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Bradford Park Avenue
Bradford City A.F.C. logo
Full name Bradford Park Avenue Association Football Club
Nickname(s) The Avenue, BPA, The Stans
Founded 1907
Ground Horsfall Stadium
(Capacity: 5,000 (1,800 seated))
Chairman England Dr John Dean
Manager England John Deacey
League Northern Premier League Premier Division
2008–09 NPL Premier Division, 7th
Home colours
Away colours

Bradford Association Football Club (always referred to as Bradford Park Avenue) is a football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The club's name comes from its old stadium at Horton Park Avenue in Bradford, which was designed by Archibald Leitch, to avoid confusion with Bradford City.

The present club claims descent from the organisation of the same name that was a former member of the Football League and which went into liquidation in 1974. The new entity, established in 1988, is currently in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, and plays its home matches at the Horsfall Athletics Stadium, which has a capacity of 5,000.

Contents

History

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Rugby league

The original club was formed in 1863 as the Bradford Football Club and played rugby football. Having been a member of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), it became a founding member of the break-away Northern Rugby Football Union following a dispute within the RFU over the payment of expenses for broken time in 1895. Bradford won the Championship in 1903–04 and the Challenge Cup in 1905–06.

In 1907, what is known as "The Great Betrayal" occurred as a small majority of members decided to abandon the Northern Union game (later known as rugby league) and change code to Association football, still based at the Park Avenue ground.

Association football

The club immediately applied to join the Football League. However, they were not accepted, and instead joined the Southern League, even though the club was based in the north, filling a gap left by Fulham who had been successful in joining the Football League.

The minority faction decided to leave the original club and form a new Northern Union club appropriately called Bradford Northern. Bradford Northern applied for membership of the Northern Union and replaced Bradford FC.

In 1908, Bradford FC was elected to the Second Division of the Football League. The club was promoted to the First Division in 1913 after finishing as runners-up, and achieved its highest ever league position of 9th at the end of the 1914–15 season.

After the Great War the club began a steady decline, being relegated to the Second Division in 1921, and again to the Third Division North in 1922. In 1928, the club finished as Division 3N champions and was promoted back to the Second Division. However, they were relegated again in 1950, and then placed in the Fourth Division after reorganisation in 1958. Though they won promotion to the Third Division in 1961, they were relegated back to the Fourth Division in 1963.

After several seasons of struggle, they were voted out of the Football League in 1970 and replaced by Cambridge United. The club dropped into the Northern Premier League, and financial problems meant they had to sell Park Avenue in 1973 and share with neighbours Bradford City. However, the sale did not solve the difficulties, and the club went into liquidation on 3 May 1974 with debts of £57,652. They were immediately re-formed as a Sunday league club playing in the league club's former colours.

After playing at Bingley Road and Hope Avenue in 1974 in the Bradford Amateur Sunday League Division Four the club moved to Avenue Road and won promotion for the first time in 1975. The next season saw promotion again and in 1985 came promotion into the newly formed Bradford Sunday Alliance League. In 1987 the club returned to play a fixture at the still-standing Park Avenue ground.

A new club was formed to return the name of Bradford Park Avenue to Saturday football for the 1988–89 season, when they joined the West Riding County Amateur Football League. They then joined the Central Midlands League. The club moved to the North West Counties League the following season. Meanwhile, the club had been playing matches at various rugby league grounds (including Bramley and Mount Pleasant, Batley). The Sunday side formed in 1974 merged with the new Saturday club in the early 1990s.

In 1995 the club won the North West Counties League, re-joining the Northern Premier League, as well as moving to the Horsfall Athletics Stadium. In 2001, it became one of the many waypoints for continent-hopping goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel, after a stint with Dunedin Technical and before signing with ASV Cham.[1] He stopped breathing three times after a collision while playing for the club against Harrogate Town in a Northern Premier League match on 26 December 2002. The injury was so serious that the referee, John Moss, abandoned the match.[2] Bradford Park Avenue were leading 2–1 at the time of the incident.[3]

At the start of the 2004–05 season they became founder members of the Conference North, though they were relegated back to the Northern Premier League (the seventh level) at the end of the season. They were also relegated to Northern Division North at next season. They returned to Northern Premier League as champions in 2007–08 season.

The club reached the FA Cup quarter finals in 1912–13, 1919–20 and 1945–46. Since re-forming, they have reached the first round proper once, in 2003–04. Their best performance in the League Cup was to reach a 3rd round replay in 1962–63.

Since dropping into non-league football, the club's best FA Trophy performance has been to reach the 4th round in 1998–99. In the FA Vase, the club reached the 2nd round in 1994–95.

In February 2008 club chief executive Bob Blackburn unveiled plans for a new 20,000 seat stadium at Phoenix Park in Thornbury, within the metropolitan district of Leeds.[4]

Colours

The traditional colours of Bradford (PA) were red, amber and black which were inherited from the original Bradford RFC and incidentally retained by Bradford & Bingley RUFC and Bradford Bulls RLFC who all claim common genealogy. The fact that red, amber and black (with white) has been worn by three of the city's senior football clubs (namely Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC, Bradford RFC / Bradford & Bingley RUFC and Bradford Northern RLFC / Bradford Bulls who were all descended from the original Bradford FC which was based at Park Avenue) has made many people assume that these were the de facto sporting colours of Bradford.

Indeed the colours have also been used by other sports organisations in Bradford such as cycling, hockey and athletics principally in the style of a red, amber and black band on a white shirt (as typically worn by Bradford Northern and as an away kit by Bradford (PA)). Red, amber and black are also the historic colours of Bradford Cricket Club, formed in 1836. The cricket club no longer play at the Park Avenue, and nor do Yorkshire, who played several matches a season there over many years. Wibsey Park Chapel Cricket Club currently occupy the dilapidated ground with relatively little being changed. One stand is now referred to as the Football End in reference to those bygone eras. Hopes are still alive for Bradford PA to move back eventually to their 'ancestral home', but this is unlikely with a development of housing going on the old football pitch and terracing of the cricket ground.

Bradford FC had been formed in 1863 by former pupils of Bramham College and in 1880 joined Bradford CC at Park Avenue. However it is not known whether one club took the colours of the other at this time. Bradford did not achieve city status until 1897 and to that extent red, amber and black could well have been associated with Bradford prior to the granting of the arms and certainly well before Bradford's city status.

In 1911 Bradford changed its colours to green and white following the appointment of former Celtic player, Tom Maley, brother of Willie Maley, who also played at Celtic before becoming their first manager, and this may also have been a move to exploit the local catchment area which had many residents of Irish origin. In so doing Avenue became the only club to have worn green and white in the English First Division, between 1914 and 1921. Avenue reverted to red, amber and black with white in 1924 but then revived green and white between 1958 and 1967. The reformed Bradford Park Avenue has adopted green and white since 1988. Avenue's club crest was the 1907 version of the Bradford coat of arms and this has been used by the reformed club also even though it was replaced by the municipal authority in 1974.

Bradford's traditional rivals Manningham RFC and their successors Bradford City have worn claret and amber and whereas Bradford has tended to wear hoops (with a number of notable exceptions) the City club has opted for stripes. Bradford City also adopted the (1907) Bradford coat of arms as its crest until 1966.

After the change from white shirts to green shirts over summer 2006, there had been talk around the club of changing the colours back to something along the lines of red amber and black during the club's centenary season though it turned out that this would be used for the away kit for sponsorship reasons. The home kit would be green and white hoops. Bradford Park Avenue are the only team to have a better win loss record against Manchester United. Winning 9 five wins at home 4 away Lost 8 three home five away and one match was drawn.

Name

Though officially called Bradford A.F.C., Park Avenue (the location of the club's original stadium) is usually appended to their name to avoid confusion with Bradford City. Bradford AFC was chosen as a name because Bradford City had already registered both the names "Bradford City" and "Bradford United".

Nickname

The club has always been referred to as 'Avenue'. In 1966 Bradford introduced its own cartoon mascot in response to the 'City Gent' of Bradford City at Valley Parade. 'Avenue 'Arry' is a cartoon of a supporter with hat and scarf waving a rattle. Avenue did not use the character to the same extent as Bradford City exploited the 'City Gent' but it has been revived by the reformed club.

In the late 1980s a Bradford City supporters' publication 'Bernard of the Bantams' introduced a cartoon figure 'Boring Stan the Avenue Fan' featuring an old Bradford supporter suffering a mid-life crisis exacerbated by the non-existence of his favourite club (he was presumably unaware of the Sunday side or didn't count them as a team worth his support; the character appeared before Avenue's 1988 reincarnation). Bradford City supporters have contemptuously referred to followers of the reformed Bradford Park Avenue club as 'Stans' but the nickname has not been adopted by the club itself.

Notable former players

Managers

Fred Halliday 1907 George Gillies 1908 Tom Maley 1910 Claude Ingram 1925

Norman Kirkman 1953 Jack Breedon 1954 Bill Corkhill 1956 Alf Young 1957 Walter Galbraith 1958

Jock Buchanan 1964 Jack Rowley 1966

Famous & Non Famous Supporters

  • John Helm - veteran football commentator.
  • Sheila Ravenscroft - wife of the late John Ravenscroft ( John Peel, Disc Jockey and radio personality)
  • Ronnie Bottomley - BPA No 1 Supporter
  • Avenue 'arry - BPA Mascot

Current Squad

As of 11 March 2010.

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Steve Dickinson
England GK Dermot McMurray
England DF Martin Drury
England DF Stephen Downes
England DF Jamie Price
England DF Chris Stabb
England DF Mark Hume
England DF Ryan Serrant
England DF Alan Griffiths
Greece MF Anastasios Liolios
Pakistan MF Amjad Iqbal
Republic of the Congo MF Brice Tiani
No. Position Player
England MF Lee Elam
England MF Simon Baldry
England MF Dominic Krief
England MF Rob O'Brien
England MF Luke Gibson
England MF James Knowles
England MF Matthew James
England MF Chris Ovington
England FW Aiden Savory
England FW Kevin Sanasy
England FW Chris Hall

Non-playing staff

Position Name
Manager England John Deacey
Assistant Manager England Vince Brockie
Reserve Team Coach England Wayne Benn
Goalkeeping Coach England Gary Stokes aka Minty
Physio England Emma Griffin
Kit-Man England Primo

References

  1. ^ Which footballer has played on five continents? guardian.co.uk - Article on continent-hopping football players, published: 19 March 2008, accessed: 17 April 2009
  2. ^ "Footballer saved by kiss of life". Telegraph & Argus. Newsquest Media Group. 2002-12-27. http://archive.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/2002/12/27/117860.html. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  3. ^ "Goalkeeper's wife tells of match terror". Craven Herald & Pioneer. Newsquest Media Group. 2002-12-28. http://archive.cravenherald.co.uk/2002/12/28/117852.html. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  4. ^ Winrow, Jo (21 February 2008). "Avenue unveil new stadium plan". Telegraph & Argus. http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/newsindex/display.var.2060478.0.avenue_unveil_new_stadium_plan.php. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 

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