decide the tie. With penalties at 4-4 it went to Sudden-death where after Erik Tonne’s miss, Chris Mitchell sent Bradford City through 6-5. For Oxford United, November has seen them play Southend United twice in the last week.  In their League Two fixture at Roots Hall last Saturday, the home side Southend emerged 2-1 winners. In midweek, at home in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Oxford had the chance to avenge that defeat, but in a game where United ended with nine men, a goal from Ryan Hall condemned Oxford to a second successive defeat to The Shrimpers. Two sides possibly low on confidence, but which United will emerge victorious today?


Saturday 12 November 2011 (11.00 pm)

As the players merged for their pre-match warm-ups they were greeted by a crisp day under a blue sky and fading weak November sun. Both teams went through their routines and the travelling Oxford fans made their presence felt in noisy anticipation of the game ahead. With both sides leaving the pitch as they completed their preparations, Oxford goalkeeping coach and ex-Blade Alan Hodgkinson received an excellent reception from the Bramall Lane faithful. Soon however, the teams emerged once again and after a well observed minutes silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday, the game was underway.

The first ten minutes disappeared in a frantic and scrappy opening with neither side creating a goal opportunity. However, with their first real attack, Sheffield United took the lead on 12 minutes. Richard Cresswell’s attempted over-head kick from Stephen Quinn’s cross fell to Ched Evan, who slammed it in to give The Blades the lead. The goal settled Sheffield and they took control of the remainder of the first half, with Oxford conceding the midfield area, The Blades took full advantage. Ryan Clarke in the Oxford goal made good saves from Ched Evans, Stephen Quinn and Lee Williamson in the opening 45 minutes, but was helpless on 19 minutes when Ched Evans arrowed in his second from a free kick. The home team led 2-0 at half-time and deserved their two goal advantage.

Oxford had to show more commitment in the second half and in at attempt to stir his side into action, manager Chris Wilder made a double substitution, with James Constable and Harry Worley replacing Paul McLaren and Jonathan Franks. It had a desired impact as Oxford did threaten the home goal. However, for all their ‘huff and puff’, the visitors were unable to create a real clear cut chance. The Blades continued to create opportunities and Evans was denied a hat-trick as Clarke continued with his heroics in the Oxford goal. However, the Oxford custodian must take some of the blame for the Sheffield goal on 71 minutes. Clarke came a long way off his line and failed to deal with the cross into the box and in the scramble, substitute Ryan Flynn drove home for The Blades third goal. The game was well and truly over and the last quarter of the game fizzled out as the Red and White half of Sheffield progressed into the draw for the FA Cup 2nd Round.

Credit to the Oxford United fans, they supported their side to the end and the club is now left to focus on promotion from League Two. It was a shame that despite the reduced ticket prices, less than 8,000 were at the game today. Personally I think it would have made for a better atmosphere if the Kop had been opened today rather than the Family Stand, as the home fans were on the whole pretty quiet and drowned out by the 2,000 plus travelling fans. However, the club obviously knew it would be a low crowd today and acted accordingly in making a financial decision to only open certain sections of the ground. A sad fact of modern day football that even the magic of the oldest Cup competition in the world can’t overcome.


Sunday 13 November 2011 (3.00 pm)

So what of the other “trail” sides from my FA Cup adventure this season? Well to paraphrase Bjørge Lillelien, my teams took a hell of a beating!

Blue Square Bet Premier side AFC Telford United got a 4-0 thumping at Chelmsford City from the Blue Square Bet South. The Clarets were 2-0 at half-time with goals from Aiden Palmer and Craig Parker. In the second half, City captain David Rainford completed the rout with a brace to send the team from Essex through.

After two impressive away wins at Hyde and Kidsgrove in the previous Rounds of the Cup, Bradford Park Avenue travelled to AFC Totton with confidence. However, the team from West Yorkshire simply imploded against their opponents from the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division. Richard Marshall was sent off for Avenue after 10 minutes and after 28 minutes of the game his team were losing 2-0. To their credit Bradford got one back through Adam Clayton on 30 minutes. However, any chance of a comeback was short-lived, as Michael Charles restored Totton’s two goal lead before half-time. The second half became simply calamitous for Avenue as Mike Gosney (51 minutes) and Stefan Brown (63 minutes) increased the score to 5-1. Avenue then were reduced to nine-men on 65 minutes when Martin Drury received a second yellow card. Stefan Brown completed his hat-trick with goals on 73 and 79 minutes and the 8-1 thrashing was completed in injury time by a second goal from Jonathon Davies.

FC Halifax Town featured as one of the televised games today against League One leaders Charlton Athletic and in truth didn’t deserve the 4-0 beating they got. Matty Taylor with a towering header put the Londoners’ ahead just five minutes before half-time. Nevertheless, Town were still in the game as the last ten minutes approached, however, a three goal burst from Jackson, Hollands and Pritchard, killed off Halifax and rather flattered Charlton.

Following the 2nd Round draw, the “trail” teams fixtures look like this:

 AFC Totton               v          Bristol Rovers

Charlton Athletic   v          Carlisle United

Chelmsford City     v          Macclesfield Town

Sheffield United      v          Torquay United


Sunday 13 November 2011 (5.30 pm)

The closing action of this Cup weekend was provided by Morecambe at home to Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls dominated the first half  and led 1-0 after the first 45 minutes, thanks to a goal from Chris Lines on 17 minutes. Morecambe went further behind on 52 minutes when Chris O’Grady headed in a second for Wednesday. However, the home team got back into the game just ten minutes later, when Laurence Wilson scored from the spot to bring the score to 2-1. Morecambe battled hard, but couldn’t force a second goal and so Wednesday progress to the 2nd Round for a home tie with the winners of the Maidenhead United/Aldershot replay.

2011/12: FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

Saturday 29 October 2011 (10.30 am)

Circumstances mean that I’m not able to get to a game in the 4th (and last) Qualifying Round of the FA Cup today. What I hope is that I will get to one of the replays, so that my Cup adventure can continue. Consequently as I write I’m left pondering how the teams featured in my Cup journey (to date) will get on later this afternoon.

After their giant-killing victory at Hyde in the last round, Bradford Park Avenue, find themselves drawn away again and travel to Evo-Stik NPL Division One South, Kidsgrove Athletic. Whilst Avenue were being dumped out of the FA Trophy in midweek, Athletic secured a morale boosting 2-1 League win over Sutton Coldfield Town. Despite this, Bradford will fancy their chances against lower league opposition and I’m going for Avenue to advance after a replay.

FC Halifax Town are on their travels again for the 4th Qualifying Round and find themselves away at fellow Blue Square Bet (BSB) North side, Solihull Moors. Moors have been struggling at the wrong end of the table, but gained a morale boasting away win at Nuneaton last Saturday and followed it up with a midweek win over Gloucester. The Shaymen sit half way in the league in what has been a topsy-turvey season to date. The midweek win against Hyde was an excellent one, but Halifax have not been able to put together any kind of unbeaten run this year. On that basis, I’m going with Solihull to win this one in a close game.

Frickley Athletic’s conquerors, Gainsborough Trinity have an away trip to Blue Square Bet Premier side AFC Telford United. Trinity are going well in the BSB North as demonstrated by their midweek 6-1 demolition of Eastwood Town. With Telford at the wrong end of the table, I’m going for Trinity to come through after a replay. 


Sunday 30 October 2011 (11.30 am)

So should I give up the day job and turn to predicting scores for a living? First up Bradford Park Avenue. Yesterday, I said I fancied Avenue to go through after a replay. As it turned out, a brace from substitute Jimmy Beadle ensured that the Yorkshire side beat Kidsgrove at the first time of asking.

Secondly Halifax at Solihull. I predicted a close game with Moors to go through. The final score was indeed close, but the 1-0 win went to the Shaymen, through Danny Holland. Halifax could have won it by a larger margin, as they missed two penalties at Damson Park.

Finally I went for Gainsborough Trinity to come through after a replay. A complete disaster of a tip, as their opponents AFC Telford United swept to a 5-0 victory with goals from Pitt (9 & 64 mins), Killock (42 mins)and Sharp (52 & 71 mins).

Congratulations to all those teams who made it through to the FA Cup 1st Round draw today. Commiserations to those teams that I predicted to get through, but didn’t. Bookmakers can rest easy in their beds!

2011/12: FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round – Hyde v Bradford Park Avenue

Another weekend in October, more blue sky and another round of the FA Cup. For the first time in this seasons Cup adventure I’m leaving the confines of Yorkshire and am heading over The Pennines to Hyde FC. There is still a Yorkshire connection as Bradford Park Avenue are the visitors to Ewen Fields for this 3rd Qualifying Round tie.

Hyde currently sit top of the Blue Square Bet North Division having made an unbeaten ten game start to their League campaign. However, coming into this fixture, The Tigers have had a mixed bag of results in their last four games. In the Cheshire Senior Cup (Preliminary Round), Hyde lost 2-0 to Chester and drawn League fixtures against Eastwood Town and Nuneaton Town. In fact The Tigers only victory came in the last round of the FA Cup against Northern Counties East League side Staveley Miners Welfare.

Avenue whilst not boasting the unbeaten League start of Hyde, have had a good start to their League campaign and before kick-off sat in 5th postion in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League. Bradford came into the FA Cup at the 1st Qualifying Round stage and demolished Harrogate Railway Athletic 8-0. Avenue were drawn at home again in the 2nd Qualifying Round, winning 3-1 against Warrington Town.

Given Hyde’s League form, a home draw and their higher position in the football pyramid than Bradford, The Tigers are favourites to progress today.

As a train traveller, Ewen Fields is an easy ground to get to. For me it was a train across from Leeds to Manchester Piccadilly and then a local service out to Newton for Hyde. The ground is then a comfortable 10 minutes walk away. It is a stadium that has undergone change in recent years. In July 2010 Manchester City through their City in the Community (CITC) scheme became the club shirt sponsor and gave the ground a make-over. In simple terms, what was once red is now blue. This season Ewen Fields hosts the Manchester City Under 19’s team, who are taking part in the NextGen Series, a European wide competition which includes sides such as Ajax, Barcelona, Celtic, Inter Milan and Marseille.

The influence of Manchester City is certainly evident as you enter the ground, since the City crest is side by side with that of Hyde around various parts of the stadium. This ‘branding’ is extended to the advertising within the ground, as the roofs of the various stands are adorned with the logos of Manchester City’s sponsors and partners. Even the perimeter advertising is in the matching blue combination of the stands and again only carries details of the City’s sponsorship deals. For me whilst the ground is all very tidy, it is a bit clinical. Even the wonderful gables of the seated area and pyramid style floodlights seem swallowed in the corporate conversion that City put in place.

However, today isn’t about Manchester City, it is about Hyde and Bradford Park Avenue and their quest to continue their FA Cup journey. Avenue have brought a good following and the ‘Green Army’ is in full voice as the game kicks off. The opening ten minutes is played at a bit of a frantic pace with neither side settling and too often possession is easily given away. However, the game does settle down with the visitors more than holding their own. Much of the action is centred in midfield and clear cut chances are few and far between in the first half. Indeed Avenue have the best opportunity just before the break when Richard Marshall finds himself in on goal, but fires weakly at the keeper. Tiger’s manager Gary Lowe looks an agitated and frustrated figure during the opening half, and I’m sure he reads his team the riot act at half time.

Indeed, Hyde come out much more positive in the second half and leading scorer Scott Spencer threatens to add to his tally for the season on a couple of occasions. However, the tide turns fifteen minutes into the second half when Chris Worsley is sent off for a second bookable offence. Bradford grab the initiative and create a number of decent chances. The best of these falls to Avenue substitute Billy Law who finds himself one and one with home keeper David Carnell. The youngster rounds Carnell but his weak shot is cleared off the line by Adam Griffin. That looks to be it and a replay looms, when in the dying minutes, Carnell can only parry Law’s shot and Tom Greaves gleefully slams in the winner. There is no way back for the home team and at the final whistle, the visitors, players and fans, celebrate a genuine Cup upset.

For Bradford, the Cup draw awaits on Monday. As for Hyde, their recent stutter continues, but as the football cliché goes, they can now ‘concentrate on the League’.

Postscript: FC Halifax Town had a comfortable 3-0 win at the Giant Axe against Lancaster City with goals from Renshaw (3 mins), Garner (33 mins) and Gregory (85 mins). However, the victory was marred by crowd trouble which meant the game was held up for 25 minutes until order was restored. Frickley Athletic’s Cup run came to an end at Gainsborough Trinity, with two goals in a ten minute spell in the second half ensuring progress for Trinity.

Book Review: Glorious 1911 and Bradford City’s Golden Age 1908-1915 by David Pendleton

This labour of love from David Pendleton was written to commemorate the centenary of Bradford City’s FA Cup triumph in 1911 and compliment the exhibition, When the FA Cup Came Home, which ran at the Bradford Industrial Museum from 19 March – 12 June 2011.

The first thing to say about this publication is that this 104 page hardback book is wonderfully researched and illustrated and is a credit to all the writers involved – David Pendleton, David Markham and John Dewhirst. History can be a pretty dry subject, but the use of team pictures, match action and player portraits help to enliven the details of Bradford City’s Golden Age.

In format terms, the book flows chronologically from City’s entry to the Football League in 1903, through season by season chapters from, A First Great Escape: 1908/09 to The Beginning of the Fall: 1914/15. As the title of the book suggests the focus of this publication is the FA Cup triumph in 1911 which is dealt with in Chapter 3 – Glorious 1911: 1910/11.

There are some real gems throughout the book. The first, explains the current exhibition title (When the FA Cup Came Home), as it details how in 1910 the FA required a new design for the FA Cup trophy, as the previous cup,

“…was being retired and being presented to Lord Kinnaird in recognition of his services to the sport. The Bradford jewellers Fattorini’s submitted the winning design. However whilst the new trophy was designed in Bradford a shortage of skilled silversmiths meant the manufacturing of the trophy was sub-contracted to a Sheffield firm…”.

Secondly, there is the player profile of Richard “Dickie” Bond in the Chapter – The Cup Winners, who is described as “…one of City’s greatest, albeit most controversial, players…”. We might think that players’ misdemeanours are confined to the era of modern day players. However, Bond missed out on playing in the 1911 FA Cup Final “…following a suspension after using ‘improper language’ to the crowd at Arsenal…”. His suspension caused him to miss the Quarter and Semi-Finals and despite regaining his place in the League team he was just a travelling reserve for the Final. It wasn’t Bond’s first indiscretion at the club, as he was also. “…suspended following a ‘wild night out’ in Otley during December 1910 (with fellow players) Jimmy McDonald and Robert Campbell…”. Bond later joined the Bradford Pals in the First World War and after returned to City before transferring to Blackburn Rovers in 1922.

There is an honesty about this book which is evident in the Conclusion, as Pendleton acknowledges that Bradford City’s history has been a chequered one and he ponders what might have been if in the early days that City and rivals Park Avenue has joined forces to create one club in Bradford. The book highlights that prior to the First World War, City were a leading light in the (old) First Division and that with the 1911 FA Cup win this was indeed the clubs Golden Age.

Fellow writer David Markham wraps up the book with Postscript – More pain that glory, which summarises events at Bradford City from 1915-2011 to the point at which Peter Taylor was appointed.

This book is essentially aimed at Bradford City fans and will provide so much about the clubs early years and of course the FA Cup win. However, I do believe it has a wider appeal and not just to football fans in general, as the book provides a glimpse into Edwardian life – football and social history and the impact of the First World War. This is a celebratory book about Bradford City’s finest hour, but does so with a pride that is balanced by the history of more downs and ups over its 108 year history.

Book details

Glorious 1911 and Bradford City’s Golden Age 1908-1915

David Pendleton

Bantamsport Publication

ISBN: 9780956698407

Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT

Featured Writers – Graeme Garvey

A long time ago in a world far, far away I remember sitting in the press box at Halifax Town as my dad reported on the match. That was in the days of the old Third Division. I was born in Halifax and moved to Bradford when I was two. Watching Bradford Park Avenue in World Cup winning year, their best player by almost exactly a million miles was Kevin Hector, although I did see the classy Johnny Haynes and Allan Clarke when Avenue played Fulham in the F.A. Cup.

I moved to the famous metropolis of Drighlington in 1968 and soon began watching Leeds United. Not many stars of other sides played well against that Leeds team; apart from one magical minute when he scored two goals, George Best was almost always kept quiet by Paul Reaney. Paul Madeley had a similar damping effect on Bobbie Charlton. Jimmy Greaves, the finest goalscorer I have ever seen, scored a great opportunist goal for Spurs in their 3-1 defeat. Momentary flickers of greatness. Cryuff and Neeskens did very little in the Elland Road leg of the European Cup semi-final whilst playing for Barcelona. Perhaps surprisingly, the visiting player who impressed me most at Elland Road was the gutsy and skilful Mike Summerbee.

There have been many memorable occasions watching football so it is not easy to pick out the best.  Although I was fortunate enough to see Leeds win the Cup in 1972, I would probably rate higher the two Championship titles achieved by the Revie boys. The best team after 42 games truly is the best in the land. For me, their greatest team performance was against Tottenham in the Cup on the way to Wembley triumph.

Sadly, there is no doubt which has been my worst experience watching football. When 56 people die and another 265 are injured at a game, it truly puts everything else into context. May 11th1985, Bradford City v Lincoln City. After such an awful experience, football has never been quite the same again and has put me completely out of patience when I see fans, in close-up on the huge TV screen, weeping in inconsolable grief at not winning this trophy, narrowly losing out on that title, or even – dread the thought – being relegated. So what?

I was a member of Leeds Football Writers’ group, contributed to Leeds, Leeds, Leeds the club magazine, have appeared in Four Four Two and done a bit of radio work as well. More recently I have been contributing weekly pieces to www.clarkeonenil. Over the years I have also been involved in producing and publishing several books on football, including Fanthology (as contributor and editor), Doolally (contributor and publisher) and Black Catalogue (contributor and publisher).

2010/11: Pre-season – The Non-League Option

When I lived in London, I would regularly watch around 50 games a season. As well as watching my beloved Fulham, I spend many a Saturday at Plough Lane watching Wimbledon in the Southern League and Tooting & Mitcham in the Isthmian League. It was a chance to watch football without stress, it was cheaper and invariably had a sense of a greater belonging – a friendliness. That is not to say that the football was any less committed, that supporters were less fanatical or rivalries were less intense. I didn’t feel that I was being taken advantage of or being bombarded by advertising and merchandising. Many club officials and those working in the bars and refreshments areas were volunteers and so provided an honesty and integrity when attending the games. Two stand-out memories from those days occurred at Plough Lane and showed a career on the rise and one on the way down. In a London Senior Cup tie in 1978/79 season a 17 year old Dave Beasant played for Edgware Town against Wimbledon. He had a stormer of a game and was later signed up by the Dons on the way to a long and event filled career. A couple of years earlier, Geoff Hurst, cut a rather sad figure leading the forward line as player-manager of Telford United. Not a great memory of England’s 1966 hat-trick hero.

Since coming North I still get around the Non-League circuit and I’ll add a new ground to those visited tonight when Wakefield host a Leeds United XI. Yorkshire is blessed with a full range of clubs up and down the Non-League ladder. In the Conference Premier, York City are the flag bearers for the White Rose County, whilst a division below Guiseley and Harrogate Town look to continue their progress through the Leagues. FC Halifax Town, Bradford Park Avenue, Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, Harrogate Railway, Garforth Town, Yorkshire Amatuer – are all clubs in Yorkshire who would welcome extra spectators to their clubs. A special mention for Farsley AFC (previously Farsley Celtic) who have emerged from their troubles and start life again this season. Sky would have us believe that football doesn’t exist outside of the Premier League. Many fans know this isn’t true. The fact is football exists outside of the 92 clubs as well. If you are looking for a different experience and  when your team are away and you can’t get tickets, why not get along to a Non-League game?