Mansfield Town, 29th December 2019


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

We have played Mansfield Town on 52 occasions in the Football League. Of those 22 were in Division Three (North) between 1947-58 but subsequent to the creation of a national league structure in 1958 our sides have been in the same division on only 15 occasions of which 7 seasons in the third tier and 8 at this level in the fourth tier.

47-8 MAnsfield Away.jpg

In League competition the Stags have had the upper hand with 20 wins compared to 16 for the Bantams. In the basement division Mansfield Town have won 8 compared to just 4 by Bradford City.

Given that the two clubs have spent the vast majority of the post-war period in the lower divisions, fixtures between the two have been relatively infrequent but in the 1981/82 and 1982/83 seasons it seemed that we couldn’t be kept apart with a total of 8 meetings. During 1981/82 for example we met in Division Four and were drawn together over two legs in the League Cup (and despite losing at Field Mill, City triumphed on aggregate). The following season we met over two legs in the League Cup once again (City winning both) as well as in the FA Cup (a victory for the home side at Valley Parade).

1981 aug

I remember those FA Cup encounters to have been real passionate affairs and after an initial 1-1 draw, we earned a third round meeting with Barnsley and narrowly avoided a giant-killing on a bitterly cold December night thanks to a close-fought 3-2 win. Mansfield wore their traditional yellow shirts and blue shorts whereas at that time the Bantams played in a predominantly white strip with claret and amber trim on the sleeves, collar and cuffs as well as shorts. The Mansfield supporters encouraged their side with shouts of ‘C’mon you Yellows’ and it clearly made an impression on the City faithful.

Proof of the viral spread of football chants was demonstrated less than a fortnight later when City played their next game in a holiday fixture at Deepdale, Preston. On that occasion the Bantams wore the Admiral away strip of amber shirts with claret shorts. And the new chant of the away following that day?  ‘C’mon you Yellows.’ Bizarrely it is a chant that has continued at Bradford City games ever since notwithstanding the fact that the club has never had a yellow strip!

Our League meeting at Mansfield on 15th May, 1982 marked the end of a successful promotion season and City finished runners-up to Sheffield United. Our 2-0 victory that day ensured we finished above Wigan Athletic and AFC Bournemouth who claimed the other promotion spots. Of course we returned to the basement division in 2007/08 and that was the last season that the two sides have met. Despite Mansfield Town failing to avoid relegation to the Conference in 2008 (where they would spend five seasons) they still managed to take 4 points from the Bantams.


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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John Dewhirst

Thanks to Stewart Roberts for allowing me to feature his copy of the Mansfield v City programme from April, 1948 – the first meeting of the sides at Field Mill.