State of the (Bradford City) Union – 2021

Written by Jason McKeown (images John Dewhirst)

40 years ago, Bradford City were storming their way to promotion from the old Fourth Division of English football. A swashbuckling Bantams side – led by City heroes such as Bobby Campbell, Ces Podd, Garry Watson, Peter Jackson and Joe Cooke – finished second to Sheffield United. They netted 82 goals along the way.

That goal return – and points total of 91 – have not been bettered since.

Promotion was finally sealed with a 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth – a result that ensured both clubs would go up. There were great celebrations on the pitch, as fans lapped up the accomplishments of a team that had been expertly managed by Roy McFarland. Better days appeared to lie ahead. And indeed would.

40 years later, the present Bradford City side is paying tribute to that memorable season through the predominately white shirts they sport as a home kit. It is an unfamiliar sight, in the modern era, to see the club move so far away from the usual claret and amber colours. But there is a purpose and a clear statement of intent – let’s do what the great team of 1981/82 managed, and get promoted out of League Two.

For the class of 1981/82, their connection with Bradford City Football Club was made lasting through their accomplishments of 40 years ago. Many still live in the area and reportedly attend games. Revered for what they did for the club, and never forgotten by those who were present at the time to cheer them on.

If, back then in May 1982, as those players popped open the champagne corks to celebrate climbing out of the fourth division, someone had informed them that in 40 years time the club would be right back where it was, they would probably have felt disappointed. But not surprised. The history of Bradford City is one of great struggle. Season upon season of disappointment. More times cast in the shadows than out in the light.

This is Bradford City’s 18th season languishing in the bottom two tiers of English football. That is utterly depressing, especially with the relative recent memories of the 90s rise under Geoffrey Richmond, and the fact the club dined at the top table of the Premier League at the turn of the century. But 18 years in the bottom leagues is not unique to its history. Three years after the 1981/82 triumph, City were promoted again – this time from the third tier to the second. And that brought an end to 48 years of playing in the bottom two divisions.

(Let’s just hope that particular piece of history doesn’t repeat itself identically. Otherwise we’ve got 30 more years to wait until we get back to the Championship!)

Bradford City’s long and varied history has huge implications on the modern day. The good times offer us inspiration of just what this football club can achieve, that we should strive to live up to. The bad times have left all sorts of scars – physical and mental – that hold us back and invite self-doubt. We still pay for the mistakes of the past – from the feeling of being trapped in League Two to the fact we no longer own our beloved stadium, and must pay a significant amount in rent to use it. Money that could be better spent reviving the club.

The past gives us reason to believe that present day challenges can be fixed. Sometimes, after a poor home result such as Tuesday, it can feel like we will never enjoy success again. But promotions, cup runs and sustainable progress have occurred plenty of times in our history – often after a period of darkness. The open top bus does eventually come out of the garage again.

Nevertheless, cherry-picking the best moments of the club’s history and believing that they are the normal can be dangerous too. Football is a fast-evolving sport, fiercely competitive. What brought success in the past is no guarantee of success in the future.

The white kit Bradford City sport right now is testament to that. Aspiring to replicate the achievements of 40 seasons ago is a great aim, but right now the current crop are nowhere near on track to achieving the same level of achievement. On this very week, 40 years ago, City had just won 3-2 at Stockport County. A ninth straight victory, that made it 28 points from a possible 33 at the start of the season. It put the Bantams right out in front, and set the tone for a season of such memorable success.

Just like the class of 81/82, the current crop of players can be celebrating success next May. But it will be more of a difficult slog. Downs, as well as ups. They don’t look like a team capable of winning nine games in a row (though feel very free to prove me wrong!) Still, if they succeed in winning promotion, they will make their own history.

Bradford City as a club has put a lot on the line this season. Openly stating the goal of promotion and how anything less is failure. There is an inner confidence about the club that deserves admiration. But it also opens itself up to the very real risk of them publicly falling on their faces. And of the progress that appears to have been made over the past 12 months to ultimately be framed as more disappointment. As not good enough.

It’s here the weight of history can feel the heaviest. Derek Adams has talked twice of how current struggles are an extension of the past three years of failure. And he’s right. When we lose a game, it’s not just frustrating because of the performance in the game – all the baggage of the recent past is unleashed too. We weren’t just rubbish today. We were rubbish last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. Our patience is completely exhausted.

It weighs us down, because we all know that this club is capable of so much more. And we also know that it shouldn’t take that much to reach some of those high standards again.

In the more recent past, we had the glorious Phil Parkinson years that taught us what is possible with hard work and organisation. Rewind the clock a bit further, and you come to those heady Premier League days and all those incredible moments, characterised by teams full of attacking flair and gritty character. And if you’re old enough to go back further, you find the memorable 1980s of climbing from the bottom tier to the cusp of top flight football with a tremendous team spirit and collectiveness.

These are the standards we seek to replicate.

The problem with Bradford City is that all these spells of success ultimately had unhappy endings, as measured by the subsequent decline down the league ladder. The good times meant so much but counted for nothing in terms of positively changing the club’s status in the long-term. And that always leaves a bit of a ‘but’ against our happiest memories. It was great to reach the Premier League, but. Parkinson revived Bradford City, but.

But the real cost of those the falls back down runs much deeper. For they have taken place against the backdrop of the biggest shake-up of English football since it was first established. There have been winners from the revolution and there have been losers. No prizes for guessing which camp the Bantams have fallen into.

If, in 1988, City could have squeezed into the top flight, the club’s history could have looked very different. The gap between the First and Second Division was much smaller then, and there is every reason to believe City could have remained in the top tier for several seasons, growing ever stronger as they did. And that would have meant that when the Premier League was launched in 1992 , the club would have been in a better position to benefit from the splitting up of the financial rewards about to be showered upon English football.

Instead, we got the John Docherty era.

It took 11 years, after the devastating play off defeat to Middlesbrough in 1988 that ended top flight promotion hopes, to get back into the same position of closing in on the top flight. This time, in 1999, the club did it – winning at Wolves to seal automatic promotion. The Premier League was already a different beast then, and despite surviving the notoriously difficult first season, a bumpy fall was just around the corner. The risk of trying to become part of the elite was greater than anyone could realise. Getting it wrong came at a heavy price.

In the early years of the 2000s, City were in financial turmoil and again falling on the wrong side of the redrawing of the financial map. They were right in the storm of the ITV Digital collapse – almost going out of business as a result. But before they left the top two divisions in 2004, they had helped to vote on a rule change that would hurt them in the long-term – one that means Championship clubs now receive the vast majority of Football League TV money, whilst Leagues One and Two feed on scraps.

Since then, the Championship has continued to grow in prestige and financial rewards, whilst Leagues One and Two have fallen behind. It’s no longer just a yawning gap between the Premier League and everyone else, there’s also a huge barrier between tiers two and three/four. Every time a new glass ceiling was installed, City were unfortunately languishing underneath it.

The upshot is that as club we have timed our falls from grace particularly badly. And with each and every year we remain in League Two – never mind League One – our long-term future remains more challenging. It’s not hard to shake off the fear that we’ve been left behind, and that the ground to make up might be beyond us.

But we’re trapped with a belief – rightly – that we should aspire for much better. We have attendances that rival some Championship clubs. A stadium that belongs in the second tier. As a club, our size can be comparable to Championship sides Millwall, Barnsley, West Brom, Fulham, Stoke and many others – never mind Premier League Brentford, Burnley, Watford and Brighton.

And it’s not just those clubs are so, so far ahead of us – it’s those who we’ve fallen behind. A host of other clubs, whose size and heritage cannot be compared, have overtaken us. Fleetwood, Burton, Accrington and Morecambe will never have a fanbase as big as ours, yet are comfortably competing at a higher level.

The great beauty of football is that clubs small and big can rise and fall, but there is no great reason for City to fall so far off the pace. If the redrawing of English football cast great misfortune upon Bradford City, it doesn’t excuse those who have at different points held responsibility for running the club from the long list of self-inflicted mistakes that have contributed to our demise.

The biggest danger that we can cast upon ourselves right now is to normalise any of this. To simply accept that history has gone against the club, and that bobbling around in the bottom two divisions is our life sentence. Parts of our history offers reasons to give up and to accept our lot, but other moments should inspire us that this can be better. That Bradford City can rise again.

We have to do better. As a club, we do not cope well with turmoil. When things go wrong, we lack the resilience to quickly bounce back. Failure supersedes failure. When the ship starts sailing in the wrong direction, it takes too long to turn it around.

And when things go badly, the panic and short-termism ultimately looks just as counterproductive. So many times, the answer to the immediate problem of a poor result is held up as to sack the manager. So many times, that manager leaves and there is little difference. Players are signed to suit one particular manager, but the next person in the hotseat typically has a different style and wants a different type of player. It has become the norm for players to come in on two year deals, and by the time they leave, with a less than brilliant record, they were working with a different manager to the one who signed them.

It strikes me that the only way we will ever succeed is to stick to a plan or at least a philosophy. To recognise that not every issue – real or perceived – can be addressed at once, but also should not be ignored. The club needs to continue to communicate openly with fans, but be humble as well as aspirational – admit mistakes and the learnings taken, rather than pretend they never happened. We should all be part of this journey.

There is a clear problem right now that a part of the fanbase are struggling to trust or believe in the plan – and that there is division amongst the community of everyone who shares a love of this club. Such fragmentation is normal in troubled times, but it doesn’t help either.

No one should blindly get behind the club – everyone needs to see genuine substance. But, perhaps, we don’t acknowledge enough that we all ultimately want the same thing. The club has a heavy responsibility to listen to supporter concerns and engage with the fanbase, but it also needs to have a level-headed plan that it can stick by no matter the latest result on a cold Tuesday night night. We’ve somehow got to find the right page – and all get on it.

We have to aspire to eventually look back on the period of 2018 and up to the summer of 2021 as a rock bottom period for the club, but that will only be the case if we are able to move forwards from here. And not panic if the speed of progress is a little slower than we’d like. I myself had some misgivings about Derek Adams as manager and still do, but the last thing I want to see is another change. We’ve invested in Adams and need to give him the tools he needs to succeed. Now we need to be patient enough to allow him to improve the culture of the club, and – ultimately – City’s position on the football ladder.

We have in Ryan Sparks a young CEO who will make mistakes, but who has shown a level of ambition to improve the club that others have been guilty of not demonstrating. The ideals he has communicated are ones that we can get on board with and support. His vision of success is one that we would enjoy seeing come to fruition. He has a drive to bring about change. There is substance behind his words.

We have an owner in Stefan Rupp who will keep the lights on, but is in many ways trapped in a situation he would never have chosen. It’s difficult to disagree that City ultimately need new ownership to take the big strides of pushing for the Championship, but until then Rupp has a responsibility to reverse the decline of his tenure – to invest, and make the club a more saleable asset.

Rupp would do well to start communicating with fans – not because we’ve happened to lose a few games and some people are blaming him, but because it’s the right thing to do in good times and bad. The high profile role of owning a club like Bradford City does not naturally suit staying silent. Ultimately, how can you fully trust someone who doesn’t talk to you?

We have a group of players who generally seem honest and committed. Less journeymen (although sadly still a couple too many). Fewer bad characters. Some good players under the age of 25 especially, who can grow stronger – and who you could build a team around. The lessons of the success from the 1980s, 1990s and 2010s are that the club needs a good dressing room and to invest in the growth of the players. It’s time to stop always believing the answer lies in the next transfer window or releasing 10+ players every May. We’ve got to develop these players, push them to be better and hopefully they can elevate their careers by elevating Bradford City.

The Bradford City Football Club community has never been one of perfect harmony. There are always disagreements. Topics for debate. Unhappiness is as much a part of football supporting as the good moments. Disagreements are healthy, especially if they lead to better outcomes and a stronger football club. But somehow we’ve got to allow ourselves to escape our cynicism (and I include myself in that as much as anyone else).

There’s such a big rebuilding job needed. Hopefully, it’s begun and the foundations are being laid – even if, right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s an awful lot to show for it. We cannot keep treading water. We’ve got to drag ourselves out of the League Two mud, and find a way to catch up with those who have left us behind.

Categories: Opinion


21 replies

  1. A well presented and balanced piece, Jason.
    I am approaching my 70’s and my late father (also a City supporter) used to say to me “don’t get your hopes up son, City will always let you down”. He was not necessarily being pessimistic, just realistic. He had been a City supporter from the 1930’s and so he was speaking from frustrating experience. I have been supporting City since the early 1960’s and in many ways my father’s words have been prophetic. Highs yes, but never sustained over a long period. The lows always seem to last longer.
    So what’s the answer? Indeed, is there an answer? Certainly lack of substantial investment, on a scale that would bring longer term progress and success, is a factor. We have had well meaning directors who have steered the club through difficult times but no one with deep enough pockets that would substantially finance the club to Championship level, and stay there. Until we have a billionaire owner who is totally committed to pushing the club forward, then the never ending trend will continue, no matter how well meaning the current CEO and management are. Sad, but probably true.

  2. Yes the CEO is not lacking in ambition, as the splendid article suggests, but that in itself is never enough. Indeed its impatient thrust can be wholly counterintuitive. If you set out a sensible conservative plan to progress by developing locally-recruited youngsters, employing a director of recruitment to discover gems farther afield – you must accept a plant of slow growth. You need patience at the very least. Such a plan, call it a culture and ethos if you must, does not sit well with any kind of brash announcement of instant promotion. It is a kind of quest for instant fully-entitled gratification particularly prevalent in the modern age that is akin to riding for a fall. Had expectations not been so inflated most people, I think, would take a more measured approach to our current position, three points off the playoffs with three quarters of the season still to unfold. What makes this season different from all the 62 others of my acquaintance is that we have announced promotion virtually as fait accompli. Not only is this unique in our history, even in the Richmond years, but I can’t remember many other clubs committing such grandiose folly. Derek Adams, level-headed and successful, repeatedly stresses the sheer hard work and commitment required. He is now obliquely referring to some kind of root and branch overhaul being needed. You can see the fire in his eyes. He is the man of deeds not hyperbole. He is our best hope but he must be given time and backing.

  3. So are we now saying that Julian Rhodes wasn’t the saviour that some at WOAP were led to believe?

    Oversaw the demise from Premiership to League 2, lost the ownership of Valley Parade & his final act to sell up to a charlatan. However some at WOAP towers will still not have a bad word said against him and will defend him to the hills with abuse on those who disagree.

    I welcome the ambition of Ryan Sparks, but as it has been said elsewhere “talk is cheap” we as supporters have heard the same old tale for years and its never backed up with actions. Its time to hear from our absent owner Mr. Rupp. What are his plans for the club, will he invest to repair the damage he has helped caused by putting Mr. “IKF” in charge of our once proud club. He promised to do that, but yet here we are again. A season of broken promises, a manager who blames other issues within the club without naming them and a squad of players clearly not up to the job of getting this club out of League 2 either mentality or physically.

    The supporters are fed up with years of demise and the depression that hangs over the club. We have no voice, the Trust are a joke after they backed Mr. “IKF” and the Supporters Board has been relaunched more times that the Whitby lifeboat. The only time the club wants to hear from the supporters is in May/June when we “go again” and season ticket sales are needed.

    Its time to change the record.

    • We do not give – and never have given – “abuse on those who disagree”. That has never been our style and it relates to any topic related to the club. To be clear those who run WOAP (in terms of writing for the site) are Jason, Tim, Alex and Adam.

    • That is an interesting retelling of the recent history of the club. You omitted to mention that JR the Rhodes family (not Richmond who you appear to absolve of any blame for the financial train wreck!) financed the promotion to the Premier League. You have also forgotten that it was JR that stuck with the club when it could easily have folded to the point of putting his own home up as security for the clubs debt. He could have walked away
      Strange also that you give absolutely no credit for JRs part in the rebuilding job which led to the 2013 to 2018 renaissance. The sale to a bona fide German businessman with a very healthy bank balance was also perfectly sensible commercial decision at the time.
      As to our current predicament there is no easy fix however much you may wish for one. Nowt is achieved in professional sport in a few months. DA needs to be given time unless we are content to continue the cycle of appointing and sacking managers. It is precisely because success is so hard won for clubs like ours that it is so sweet when it comes.

  4. Jason, I am surprised you claim Sparky is a man of substance. It seems to me his beliefs can change with the wind. He’s latched onto Adams and is currently hanging on to his coattail. Sparky certainly can “talk the talk” but I see very little in the way of substance.

    • Hi Phil. My opinion is based on meeting and interviewing Ryan. Getting to hear his views, his plans the things he is doing. I don’t think they change with the wind. It doesn’t look clever right now but that’s football sadly.

      As for “latching onto Adams”, for me Ryan has appointed a football expert (look at his record) and is making changes to try and give Adams the best chance of success. That is what a good CEO should do – appoint and trust an expert. Hopefully it works out

  5. Jason go back further since 1936/37 we Bradford City have spent more seasons in the bottom 2 divisions of the football League
    Promotion from forth tier to third & back again untill 1985 when Trevor Cherry finished of what Roy MacFarlane started the rest we all know
    We have a ground fanbase of a top end 3rd tier team & nothing more

  6. Sucess, failure and tragedy have been all part and parcel of following the club in my time. I believe my first game was 1976 but started following city on regular basis in 1979. That first season saw the club finish 5th in league 4 only missing out on promotion by losing to Peterborough on the final day of the season. No play offs back then.
    The 1980s brought 2 superb promotion seasons under McFarland and Cherry with some great football to watch and wonderful characters to connect with.
    On the playing front the failure not to gain promotion to the top flight in 87/88 cost us our best players and ultimately our upward mobility.
    In that short time the club suffered liquidation, had its floodlights blown down in a gale and ultimately 56 people losing their lives in the fire. Smaller club, smaller crowds, smaller ground, smaller expectations I suppose. But the fans and club worked together and always came out stronger for it. The club has changed massively since 1979 as has football.
    The early 90s was a lull for the club with a relegation but the Wembley trip of 96, the rebuilding of the stadium into a 4 sided ground for the first time in over 40 years and promotion to the PL in 98/99 was some ride in 20 years following the club.
    I believe Richmond took one gamble too many with the clubs finances and we have in many ways paid the price for the last 20 years fighting adminstrations and slides back into bottom tier football.
    This was only turned around by Parkinsons 5 year rebuild of the club.
    There was never a better time to buy the club than in 2017 with the recent sucess of the Parky era.
    The problem for me is you just can’t have an absent owner who has no apparent interest or love for football let alone Bradford City.
    There is no communication with fans from Rupp let alone a coherent and joined up plan to move the club forward. A letter to fans at the beginning of the season thanking us once again of the our support through loyal season ticket uptake is not enough. Its plain to see he wants to invest as little of his personal fortune or time into a club he hasnt got the will or knowledge to deliver what the fans crave. That’s Rupps choice but it’s not going to take us forward or deliver sustainable progress.
    It appears Rupp over paid for the club and in affect there are no saleable assets and a hefty rent payable for VP. He knew this before purchase but trusted Rahic to deliver sucess.
    The lease is due to expire at VP in 2027. What then? This will be a real pivotal point in our history witch will be125 years old since formation. I believe Gibb will be looking to to tie city into another 25 year lease!
    Rupp has to find a buyer who has the expertise and funds to take the club forward. As a fourth tier club with no assets what realistically is the club worth? Certainly not the £6 million he paid.
    I still believe with an an interested owner and the expertise to see the potential for the club we can at least be challenging to becoming a championship club once again. Until then we will continue placing all our eggs in one basket with Adams attempting to turn the clubs fortunes around with a the same philosophy and expectations of the last 5 years.

    • The club has been transformed since the seventies. My mate recently reminded me that we took him to his first game in 1975 …the crowd that day just over 2200 (the opening day of the season). In those heady days you could rock up at five to three, park on Burlington and saunter across the road to the game. When inside you could chuck around boulder sized chunks of terracing on the kop if that amused. It was a shit tip.Obviously other clubs have also moved on as well but despite the legacy of debt (post Richmond) the potential of the club given its fanbase is considerable. Due credit should be given to GR for growing it. Here is hoping Adams gets a decent crack at fufilling that potential as part of that lets reserve judgment on him untill he has at least got his feet under the table

      • Some really good points and important for us to just stop and think for a bit. I’m not disagreeing with you but the issue we have is that when we’ve really had an opportunity to progress and ride the pivotal moments / seismic changes in the game, we go the other way. Yes when comparing ourselves to ourselves we have progressed beyond imagination from the 70s. But I can’t help but think just how much further, when viewed relative to other teams, we could have gone. I mean it’s referenced in the article but clubs we perhaps should and could compare ourselves to are almost all in a spectacularly better position than us: Burnley, Sheffield Utd, Middlesbrough etc

      • If, a generation or two back, someone told you we’d be getting 15,000+ crowds in league 2 after 4 years of regression they would question your sanity. Yet despite those 4 years of suffering here we are currently averaging over 15,000. And that after a price increase.
        So the support is there, unprecedented in league 2. A manager is on board with a proven track record at this level.
        Time to move on from the past. With that kind of support inside Valley Parade and Adams at the helm, Rupp has a duty of owner of this club to push us to a level that support warrants. And that means backing the manager with whatever he wants to get the job done. A realistic investment in the squad now, which should have been done in the summer, will be the difference between another season in league 2 or season higher up.
        Time for our owner to shit or get off the pot.

      • Remember those days well, Paul. The game you mention was a 1-1 draw against Brentford (where are they now I wonder!) in the old Division Four, the same level as today. The team that day included Downsborough, (best ‘keeper I’ve seen playing for City), Cyril Podd, a certain bearded Welsh international from Keighley called Trevor Hockey, Rod Johnson, Gerry Ingram and Billy ‘Goalden Boots’ McGinley, so named after scoring the winning goal away at top flight Norwich in the 5th round of the FA Cup that season to set up a quarter final home tie against Southampton that saw City fall to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a Peter Osgood goal resulting from an ‘illegal’ free kick taken by Jim McCalliog. League results weren’t so clever, though, with City ending the season in a lowly 17th position. However, with the same manager in charge (Bobby Kennedy) the following season saw City promoted to the third tier. I’d be more than happy to see the same story unfold between now and May 2023. Keep the faith Mr Sparks & Mr Rupp and keep the bullets used for firing managers firmly in the Club bandolier.

  7. I,m convinced (after considering all other reasons),that a big factor for our demise is the fact that our ground is a handicap.For the teams that play here it must seem like their “Wembley”,so usually play probably the best game of their season -and our team does,nt have the “experience” to combat that.Notice I say “experienced” players,as opposed to Young players-as I,m a great believer in not signing too many journeymen.We have to somehow find a combination of experience and youth.I fully realise that it,s not easy and we have to be patient I also believe that MOST of the referees don,t give us a fair crack of the whip,because they don,t want to appear to be influenced by the atmosphere generated by our crowd.I might be wrong but,….

  8. Phil Parkinson took 2 seasons to get City up. 2011-12 was miserable and the almighty brawl in March 2012 was as a result of all the tension involved in playing for a club hitting rock bottom. Hopefully last season’s 15th place was our new rock bottom and Derek can build on that to at least achieve 10th. His second season will see 2012-13 achievement levels expected. Perhaps we are all in a rush – the club included.

  9. I stopped reading part way through. The bit about accepting or otherwise our fate as a l2/l1 club.
    Struck a chord that did. I’m always more positive than negative about city. But when I read that it made me think I’m just kidding myself. You’re right the last four years have really taken their toll. I can’t quite explain why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see it coming, there was no need for it. It was self inflicted and it actually set us back much much further than first thought. The damage was so deep. Margins are tight in football. Get it wrong and it really takes a long time just to recover let alone improve.
    I’ll come back and read the rest when I shake off this feeling of negativity. I genuinely feel that we need to shake off the “big club , big fan base, big stadium deserve to be higher” etc rhetoric. I don’t think the majority of fans cling to it. I’m fact I think the majority cringe when yet another average signing reels out the usual sound bites and thinks that’s what we all want to hear. Good old Bradford mentality needs to kick in all over. A resilient recognition of. Right, we’re garbage. We know it. Let’s do summat about it. And crack on with actions speaking louder than words. Problem is in today’s society there is not only an expectation but a genuine requirement to release news, content and commentary every single day. So that works against our shut up or put up mentality
    Ok I’ll shut up now. I’m aware I’m rambling as usual.

  10. Possibly the best article you’ve written, Jason. Great panoramic perspective. Yes, we should dare to dream. Every Saturday at 3pm, the whistle blows and we go again.

  11. Excellent article, Jason. It’s unfortunate that no-one running the club is in a position to take such a long-term view as you and, even more so, some of those who have commented above. The owner had probably never heard of Bradford City 6 years ago. Players rarely stay at a club more than a couple of years and managers even less.

    Only the supporters are here forever.

  12. First rate article as always Jason.
    By way of a backdrop to it and the previous comments I’d like to give you the following:-
    Rank English City/population
    London 8,907,9182
    Birmingham 1,153,7173
    Liverpool 579,2564
    Bristol 571,9225
    Manchester 554,4006
    Sheffield 544,4027
    Leeds 503,3888
    Leicester 470,9659
    Coventry 369,12710
    Bradford 361,046.
    The above list includes only cities themselves and DOES NOT include any associated metropolitan districts or regions.

  13. Great article but let’s address the real elephant in the room.
    The experience of driving into Bradford city centre, parking up and walking to the ground and the return leg until you leave the city centre is one of the most depressing experiences known to mankind. It gets worse every season. The area surrounding the ground is an absolute dump and an utterly depressing indictment on humankind. Druggies, alcoholics and social degradation are in plain view not to mention the uncomfortable and very real undercurrent of racial tension – I don’t know what the answers are but until the city’s fortunes revive (if they ever do) I don’t believe the club will ever prosper in a meaningful and sustained way (not just the flash in the pan occasional good times) in its current location.

  14. A great season and I think that Mc farland scored a cracking 30 yard free kick that year.
    However I would like to correct you in that the points total was bettered in the 1984/85 season with 94 points

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