BCAFC programme feature: vs Mansfield Town 2nd March, 2021

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 1992/93.

The cover of the programme is a reminder of the diagonal design shirts that were worn between 1991-93 with the distinctive two-tone blue away shirts. The striking kit design accompanied the restoration of the official ‘bantams’ identity with the current club crest having been introduced in 1991.

The new crest incorporated the traditional shield and the BCAFC monogram that had featured in earlier versions. On top of the shield sits a bantam. Unfortunately, the depiction of the bird in white overlooked the fact that when the nickname had originally been introduced in 1908, emphasis was given to claret and amber plumage!

As a publication, the 1992/93 match day programme looks very dated by today’s standards and at the time it compared poorly with those of other clubs. The kindest observation to be made is that it was economical in content. A distinguishing feature however was the colour action photograph on the cover that was changed with each issue

The meeting with Mansfield on 2nd January, 1993 resulted in a dour 0-0 draw. Having been relegated from the second tier in 1990 there had been little promise of a serious challenge at promotion but by the end of 1992 there were hopes that the outlook was brighter. The point from the Mansfield game left Bradford City in 6th position behind leaders Stoke City, Leyton Orient, West Bromwich Albion, Hartlepool United and Rotherham United.

Other sides in our division that season included Bolton, Brighton, Swansea, Burnley, Fulham, Reading, Hull, Bournemouth, Wigan, Blackpool and Huddersfield (NB bottom placed on 2nd January, 1993) all of whom subsequently played in the Premier League which was then in its inaugural season.

City finished 1992/93 in 10th position whilst Mansfield Town were relegated (22nd). Huddersfield Town meanwhile escaped the drop and finished 15th. The early 1990s was something of a doldrums period for Bradford City, finishing 7th in 1993/94 and 14th in 1994/95 before that memorable Play-Off victory at Wembley in 1996 and our return to the second tier. The prospect of playing in the Premier League however was then still something beyond our wildest dreams.

Subsequent to our meeting in January, 1993, Bradford City did not play against Mansfield Town again until 2007/08. Of course, that followed our relegation to the basement division which came only six years after our two season spell in the Premier League.

In total there have now been 65 first team contests between the sides, of which City have won 25 and lost 23. Ten of those have been cup games with City undefeated against Mansfield in the FA Cup (winning four and drawing one) and of meetings in the League Cup, City have won three and lost just once whilst Mansfield can boast victory in the Freight Rover Associate Members Cup in 1985. In league competition therefore Mansfield have the edge with 21 victories against City’s 18.

Despite securing four points from Bradford City in the 2007/08 season it was insufficient to prevent Mansfield Town finishing second to bottom and losing its League status. The Stags subsequently spent five seasons in the National League, winning the championship in 2012/13 and hence last season was the first encounter between the sides since 2007/08.

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.