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Bradford City

Formed 1903

Elected to Division Two 1903

Kit History

Sept 1903 a j p r

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bradford city 1903-07

1903-1907 a m r

1907-1908 a m r

1908-1909 a s

bradford city fc 1909-15

1909-1915 a m r

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1919-1920 a r

1920-1923 a r

bradford city 1923-24

1923-1924 a r

1924-1928 a r

bradford city 1928-29

1928-1929 a r

1929-1931 a k r

bradford city 1932-33

1932-1933 r

1933-1934 a r

1934-1935 a r

bradford city 1936-37

1935-1938 a

bradford city 1945-46

1938-Sept 48 a l m r

bradford city 1948-49 kit

Oct 48-March 49 a m r

bradford city april 1949

April-May 49 a c r

bradford city august 1949

Aug-Sept 1949 r

bradford city 1949-50

Sept 49-1950 r

bradford city 1950-51

1950-1951 r

1951-1952 a r

1952-1953 a r

1953-1956 a r

1956-1959 a r

bradford city april 1957

April 1957 r

v Airdrie Floodlights

1959-1960 f r

1960-1962 a k r

bradford city fc 1962-63

1962-1963 q t

1963-1964 a r

1964-1965 a

1965-1968 a k r

1968-1969 a r

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1969-1972 a

1972-1973 a g

1973-1974 a

1974-1975 a

Litesome
bradford city 1975-77

1975-1977 a g

Litesome
bradford city 1976 fa cup quarter final

6 March 1976

FA Cup QF
Litesome

1977-1978 a g

Admiral

1978-1979 a g

Admiral

1979-1981 a

Litesome

1981-1982 a

Litesome

1982-1983 a i

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Patrick

1983-1984 1 a d e

Patrick
bradford city 1983-84

1983-1984 o

Patrick

1984-1985 a

Admiral

1985-1987 a

Admiral

1987-1988 a

Bukta

1988-1990 a i

Bukta

1990-1991 a v

Frontrunner

1991-1993 a v

Admiral

1993-1994 a v

Beaver International

1994-1996 a i v

Beaver International

1996-1997 1 a i v

Opening league and cup games only
Beaver International
bradford city 1996-97 kit

1996-1997 2 i

Beaver International

1997-1999 a v

Asics

1999-2001 a v

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Club own brand

2001-2003 a v

Diadora

2003-2004 a v

Diadora

Aug-Sept 2004 a

Surridge

Oct 2004-2006 a o v

Surridge

2006-2007 a b

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Surridge

2007-2008 b h v

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Surridge
bradford city home kit 2008-09

2008-2009 b v

Surridge
bradford city 2009-10

2009-2010 b v

Surridge
bradford city 2010-11

2010-2011 b v

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Nike
bradford city afc 2011-12 home kit

2011-2012 b

Nike
bradford city fc 2012-13 home kit

2012-2013 b

Nike
bradford city afc 2014-14 home it

2013-2014 b

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Nike
bradford city 2014-15

2014-2015 b

Nike
bradford city 2015-16

2015-2016 b

Avec
bradford city 2016-17 1st kit

2016-2017 b

Avec
bradford city 2017-18

2017-2018 b

Avec
bradford city 2018-19

2018-2019 b

Avec
bradford city 2019-20 1st kit

2019-2020 b

Avec
bradford city 2020-21

2020-2021 b

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Avec
bradford city 2021-22

2021-2022 b

 

Background

bradford city 1910-11 team

In 1895, a dispute over broken time payments led to rugby clubs from Lancashire and Yorkshire breaking away from the Rugby Football Union to form the Northern Rugby Union (which evolved new rules that would become Rugby League). At the time Bradford FC*, which drew its membership from the city's upper and middle classes was the leading rugby side in the city while Manningham FC*, whose members were mainly from the working class, were a second-string team.

By the turn of the century, Manningham had fallen on hard times, recording a loss of £660 in the 1902-03 season. Across the Pennines, the professional Lancashire clubs playing the association game were thriving and following an Extraordinary General Meeting on 26 March 1903, it was decided to form a professional association team, to be called Bradford City AFC, and play rugby and soccer on alternate weekends.

A delegation traveled to London on 25th May to apply for admission to the League, despite the fact that Bradford City had no players and had never played a game. The infant club was accepted with open arms and the delegation returned to Bradford in triumph. At the Belle Vue public house they celebrated what was described as ‘the greatest football scoop ever known’. City had joined the League without having played a single match. At the AGM five days later the decision to adopt football was ratified and the idea of playing rugby on alternate weekends was quietly dropped. Over the following years, several more struggling professional rugby teams in Yorkshire followed Manningham's example and switched codes.

For the first few months of their inaugural season, City wore the claret and amber hooped jerseys of the rugby team before their new vertically striped shirts were delivered. It is incidentally believed that the claret and amber colours, unique in the League, were those of the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment.

By the end of 1906, Bradford City AFC were attracting an average of over 11,000 spectators while Bradford FC's gates had fallen to 4-5,000, A proposal was put forward in April 1907 to merge the two clubs and play at the rugby club's far bigger Park Avenue stadium. With City on the brink of the First Division, there were clear advantages to a merged club playing in a larger stadium, not least of which was that they would no longer compete for paying spectators. Initially the proposal was rejected by Bradford's overwhelmingly middle-class membership who furthermore resolved to leave the Northern RU and rejoin the RFU. Bradford's chairman, Arthur Briggs, refused to accept the result and steam rollered the merger proposal through. It was then the turn of Bradford City's members to vote: there was fury at what many saw as an attempt by the wealthier rugby club to co-opt everything that City had worked so hard to achieve and the proposal was thrown out by 1,031 votes to 487.

bradford city fc crest 1909City won the Division Two championship in 1908 and gained promotion to Division One. In 1903 the team had adopted the crest of the borough of Bradford, and this featured on their shirts from 1909 until 1923 (making a final appearance in the 1933-34 season). In 1911 City finished fifth in Division One, their highest ever placing and won the FA Cup, beating the then powerful Newcastle United 1-0 in a replay. The distinctive, yoked shirts of the period became forever associated with this side and were to be revived on several occasions.

The nickname of "The Bantams" dates from 1909 after a horseshoe, their previous lucky charm, was lost and was the suggestion the daughter of Tom Fattorini, a club director and owner of the firm that made the second FA Cup which the club won in 1911.

There was to be no further glory, however, and City went into long term decline, dropping into Division Two in 1922 and then into Division Three (North) in 1927. Although the club returned to Division Two only two years later, it would be a temporary recovery and in 1937 The Bantams found themselves back bradford city fc crest early 50sin Division Three (North) where they would remain for 23 years before being relegated to Division Four in 1961.

In October 1948 a new board was appointed and re-launched the club. As part of this process the old yoked shirts were revived part way through the season and the old nickname of The Bantams replaced the Paraders. According to John Dewhirst, an authority on City's history, a bantam appeared on the players' shirts briefly in the early 1950s and this can now be confirmed by reference to Wool City Rivals (see credits)..

bradford city crest 1966Throughout the early 1960s, City experimented with various combinations of claret and amber before settling on iconic striped shirts with black shorts in 1965. In 1966 a new crest, featuring the boar's head (taken from the civic coat of arms) was adopted but this did not appear on team shirts.

bradford city crest 1972Further experimentation with playing strips followed in the 1970s, with first plain claret and then all-amber kits being worn, both being embroidered with a simple cypher.

Aside from the 1977-78 season, the team now wore predominantly white strips with claret and amber trimmings. The Admiral strips worn bradford city fc crest 1978between 1978 and 1981 had yet another new badge in a very modernistic style embroidered on to them.

The early Eighties were a bleak period for the club, with Valley Parade in a state of advanced disrepair and financial problems mounting. In December 1981 they were re-launched as "The Bantams" and over the following four years three new crests were introduced but, presumably to save costs, these were not embroidered on to the team shirts. The 1983 version included the bradford city fc crest 1983wrong year for City's formation and was dropped after one season.

In the summer of 1983, despite having been promoted back into Division Three, the club faced bankruptcy. A pre-season photograph shows the players wearing an all-white kit but when the 1983-84 season started, the team turned out in a claret and amber kit designed by Patrick for Motherwell FC. The following season an all-white kit (favoured by manager Trevor Cherry, a former Leeds player) was adopted.

bradford city crest 1985In 1985 things were looking up for the club and the boar's head was re-introduced on a strip that featured the familiar stripes (albeit with a very peculiar shade of claret). On 11 May 1985 fans were celebrating promotion back to Division Two when tragedy struck. The wooden Main Stand was engulfed in flames and fifty-six fans died in the inferno. The horror concentrated the minds of football authorities on safety and throughout the League old stands were hastily closed and demolished while, following the Popplewell Enquiry, the construction of new wooden structures at sports grounds was prohibited. The town rallied to support the club who enjoyed five seasons in Division Two before being relegated once again. Ever since that disaster, black has featured in the home shirts as a mark of respect to those who died.

bradford city crest 1991In 1991 the boar's head was retired for the second time and new badge introduced with the bantam cock again in evidence, although it now looked more like a full-sized cockerel than a fighting bantam.

In the late Nineties, City climbed up from Nationwide Division Two (the old third Division) bradford city fc 2003 centenary crestall the way to the Premier Division where they spent two unforgettable seasons 1999-2001. In 2003-04 the Bantams marked their centenary with the obligatory special crest.

The following season City briefly wore a replica of their original claret and amber vertically striped shirts with white shorts but the deal with the manufacturer, Diadora, collapsed after the supplier used images of the Bradford City fire in their promotional material without the consent of the club. Surridge supplied City with kit from their catalogue for the rest of the season.

The Nike strip for 2012-13 was chosen to evoke City's first ever kit, inherited from Manningham RFC. In a memorable season, City reached the Capital One League Cup final after knocking out Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa on the way. Although they were beaten by Swansea City in the final, they were the first fourth-tier club to reach a Wembley final, earning a cool £2.3m in the process.

The steam continued to turn out in various combinations of their traditional colours over the following decade but in 2021-22 they adopted a revival of the white shirts with claret and amber shoulder flashes worn forty years previously when they became known as "The Bantams" and won automatic promotion from the fourth tier.

With acknowledgements to Richard Sanders' "Beastly Fury" (Bantam Press 2009), from which much of the detail of the failed merger between Bradford City and Bradford RFC is derived and John Dewhirst for his help with the crest history.

You are welcome to Contact Me with corrections and additions.

Sources

* Prior to the First World War rugby was the dominant team game in Yorkshire and rugby teams used the suffix "Football Club (FC)" in their name. The new teams that played the association game generally used the term "Association Football Club (AFC)" to distinguish them from their rugby rivals.

Crests are the property of Bradford City AFC.