Port Vale, 22nd October 2019


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

Port Vale and Bradford City have met on 100 previous occasions in the Football League going back to the first fixture between the clubs in October, 1903 – only the sixth game of City’s debut season in the competition. Between then and the most recent game in February, 2017 there have been 42 wins for the Bantams and 29 for the Valiants.

Of our rivals this season, Port Vale is the club that Bradford City has played the most – Oldham Athletic follow close behind with 99 League games to date – and this season will bring the degree of familiarity level with that of Stockport County with whom they were 102 meetings between 1903-2011.

port vale 03-sep-30.jpg

There have been five meetings in the FA Cup albeit with only two wins for City. Forty years ago it seemed that the two clubs could not avoid each other and we were drawn together on three occasions in five seasons between 1978/79 and 1982/83.

October seems to have been a good month for contests with Port Vale. On the first day of that month in 1932 Bradford City secured the club’s highest victory against today’s visitors, a 7-0 win at Valley Parade. This was followed by a 5-0 triumph on 23rd October, 1937.

More recently came a 4-0 win on 29th September, 1998 which was memorable for the brace of goals scored by Lee Mills against his old club. The victory was the third in succession for Bradford City and by the end of that year the club was well placed among the promotion contenders in what was to be a memorable season. What seems remarkable is that the crowd for the game with Port Vale was ‘only’ 13,245, a measure of the extent to which discounted tickets have sustained attendances at Valley Parade.

Scan_20190703 (3).jpgThe programme for that fixture is featured on this page. In contrast to those produced at Valley Parade in earlier years, that for the 1998/99 season marked a distinct improvement in standard. In fact it has only been in the last twenty years that the match day publication of either club could reasonably be described as a ‘match day magazine’.

Until the 1970s there had been little change in the content of either the Bradford City or Port Vale programmes which were equally traditional in their design. The other featured programmes on this page are from September, 1930; December, 1952; and October, 1979. With the exception of a glossy cover on the latter there was little to distinguish them and when compared to the quality of today’s publication they are distinctly minimalist. The irony of course is that despite the leap forward in standard, fewer people nowadays buy a match day programme.

You can find other features about the history of Bradford City AFC on this blog as well as links to other content that I have published previously. The menu provides links to archive images featuring historic photographs of Valley Parade as well as old programmes.

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