Northampton Town: 7th September, 2019


Published in the Bradford City AFC match day programme for the above fixture

Like Cambridge United, our first games with Northampton Town were during the 1972/73 season which followed our relegation from Division Three in 1972. The home programme with the City Gent in the team’s all claret strip is featured.
Northampton 72-73.jpg

We have played Northampton on 30 occasions in the Football League and of the 15 seasons that we have played in the same division all but three have been in the fourth tier. Of course the most high profile game between the sides was the Play-Off final in 2013.

Before relocation to their current ground at Sixfields in 1994 the club had played at the County Ground since 1897, home of Northamptonshire Cricket Club. The fate of the venue had been determined by the implications arising from the Valley Parade disaster. The cost of health and safety repairs to bring the ground up to date was not economically feasible and hence the attraction of a new stadium to relaunch the club.
The County Ground was three-sided by virtue of staging cricket, a characteristic that it shared with the original layout of Bramall Lane in Sheffield prior to 1973. Such design was favoured by the Victorians: Park Avenue in Bradford similarly staged cricket and football and had it not been for lack of finance in 1892, plans existed to redevelop the football ground from being contained as a conventional four-sided enclosure to become three-sided (ostensibly to increase its capacity by building a much larger stand on the low, Horton Park Avenue side).
Northampton’s programmes in the 1970s and 1980s were typical of many struggling lower division sides. In 1979/80 for example many clubs resorted to printing its programme in a newspaper format and then, like others, in 1980/81 the Cobblers adopted a format produced by a Devon firm that provided the semblance of a magazine publication. However it had just 12 pages of club news and the remainder was general football content that appeared in maybe a dozen other club programmes.
Northampton Aug-79
Those featured are for the fixtures in August, 1979 and September, 1980. Both games were City victories, 2-1 and 1-0 respectfully in front of crowds of only 2,555 and 2,293.
Northampton Sep-80.jpg
The first fixture with Bradford City at Sixfields was in October, 2006, in League One. It has since proved to be a lucky venue for the Bantams with only one defeat in seven visits.
That game between our sides at Wembley in 2013 seems a long time ago. From the perspective of Northampton Town however, the new ground undoubtedly revitalised the club’s fortunes.

John Dewhirst

You will find other Bradford City archive images by following the links in the drop down menu above. Also published on this blog are my features in the BCAFC programme from previous seasons, book reviews and sundry content about the history of Bradford sport.

On this blog you can find features about the origins of the club identity, crests and nickname.

Details of my books.

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