Published in the match day programme: Bradford City v Accrington, 01-Jan-2019

Happy new year and welcome back to Valley Parade. A special welcome to our visitors from Accrington and congratulations from everyone in Bradford for what your club has achieved in the past twelve months – an inspiration to our friends at Horsfall and their ambitions for Bradford Park Avenue AFC.

I wonder how many households had Subbuteo games left under the Christmas tree last week? If you go back to my own childhood forty years ago it was pretty much guaranteed that Subbuteo was on the Xmas wish list of schoolboys. I recall the entertainment that the game provided, not to mention the worn knees of my jeans. Those were the days in which Bradford City regularly competed in the World Cup and on occasions were victorious in a home in Heaton.


What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that the original BCAFC Subbuteo team (reference #23 in the catalogue) was popular nationally on account of the unique colours. Claret and amber thus provided an alternative to the ubiquitous red/white and blue/white combinations.


By the 1980s, production economies forced Subbuteo players to be moulded as flimsy plastic figures that made those of the 1960s and 1970s seem heavyweight by comparison. That said, even those were rarely able to withstand the crunch of being knelt on. However, in the 1950s the figures were even flimsier, printed on celluloid and affixed to plastic bases.

subbuteo celluloid city

My thanks to Sean O’Grady for sharing these items

John Dewhirst

John’s book A HISTORY OF BCAFC IN OBJECTS (vol 1 in the BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED series) provides background about City memorabilia. It is available from Waterstones, Wool Exchange or Salts Mill bookshops or follow the link below for BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED. In future issues of The Parader he will feature objects that tell the history of the club. If you have a City artefact in your possession that you would like him to feature in the programme contact him at johnpdewhirst at gmail dot com or tweets @jpdewhirst
John has written widely about the history of sport in Bradford: Links to his features on the history of Bradford sport

My most recent article on VINCIT tells the long forgotten story of Shipley FC.

History for the making this season?

Elsewhere on this blog you can find his programme articles from earlier games this season and last. The drop down menu above provides links to archive images, book reviews and features on the history of Bradford sport that I have written.

Updates to this site are tweeted: @jpdewhirst


Details here about the bantamspast History Revisited book series: BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED BOOKS


Discover more about Bradford football history at