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Match Previews

🔎 The Opposition: Bradford City

Jed Penberthy's look on the Bantams

9 February 2022

Exeter are back on the road on Saturday with a fourth fixture this season against our friends from Bradford City.

Before the game, here’s another chance to reacquaint with the Bantams.

  • Founded: 1903
  • Nicknames: The Bantams
  • Honours: FA Cup (1911), Division 2 (1907/08), Division 3 (1928/29, 1984/85)
  • Home Kit: AVEC SPORT White shirts with Claret and Amber V-Neck, Claret shorts and white socks.
  • Away Kit: AVEC SPORT Claret and Amber halved shirt, black shorts and black socks.
  • Form: WLDLW (11th in League Two)

The nickname Bantams resembles the clubs almost iconic shirt colour scheme, of a chicken. It’s thought that the characteristic of bantams- a breed of poultry bird- as small but fearless fighting creatures suited the self-image of the club and typified its personality.

This season, Bradford will play with their Kits reversed as their white home shirt reflects on the 40th anniversary of their memorable promotion to the third tier.

The West Yorkshire side grew out of their ‘small phase’ rather swiftly. Bradford were inducted into the Football League immediately upon formation having never played a single professional game of football before. Trivia only shared with current European Champions Chelsea.

Bradford1911.jpg

With a Division 2 title already claimed in their infancy, Bradford won the FA Cup for the first and only time in 1911- with a 1-0 replay win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

On the pitch the football club still had history to write. In 1998/99 Bradford finished second in Division One to gain promotion to the Premier League under the watchful eye of Paul Jewell. A year later they qualified for the Intertoto Cup, losing to Zenit St Petersburg in the Semi-finals.

In 2001 the Bantams were relegated and started a slow decline down the Football League. In 2013, Bradford became the first fourth tier side in 51 years to reach the League Cup final, but they were soundly beaten by Swansea City at Wembley.

Bradford have recruited well this season, though may feel their consistency needs to improve going into the final months of the campaign. A 1-0 win on Tuesday night against Stevenage gives Derek Adams hope that things may be going in the right direction.

Manager

Derek Adams

The fiery Scotsman joined Bradford City over the summer, just weeks after guiding Morecambe to League One via the Play-offs.

Adams spent his most of his 17-year playing career in Scotland, only switching to Burnley for two games in 1996. His longest stay was at Motherwell between 1998-2004 where he featured over 150 times for The Steelmen.

BradfordAdams.jpg

His first managerial job in England at Plymouth Argyle in 2015, before making the switch to Morecambe. Last season was arguably his most impressive, guiding the Shrimps to play-off destiny- with a 1-0 extra time victory over Newport County.

 He has an impressive record as a manager, with a 42%-win rate in over 500 games on the touchline. There’s always a story with Adams when he faces Exeter and Saturday may write the next chapter in an entertaining tale.

Stadium

  • Name: Utilita Energy Stadium
  • Capacity: 25,136
  • Year opened: 1886
  • Address: Valley Parade, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD8 7DY

The original home of Manningham Rugby Club, Valley Parade was opened nearly twenty years before Bradford City’s formation. Sitting just outside the City Centre, the now sponsored Utilita Energy Stadium is seen as one of the iconic British football grounds.

BradfordVP.JPG

The first association football game to be played at Valley Parade in 1903 was a friendly against Sheffield United’s FA Cup winning side. The match was organised to boost interest in football after the loss of its Rugby club. This worked, as 11,000 spectators watched Bradford’s first league game against Gainsborough a few months later.

In 1911, the ground hosted 39,146 fans for an FA Cup tie against Burnley during the clubs winning run, which to date makes it the longest standing attendance record in the Football League, dating back nearly 90 years.

One To Watch

Andy Cook

The Bantams stand-out player so far this season is summer signing Andy Cook. Leading the line almost single-handedly, Cook has netted ten times already this season- almost double than any other Bradford player.

BradfordCook.jpg

The 31-year-old moved to Valley Parade in the summer on a free from Mansfield Town after a successful loan spell in West Yorkshire last term. The mid 2010’s was his most prolific spell as a striker in non-league, scoring nearly 100 goals in less than four years for Barrow and Tranmere Rovers, ending in promotion to the Football League with the Merseyside club.

Now looking to bolster the Bantams up the Football League, Cook goes into Saturday with two goals and an assist in the last five games.

Head to Head

There’s no real trend to encounters with Bradford City. The record is fairly even for both sides and both teams are capable of big results against the other. The sides have met seven times in the 21st century with four wins for Exeter and two for Bradford.

Ray Bradford.jpg

In total, 130  goals have been shared between the two clubs, in 44  games- averaging nearly three goals a game! That said, there has also been five 0-0 draws over the 60 year history of this fixture.

The Grecians have already played Bradford four times this season after the FA Cup’s infamous replay but the Reds can take heart knowing they have had the better of recent results.

  • Exeter City wins: 17
  • Draws: 14
  • Bradford City wins: 16

Recent encounters

Exeter City 2 Bradford City 1 | The Emirates FA Cup First Round Replay | St James Park | November 20, 2021

The Grecians came from behind in the replayed replay with Tim Dieng and George Ray netting in front of the Big Bank.

Bradford City 1 Exeter City 1 | The Emirates FA Cup First Round | Utilita Energy Stadium | November 6, 2021

Sam Nombe rescued a replay with a close range effort after Josh Key’s mazy run.

Exeter City 0 Bradford City 0 | Sky Bet League Two | St James Park | August 7, 2021

Both clubs opened the season with a cagey goalless draw at the Park.

And Finally…

A predominantly rugby city, in 1903 Manningham RFC- who played at Valley Parade- held an archery contest to fundraise to help with financial difficulties. During the event, the rugby club were persuaded to change disciplines and swap the handling code, for footwork instead, establishing Bradford City AFC


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