Jump to content

Bradford (Park Avenue) A.F.C.

Coordinates: 53°45′31.88″N 1°46′34.33″W / 53.7588556°N 1.7762028°W / 53.7588556; -1.7762028
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C.)

Bradford (Park Avenue)
Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C. logo
Full nameBradford (Park Avenue) Association Football Club
Nickname(s)The Green Army
Founded1907; 117 years ago (1907)
GroundHorsfall Stadium
Capacity3,500 (1,800 seated)
Coordinates53°45′31.88″N 1°46′34.33″W / 53.7588556°N 1.7762028°W / 53.7588556; -1.7762028
ChairmanJohn Dean
Head coachDanny Whitaker
LeagueNorthern Premier League Division One East
2023–24Northern Premier League Premier Division, 19th of 21 (relegated)
WebsiteClub website

Bradford (Park Avenue) Association Football Club is an association football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The team compete in Northern Premier League Division One East, at the seventh tier of the English football league system. The name derived from their former home at Park Avenue, and was used to avoid confusion with Bradford derby rivals Bradford City.

The club was founded in 1907 and moved from the Southern League into the Football League the next year. They were promoted into the First Division at the end of the 1913–14 season, but suffered consecutive relegations by 1922. They won the Third Division North title in 1927–28 and remained in the Second Division until 1950. Promoted from the Fourth Division in 1960–61, the club were relegated from the Third Division in 1963. The club failed in their Football League re-election bid in 1970 and spent the next four seasons in the Northern Premier League before disbanding.

The present club is a reincarnation that was established in 1987. They moved from the Central Midlands League into the North West Counties League in 1990, gaining promotion from Division Two in 1990–91. They moved into their present home at Horsfall Stadium in 1996 having previously won the North West Counties League Division One title, and then the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 2000–01. Relegated in two successive seasons in 2006, they won the Northern Premier League First Division title in 2007–08 and gained promotion from the Premier Division via the play-offs in 2012.


Rugby football[edit]

The original club was formed in 1863 as the Bradford Football Club, playing rugby football, and achieved its first major success by winning the Yorkshire Cup in 1884. A member of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Bradford FC became a founding member of the breakaway Northern Rugby Football Union (after an internal RFU dispute over broken-time payments) in 1895. Bradford were runners-up the 1897–98 Challenge Cup, won the championship in 1903–04, and won the 1905–06 Challenge Cup.[citation needed]

In 1907, what is known as "The Great Betrayal" occurred when a narrow majority of members decided to abandon the Northern Union game (later known as rugby league) in favour of association football, still based at the Park Avenue ground. The minority faction left and formed a new club within the Northern Union, Bradford Northern. Bradford Northern applied for and was granted Bradford FC's place in the 1907–08 Northern Rugby Football Union season.[citation needed]

Association football[edit]

Multipurpose sports stadium, with covered grandstand
Horsfall Stadium in 2010

Bradford FC began playing association football in 1895, alternating home Saturdays at Park Avenue with the Northern Union. The club shared the West Yorkshire League championship with Hunslet in 1895–96, also winning 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. It entered the Yorkshire League in 1897–98, finishing next to last, and was banished to Birch Lane the following season, closing down at the end of the 1898–99 season due to mounting losses.[citation needed]

The success of cross-town neighbours Manningham after switching to association football, (where it was renamed Bradford City A.F.C.), prompted the Northern Union club to abandon rugby in 1907 and apply to join the Football League. They were not accepted, instead joining the Southern League (although the club was based in the north) and filling a gap left by Fulham (who joined the Football League). Their nearest opponents were Northampton Town, whose ground was 130 miles distant.[1]

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 second, and achieved its highest-ever league position (ninth) at the end of the 1914–15 season. In 1914, Donald Bell, who would go on to win the Victoria Cross, played four games. At the outbreak of war, he asked to be released to serve. Rising to the rank of lieutenant, in 1916 he received the VC for conspicuous bravery on the Somme before being killed five days later.[2]

After the First World War the club began a steady decline, relegated to the Second Division in 1921 and to the Third Division North in 1922. In 1928, the club were the Division 3N champions and were promoted back to the Second Division. They were relegated again in 1950, and placed in the Fourth Division after a 1958 reorganisation. Although the club won promotion to the Third Division in 1961, they were relegated back to the Fourth Division in 1963.[citation needed]

After several difficult seasons, in 1970 they were replaced in the Football League by Cambridge United. The club joined the Northern Premier League, selling Park Avenue in 1973 and sharing facilities with Bradford City. Bradford (Park Avenue) went into liquidation on 3 May 1974 with debts of £57,652 and immediately re-formed as a Sunday league club playing in the league club's former colours.[citation needed]

After playing at Bingley Road and Hope Avenue in 1974 in Bradford Amateur Sunday League Division Four, the club moved to Avenue Road and won promotion in 1975. The next season, they were again promoted into the newly formed Bradford Sunday Alliance League.[citation needed]

Although the stands and other buildings at Park Avenue were demolished in 1980, the playing field and terraces remained. The stadium was renovated for amateur football during the mid-1980s, and the Sunday League club played a full season there in 1987–88. However, it was forced to move out at the end of the season to accommodate an indoor cricket school on part of the pitch.[citation needed]

A new club was formed to return Bradford (Park Avenue) to Saturday football for the 1988–89 season, joining the West Riding County Amateur Football League and then the Central Midlands League for 1989–90. The club moved to the North West Counties League from 1990 to 1991, playing matches at rugby-league grounds such as McLaren Field and Mount Pleasant, Batley. The Sunday side formed in 1974 merged with the new Saturday club in 1992. In 1995, Bradford (Park Avenue) won the North West Counties League, re-joining the Northern Premier League and a year later in 1996 moving to Horsfall Stadium.[citation needed]

At the beginning of the 2004–05 season they were founding members of the Conference North, although they were relegated to the Northern Premier League at the end of the season (after finishing seventh) and to Northern Division North the following season. The club returned to the Northern Premier League as champions in the 2007–08 season.[citation needed]

The club reached the FA Cup quarterfinals in 1912–13, 1919–20 and 1945–46. Since re-forming they have reached the first round three times, in 2003–04, 2011–12 and 2012–13. Since dropping into non-league football, the club's best FA Trophy performance has been the fourth round in 1998–99. In the FA Vase, the club reached the second round in 1994–95.[citation needed]

In February 2008, chief executive Bob Blackburn unveiled plans for a 20,000-seat stadium at Phoenix Park in Thornbury, within the Leeds metropolitan district, but the site had to be sold before this was realised.[3] In July 2008 Blackburn predicted on a supporters' forum that the club would reach the Football League within four years.[4] In 2012, Bradford gained promotion to the Conference North by beating F.C. United of Manchester 1–0 in the playoff final.[5]

The 2022–23 season saw Bradford relegated from the National League North following a ten-season spell, their fate confirmed following a 2–0 defeat to champions AFC Fylde on the final day of the season.[6] Another disastorous season followed, the club suffering back-to-back relegations from the Northern Premier Division.[7][8]


The traditional colours of Bradford (PA) were red, amber and black; they were inherited from the original Bradford RFC, and retained by the Bradford & Bingley RFC and Bradford Bulls RLFC (all of whom claim a common genealogy). The fact that red, amber and black (with white) have 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], all descended from the original Bradford FC based at Park Avenue) has evoked the assumption that these were the official sporting colours of Bradford.[citation needed]

The colours have also been used by other sports organisations in Bradford (such as cycling, hockey and athletics as well as being the principal colours used by Bradford University sports teams), principally as a red, amber and black band on a white shirt (as worn by Bradford Northern and as an away kit by Bradford (PA)). Red, amber and black are also the colours of the 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 was formed in 1863 by Bramham College alumni, and in 1880 joined Bradford CC at Park Avenue.[citation needed]

In 1911, Bradford changed its colours to green and white after the appointment of former Celtic player Tom Maley, brother of Willie Maley (who also played for Celtic before becoming their first manager). Avenue was the only club to wear green and white in the English First Division, between 1914 and 1921. The club reverted to red, amber and black with white in 1924, reviving green and white from 1958 to 1967. The reformed Bradford (Park Avenue) club has worn green and white since 1988. Avenue's club crest was the 1907 version of the Bradford coat of arms; this has also been used by the re-formed club, although it was replaced by the municipality in 1974.[citation needed]

Bradford's traditional rivals (Manningham RFC) and their successor, Bradford City, have worn claret and amber stripes; Bradford usually wears hoops. Bradford City also used the 1907 Bradford coat of arms as its crest until 1966.[citation needed]

Red, amber and black has occasionally returned in away strips, notably the club's 2007 centenary shirt (which featured the three colours as hoops). During 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. The club retained a green-and-white striped away shirt.[9]

For the 2023/24 season, Bradford (Park Avenue) joined up with EV2 Sportswear for their new kit, adopting a custom chevron design in White & Green (Home) and Red, Amber and Black (Away). The home goalkeeper kit is a full red design, and the away is lime green with a black paint splatter design on top.


Although officially Bradford Football Club, the club was obliged to append Park Avenue (the location of the club's original stadium) in brackets to its name in 1907 to avoid confusion with Bradford City. However the club was historically always referred to simply as Bradford in fixture lists, classified results and the national press. However, since dropping into non-league the Park Avenue (or simply PA) are used as City are by far the better known team.[citation needed]

Coaching staff[edit]

As of 18 May 2024
Position Name
Sporting Director Northern Ireland Thomas McStravick
Manager England Danny Whitaker
Sports Rehabilitator England Brad Smith
Kit Manager England Ian Sewell

Current squad[edit]

As of 18 May 2024

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK England ENG Craig Ellison
DF England ENG Lucas Odunston (captain)
DF England ENG Jak Whiting
MF England ENG Harry Colville
MF England ENG Edy Maieco
FW England ENG James Hanson
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW England ENG Connor Shanks
FW England ENG Myles La Bastide
FW England ENG Oli Norman
FW Scotland SCO Jordan Preston
FW England ENG Paddy Sykes

Previous Managers[edit]

Fred Halliday England 1907–1908
George Gillies 1908–1911
Tom Maley Scotland 1911–1924
Charlie Parker 1924
Peter O'Rourke Scotland 1924–1925
David Howie 1925
Claude Ingram England 1925–1934
Billy Hardy England 1934–1936
David Steele Scotland 1936–1943
Fred Emery 1943–1951
Vic Buckingham England 1951–1953
Norman Kirkman 1953–1955
Jack Breedon England 1955
Bill Corkhill 1956–1957
Alf Young 1957–1959
Walter Galbraith Scotland 1958–1961
Jimmy Scoular Scotland 1961–1964
Jock Buchanan Scotland 1964–1967
Jack Rowley England 1967–1968
Don McCalman Scotland 1968
Laurie Brown England 1968–1969
Don McCalman Scotland 1969–1970
Frank Tomlinson 1970
Tony Leighton England 1970–1973
Roy Ambler England 1973–1974
Bob Wood England 1988
Mick Hall England 1988–1989
Jim Mackay England 1989–1993
Gordon Rayner England 1993–1996
Trevor Storton England 1996–2004
Carl Shutt England 2004–2005
Gary Brook England 2005–2006
Phil Sharpe England 2006–2007
Benny Phillips England 2007–2008
Dave Cameron Wales 2008
Mike Marsh (caretaker) England 2008
John Deacey England 2008–2009
Lee Sinnott England 2009
John Deacey England 2009–2010
Simon Collins England 2010
John Deacey England 2010–2015
Martin Drury England 2015–2016
Darren Edmondson (caretaker) England 2016
Alex Meechan England 2016
Mark Bower[10] England 2016–2019
Garry Thompson[11] England 2019
Marcus Law (interim) England 2019
Mark Bower[12] England 2019–2023
Danny Whitaker[13] England 2023–

Honours and achievements[edit]

Association football[edit]

Rugby league[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scott, Les (2008). End to End Stuff: The Essential Football Book. Random House. p. 428. ISBN 9780593060681.
  2. ^ "The Story of Donald Bell VC". Football and the First World War. Iain McMullen. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  3. ^ Winrow, Jo (21 February 2008). "Avenue unveil new stadium plan". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford. Retrieved 22 February 2008.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Whiting, Ian (6 May 2012). "Extra-time Greaves winner puts Bradford Park Avenue in dreamland". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Ups, Downs And Play-Off Places Confirmed On Epic Final Day". www.thenationalleague.org.uk. 29 April 2023. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  7. ^ "NPL round-up | Saturday 20 April". www.thenpl.co.uk. 22 April 2024. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  8. ^ "CLUB STATEMENT". bpafc.com. 20 April 2024. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  9. ^ "The Avenue's New Shirts 2012/13". Bradford (Park Avenue) A.F.C. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Mark Bower leaves Bradford (Park Avenue)". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford.
  11. ^ "Garry Thompson on why he jumped at Bradford (Park Avenue) job". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford.
  12. ^ "Mark Bower back at Bradford (Park Avenue) as manager". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford.
  13. ^ "Dan's The Man For Avenue | New Head Coach Appointed". bpafc.com. 20 December 2023. Retrieved 21 December 2023.

External links[edit]