BCAFC programme feature: vs Oldham Athletic, FAC 3R 28th November, 2020

Football programmes have traditionally been a staple of the match day experience, historically a collectable for many supporters. At Valley Parade, programmes have been produced for first-team fixtures since 1909 and the sale of single sheet team cards dates back even further to the rugby era before 1903. This season the match day magazine celebrates the rich heritage of old programmes from earlier years and today’s issue is based on the design from 1986/87 when we played against Oldham Athletic on just four occasions.

We have played Oldham more than any other side in the Football League and this is the 114th meeting of our sides in a competitive fixture and the second of this season. To date Oldham have won 46 and we have won 34 of those games. Taking into account league games only, we have played each other 100 times which is less than against Port Vale (101) or Stockport County (102, 1903-2011).

In the FA Cup this is the fifth time that we have been drawn together with the Latics. The previous occasions were in the First Round in 1950/51 when Oldham won the replay at Boundary Park; in the First Round in 1955/56 when City won the home tie; in the First Round in 1962/63 when City won at Boundary Park and then in the Third Round in 1986/87 when City were victorious in the replay at Valley Parade.

The programme for today’s meeting is based on the FA Cup tie played on 19th January, 1987. Of all the games against Oldham Athletic it was probably one of the most memorable. At the time City were bottom of the second division and Oldham were in second place. Things were pretty desperate at Valley Parade and manager Trevor Cherry had previously been sacked on 5th January with Terry Dolan assisted by Stan Ternent taking charge of the team for the cup tie at Oldham five days later. That game was drawn 1-1 with Stuart McCall the scorer. The replay had been scheduled to be played the following Wednesday (14th) but was postponed and eventually played the next Monday (19th).

Terry Dolan had been in charge of the team for the home game against Millwall on the preceding Saturday (17th January) and he proved to be a talisman with City winning 4-0, only the sixth win that season. Two days later it was followed with a thumping 5-1 victory over Oldham Athletic and the result on that cold night in Bradford was one of the shocks of the round, earning a Fourth Round tie against Everton at Valley Parade.

The cup win proved something of a turning point for City, for despite losing 0-1 to Everton later that month the side won 9 and drew 5 of the 19 remaining games to finish 10th in the table, the club’s highest position since 1934. It was a springboard for the following season when City challenged for promotion, eventually eliminated in the play-offs in May, 1988.

After the fire disaster in May, 1985 first team games were played variously at Elland Road, Leeds Road and Odsal. Valley Parade remained abandoned and although it was not used for competitive fixtures or public friendlies, it did stage reserve games. The Oldham match in January, 1987 was the first cup tie played at the rebuilt Valley Parade. On 14th December, 1986 the ground had been formally re-opened with an exhibition match between Bradford City and an England XI and defeat against Derby County on Boxing Day in the first league game back at Valley Parade proved to be the last home defeat of the season. Subsequent to that, and prior to the FA Cup tie, there had been a draw with Birmingham (Cherry’s last game in charge) and the win against Millwall. 

Following the reconstruction of the club in 1983 the production of the match-day programme was considered a low level priority at Valley Parade and even after promotion to Division Two in 1985 there was minimal change to the overall standard of the publication. Covers apart, there was little to distinguish them from one season to the next prior to 1988/89 when it was given something of a makeover. The covers remained unchanged during the respective campaigns and word-processing technology was yet to make its impact.

The menus above provide links to features written by myself in the BCAFC programme during previous seasons.

Link here to galleries of historic BCAFC programmes on this blog

Link to feature about the historic development of the BCAFC programme since 1909 published on VINCIT.