I am an aboriginal Bradfordian and can trace my family history through eight generations and 200 years to pre-industrial Bradford. I am known for my interest in the origins and history of Bradford sport, in particular football and Bradford City AFC. I co-founded The City Gent fanzine in 1984 and to date I have authored four books, collaborated on another three and been involved in the production of a further five. I am currently working on a couple more…
I’m also a pretty keen fan of The Stranglers and have seen them on most tours since 1979. In my opinion they are as good now as they ever have been and during the last decade I’ve seen them quite a bit both in the UK and abroad. You can find a page on my blog dedicated to them from the ‘Other Stuff’ section in the menu.
My other sporting interest is cycling and I hold all the adult time trial records of East Bradford CC. I retired from racing in 2013 having finished 14th in the British Best All-Rounder and whilst I still ride two wheels it tends to be with the support of a 1200cc engine. Bradford was historically a hotbed of cycling enthusiasm and in my book, ROOM AT THE TOP I narrate the story behind the first cycle races in the district in 1869. My club, East Bradford CC was established in 1899 and is now the oldest still in existence in the district – the club colours are those of the Bradford arms.
For my sins I am a longstanding Bradford City supporter with an extensive collection of memorabilia and artefacts featuring both City and Bradford (Park Avenue). I am particularly interested in the history of both clubs as well as that of my home, Bratfud.
In 2014 came the release of my book, A HISTORY OF BCAFC IN OBJECTS. This was intended to offer a different perspective to the history of the club and was the first volume in a series seeking to revisit the history of football in Bradford. Jason McKeown wrote the second volume, REINVENTING BRADFORD CITY – a history of the thirty years subsequent to the rebuilding of Valley Parade.
My objective has always been to write a history of the City / Avenue rivalry but it soon became apparent that you can’t tell the history of their twentieth century rivalry without an understanding of what happened in the nineteenth century. What is astounding is that until now the period has been overlooked and very little, if anything written about it. The third and fourth volumes in what became known as the BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED series were published in 2016. ROOM AT THE TOP and LIFE AT THE TOP feature the nineteenth century origins of football and the rivalry of the Manningham and Bradford clubs at Valley Parade and Park Avenue respectively.
The fifth volume in the series WHO WE ARE by Jason McKeown examined how the history Manningham FC / Bradford City AFC has shaped the club of today. A sixth volume, LATE TO THE GAME has been written by Rob Grillo exploring the origins of soccer in Bradford and was published in May, 2019.
A seventh volume is planned for release later in 2019 and there are plans for another three books between 2020-22 which will include WOOL CITY RIVALS – FALL FROM THE TOP by myself, featuring the twentieth century rivalry of Bradford City and Bradford (Park Avenue).
You can find detail of the BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED series by following the link. When complete, the collected volumes will provide a definitive history of Bradford football from its origins to the present day and contradicts many of the false narratives that have been told. Link to purchase the books here
You can reach me at johnpdewhirst-at-geemale-dott-commmmmmm or tweet @jpdewhirst
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