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. 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 1969/70 – the last visit of Barrow AFootball 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. 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 1984/1985 when we played Orient during our Division Three Championship winning season.
The cover of our programme for the 1984/85 season was crude to say the least and appears to have been drawn by tracing the outline of an action photograph. It is highly unlikely that a design agency had been engaged for the purpose.
I doubt that I am the only Bradford City supporter delighted to see Leyton Orient back in the EFL after a two year exile in the National League between 2017-19. Relegation from the third tier in 2015 was followed by relegation from the basement two years later but the manner in which the club collapsed after the disappointment of a play-off defeat in 2014 is something that we can relate to.
Our fixture with Leyton Orient last March never took place due to the Covid emergency and so today is the club’s first visit to Valley Parade since the meeting in November, 2014 that ended with a 3-1 home victory and this is only the second season that the two clubs have been rivals in the basement division. Of the previous twenty-one seasons that we have been matched at the same level, twelve have been in the third tier, eight in the second and one (last season) in the fourth.
All of the meetings in the old Division Two were before the war with the first game between the sides in December, 1905 (a 3-0 home win in Bradford) and the last in September, 1926 (a 1-3 home defeat). Before World War One we defeated Clapton Orient (as the club was then known) four times and lost only once in six meetings between 1905/06 and 1907/08. Bradford City finished as champions of Division Two in 1908 and achieved a double over the London side in that season.
During the 1920s Clapton Orient was something of a bogey side for City who lost five and drew five of the ten games between 1922/23 and 1926/27. Following the Paraders’ relegation to Division Three (North) in 1927 it meant that our paths did not cross again until September, 1969. Since then the results have been pretty even with City winning ten games compared to nine by Orient / Leyton Orient.
In aggregate City have won 14 and lost 15 league games and 12 have been drawn (including that last season in London). The one meeting between the sides in the FA Cup was at Valley Parade in November, 2008 which the visitors won.
Our highest victory, 4-0 was achieved in March, 1991 (the programme of which is featured). This was the third home game in succession that the Bantams had scored four goals against the O’s with the two preceding meetings at Valley Parade in February, 1985 and January, 1984 both ending 4-1. The game in 1984 is remembered as the ninth game in a run of ten successive victories that saw the club rise from the relegation zone in meteoric fashion. The programme for the game in 1985 – the season when Bradford City finished as champions of Division Three – is also featured. When the clubs had met the previous September in London there was little indication that City might top the division after a disappointing 0-1 reverse.
The programme for our meeting in December, 2013 which finished 1-1 had Jon McLaughlin (now at Rangers) on its cover and is also reproduced below.
The menus above provide links to features written by myself in the BCAFC programme during previous seasons.