The City Gent is now among the best known fanzines in the country and recognised as a pioneering publication in the 1980s. [The story of its launch in 1984 is told here.] It was not however the first independently produced supporters’ publication at Valley Parade, predated by just over a year by Bantams Review. The latter title was launched as a monthly magazine but ran to only three issues in the 1983/84 season. Produced by Raymond Maule, Bantams Review included a lot of historical content as well as features on City memorabilia and in particular old programmes.
There have been two other printed fanzines at Valley Parade, Phil of Frizinghall and City Travel Club Magazine. The former made only a couple of appearances in 1990/91 (published by a Yeadon based supporter) whilst the latter ran to about half a dozen issues during the 1985/86 season. Phil of Frizinghall was a light-hearted publication whereas City Travel Club Magazine was essentially a mouthpiece of Patsy Hollinger and his newly-formed Star Travel Club comprising badly written tirades against Stafford Heginbotham and his fellow directors.
In 1990 came The Relegation Times, a one-off publication that expressed the frustration about impending relegation to the third division and the lost opportunity for promotion in 1988. Like the City Travel Club Magazine it was unambiguous in its antipathy towards the club’s leadership.
For completeness, mention should be made of the samizdat newsletter of the so-called Bradford City Liberation Front that circulated on the Kop during the 1988/89 season. Among the demands of the BCLF (that comprised one member) was that Bradford residents supporting clubs other than BCAFC should be classified as civic traitors and fined 10% of their weekly income. Needless to say it wasn’t taken seriously and was ridiculed, disappearing shortly after.
Notwithstanding the number of independent supporter publications at Valley Parade, the first of the kind in Bradford was sold at Park Avenue in 1946. The story of The Kick Off, Official Journal of the Bradford Park Avenue Supporters Club and later, The Avenue which was first published in 1967 is featured on this blog from this link. Unlike the latter day City publications, the content of both Avenue titles was vetted by the parent football club. At best they could only be described as quasi-independent and they had fairly tame editorials which might explain why they did not survive beyond a few issues. In the 1980s came two other Avenue publications Ay Ay Rhubarb Pie and Wings of a Sparrow which I hope to feature on my blog in the future.
Thanks for visiting. Links to other features on the history of Bradford City, my written BCAFC programme articles (NB this season, 2021/22 my programme column contains photographic content that I will not be uploading) and book reviews from the menu above.