Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C.
|Full name||Bradford Park Avenue Association Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Avenue, BPA|
Bradford, West Yorkshire
|Capacity||3,500 (1,800 seated)|
|Chairman||Dr John Dean|
|League||National League North|
|2015–16||National League North, 14th|
|Website||Club home page|
Bradford (Park Avenue) Association Football Club is an English football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Its name derived from the club's old stadium on Horton Park Avenue in Bradford (designed by Archibald Leitch), and was used to avoid confusion with Bradford City. However the club is traditionally known simply as Bradford, with the letters BFC adorning Leitch's grandstand.
The present club is a reincarnation of the club which played in the Football League from 1908 to 1970 before dropping to the Northern Premier League and going into liquidation in 1974. The new entity, established in 1987, is part of the National League North for the 2015–16 season and plays its home matches at the 3,500-capacity Horsfall Athletics Stadium. Bradford Park Avenue is one of 35 clubs to compete in all four top tiers of English football. The new club started life at what was then the thirteenth tier: Division Three of the West Riding County Amateur League.
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 won the championship in 1903–04 and the Challenge Cup in 1905–06.
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 faction left the original club and formed a new Northern Union club, Bradford Northern. Bradford Northern applied for membership of the Northern Union, replacing Bradford FC. On 23 August 2012, Bradford Park Avenue was one of the parties interested in purchasing the Bradford Bulls (who had entered administration in June 2012).
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.
The club entered the Yorkshire League in 1897–98, finishing next to last, and 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, association-football success elsewhere prompted the 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.
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 played four games, but at the outbreak of war 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 later that year.
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.
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 ($95,517), and 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 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.
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.
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. The club moved to the North West Counties League the following season, playing matches at rugby-league grounds such as Bramley and Mount Pleasant, Batley). The Sunday side formed in 1974 merged with the new Saturday club during the early 1990s. In 1995 Bradford Park Avenue won the North West Counties League, re-joining the Northern Premier League and moving to Horsfall Stadium.
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.
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.
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 realized. In July 2008 Blackburn predicted on a supporters' forum that the club would reach the Football League within four years (an achievement no longer possible). In 2012, Bradford gained promotion to the Conference North by beating F.C. United of Manchester 1–0 in the playoff final.
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.
The colours have also been used by other sports organisations in Bradford (such as cycling, hockey and athletics as well as being the principle 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 always referred to simply as Bradford in fixture lists, classified results and the national press.
The club has always been known colloquially as "Avenue". In 1966, Bradford introduced a 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 as much as Bradford City do their City Gent, but it has been revived by the re-formed club.
During the late 1980s a Bradford City supporters' publication, Bernard of the Bantams, introduced Boring Stan, the Avenue Fan — a cartoon featuring an old Bradford supporter suffering a mid-life crisis exacerbated by the absence of his favourite club. Bradford City supporters have contemptuously called followers of the re-formed Bradford Park Avenue club as "Stans"; the nickname has not been adopted by the club.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant Manager||Danny Boshell|
|Academy Head Coach||Alex Meechan|
|Academy Coach||Matt Hill|
|Kit Manager||Ian Sewell|
Honours and achievements
- Yorkshire Cup winners
- Rugby Football League Championship: 1
- Challenge Cup: 1
- Yorkshire Cup: 1
- Yorkshire League: 2
- 1899–1900, 1900–01
- 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)
- Quarterfinals 1912–13, 1919–20, 1945–46
- League Cup (Best)
- Final 2012-13
- Bradford Amateur Sunday League Division Four (Promotion)
- 1974–75, 1984–5
- North West Counties League Division One
- Champions 1994–95
- Northern Premier League Division One
- Champions 2000–01
- Northern Premier League Division One North
- Champions 2007–08
- 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 Daily Telegraph. London. 23 August 2012.
- Scott, Les (2008). End to End Stuff: The Essential Football Book. Random House. p. 428. ISBN 9780593060681.
- 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 8 November 2016.
- "First Team - Staff". bpafc.com. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- 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