Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C.
|Full name||Bradford Park Avenue Association Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Avenue, BPA|
|Capacity||3,500 (1,800 seated)|
|Chairman||Dr John Dean|
|2012–13||Conference North, 7th|
Bradford (Park Avenue) Association Football Club, is an English football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The club was previously known as Bradford, but in the 1970s it went through a reformation and it is now referred to as Bradford Park Avenue. The club's name derived from its old stadium at Horton Park Avenue in Bradford, which was designed by Archibald Leitch, and was used to avoid confusion with Bradford City.
The present club claims descent from an organisation of the same name, which was a former member of the Football League that went into liquidation in 1974. The new entity, established in 1988, plays in the Conference North for the 2013–14 season, and plays its home matches at the Horsfall Athletics Stadium (capacity 3,500).
The original club was formed in 1863 as the Bradford Football Club and played rugby football. The club achieved its first major success by winning the Yorkshire Cup in 1884. Having been a member of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Bradford FC 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.
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. 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.
Bradford FC started an association section in 1895 which played at Park Avenue on alternate Saturdays to the Northern Union side. The club shared the West Yorkshire League championship with Hunslet in 1895–96 and also won the Leeds Workpeople's Hospital Cup. Bradford played in the FA Amateur Cup in 1896–97, progressing to the FA Cup in 1897–98 and 1898–99.
The club entered the Yorkshire League in 1897–98 but finished second from bottom. The side was banished to Birch Lane the following season where it fared little better. Bradford's first football club was closed down at the end of the 1898–99 season due to mounting losses.
Despite the failure of this early experiment, the success of the round ball game elsewhere prompted the club to abandon rugby completely and switch to the association code in 1907. Bradford 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.
In 1908, Bradford FC was elected to the Second Division of the Football League. The club was promoted to the First Division in 1914 after finishing as runners-up, and achieved its highest ever league position of 9th at the end of the 1914–15 season. In 1914 Donald Bell played four games but at the outbreak of war asked to be released to join. He quickly rose to the rank of lieutenant and in 1916 was awarded the VC for conspicuous bravery on the Somme, but was killed later that year.
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 reorganising 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 ($95,517). 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, they saw promotion again into the newly formed Bradford Sunday Alliance League.
All the stands and other buildings at Park Avenue were demolished in 1980 but the playing field and terraces remained. The derelict stadium was made fit for amateur football in the mid-1980s and the Sunday League club played a full season at its spiritual home in 1987–88. However it was forced to move out at the end of the season to allow an indoor cricket school to be built on part of the pitch.
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 Horsefall Athletics Stadium.
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 the next season. They returned to the 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 twice, in 2003–04 and 2011–12. Their best performance in the League Cup was to reach a 3rd round replay in 1962–63.
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. In July 2008 Blackburn announced on a supporters' forum that the club would reach the Football League within four years, an achievement that is no longer possible.
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 RFC 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 (Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC, Bradford RFC / Bradford & Bingley RFC and Bradford Northern RLFC / Bradford Bulls who were all descended from the original Bradford FC, based at Park Avenue) has made many people assume that these were the de facto sporting colours of Bradford.
These 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 played at Park Avenue, where Yorkshire C.C.C. traditionally played several matches a season.
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 doing so, 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 in stripes, whereas Bradford has tended to wear hoops, with a number of notable exceptions. Bradford City had also adopted the 1907 Bradford coat of arms as its crest until 1966.
Red, amber and black has occasionally returned in away strips, notably in the club's 2007 centenary shirt, which featured the three colours as hoops. In the 2012/13 season, the club introduced a white home shirt with a red, amber and black sash, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original club from which Park Avenue came into existence in 1907. The club retained a green and white striped away shirt.
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 A.F.C. was chosen as a name because Bradford City had already registered both the names Bradford City and Bradford United.
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 did not 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.
- As of 27 January 2014
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on Loan
|Assistant Manager||Mark Hume|
|Kit Manager||Dave Wilson|
- John Helm – veteran football commentator.
Honours and achievements
- West Yorkshire League Championship Shared with Hunslet
- Leeds Workpeople's Hospital Cup
- Football League Division 2
- Runners Up 1913–14
- Football League Division 3 North
- Winners: 1927–28
- Runners Up 1922–23,1925–26
- Football League Division 4
- 4th Place 1960–61 (Promoted)
- Football League Division 1 (Best)
- 9th Place 1914–15
- FA Cup (Best)
- Quarter Finals 1912–13 1919–20, 1945–46
- League Cup (Best)
- 3rd round 1963–64
- Bradford Amateur Sunday League Division Four (Promotion)
- 1974–75, 1984–5
- Northern Premier League Division One
- Champions 2000–01
- Northern Premier League President's Cup
- Winners: 2006
- Northern Premier League Premier Division
- Play-Off Winners: 2012
- "Bradford Bulls takeover down to a battle between two rival bidders". The Telegraph (UK). 23 August 2012.
- Winrow, Jo (21 February 2008). "Avenue unveil new stadium plan". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 22 February 2008.
- Whiting, Ian (6 May 2012). "Extra-time Greaves winner puts Bradford Park Avenue in dreamland". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "The Avenue's New Shirts 2012/13". bpafc.com. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "First Team – Squad". bpafc.com. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Board of Directors & Officials". bpafc.com. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Official website
- The Dolls House(Fans Forum)
- Bradford Park Avenue at the Football Club History Database
- Ground profile
- Early history of club 1895–99
- Bradford Park Avenue History