The Story of Bradford Boys by John Bulled 1994
As we have seen, the immediate post-war years were years of modest success for the Association; the City team had not proceeded beyond the 4th Round of the English trophy and its best efforts had been appearing in the 'Wylie 'semi finals of 1945 / 1946 and 1949 / 1950.The next 15 years were to see:
b) one run to the 6th Round and three to the 5th Round in the 'English'
c) the sharing of the 'Wylie' in 1963/1964 and 1965/1966;
d) two further appearances in the 'Wylie' final and three semi final appearances.
In George's first season the City side reached the 4th Round of the English; in the 2nd round they comfortably beat what George described as, "Halifax's best team for years" 4-0, at the Shay, while the 3rd Round produced one of those one-sided games tat was liable to come up when there were so many small Associations, Airedale and Wharfedale, "weakened by flu", being dispatched 12-0 at Bradford Rovers; Barker (Hanson) scored five times, three times in the first ten minutes.
At that point the fun had to stop; Bradford had not beaten Sheffield since 1923 and the sequence was not to be broken just yet. The 4th Round game was played on the E.S.C. ground Sheffield on December 18th, 1954, and was won by the home team 4-0. The Secretary commented, "after being on top in the first quarter of an hour Bradford fell away and were well beaten. Kitson (Grange) at centre half and Carroll (Barkerend) at left back were outstanding."
The 1955 / 1956 season saw the City side reach the 5th Round for the first time since 1937/1938. In the 2nd Round they played Ashlar at Bradford Rovers and established a new scoring record by beating them 15-0; Jones (Princeville) scored 5, Bowers (Hanson) 4 and Ellis (Hanson) 3. "Ashlar" the Secretary comments were "very weak opposition, as the score suggests." It is interesting that, even for such an 'unattractive' game, tickets were issued (250 adults at 9d and 750 boys at 6d) and 200 tram-bills placed. The after match function was held, as was customary, in the Highfield School canteen; the meals this season cost 2s/8d per head, an increase of 2d on the previous season. At the committee meeting on November 30th the Treasurer reported a gate of £8-8s-9d; expenses were £13-10s -3d producing a loss of £5-1s-6d. In the 3rd Round, again played at Parry Lane, Scarborough were the visitors, fielding according to George "one of the biggest teams we have ever met." In spite of the physical disadvantages, and in spite of being without their Captain, Clay (St Bede's) in the second half, Bradford recorded a 2-0 win. The 4th Round (Divisional Final) brought York to Parry Lane. In his Minute Book entry, the Secretary enthused "Bradford played brilliantly and only fine play of the York goalkeeper prevented a runaway victory"; the score was in fact 3-0. This win took Bradford into the competition proper for the first time since 1938 and the Yorkshire Sports drew attention to a new policy regarding team selection. "Trials are held each season and from these, boys are selected to attend a coaching class which meets weekly, both winter and summer."
At this particular time the 5th Round of the trophy competition was an 'open' draw - a short lived experiment that not only required Bradford to visit East Ham but also produced such pairings as Swansea v Wood Green or East London, West Ham v Salford, Medway v Sunderland and Liverpool v Poole. With both East and West Ham desiring to use Upton Park and West Ham Utd. involved in the FA Cup, the securing of the ground for the match was a problem; in the event the 'Hammers' received a home draw in the 4th Round of the FA Cup, so the East Ham v Bradford game was staged at Flanders field, a council ground.
The Bradford party travelled to London on the 3-05 train on Friday and was accommodated at the Cora Hotel in upper Woburn Place, quite handy to King's Cross. A last minute team change, due to injury, brought Carroll (Drummond) in place of Askham (Hanson). "Bradford attacked strongly in the first half and were unlucky when a shot from Jones (Princeville) struck the cross bar and rebounded into play, East Ham scored immediately after the interval and increased their lead in the 51st minute. Our boys seemed to be tiring after their long journey, but rallied strongly and, 10 minutes from the end, struck back with 2 goals in 2 minutes, by Ellis (Hanson) and Jones. Before the end Carroll hit the bar with a terrific shot. The party returned to Bradford on the 6-10 train from King's Cross, having dined on the train and reaching its destination (if the train were on time) at 10-41. Quite a weekend! The receipts from the game were £62-2s-8d, a loss being incurred of £42-10s-8d.
Hurried arrangements now had to be made for the replay on the following Saturday, 28th January. It goes without saying that Valley Parade had already been booked provisionally. Prices of admission were to be 1s 6d (Stand) 1s 0d - adults and 6d - boys, for the ground. 300 single bills for the BCT vehicles and 960 programmes (to be sold at 1d) were to be printed. The visiting party was to be accommodated at the Talbot Hotel at a cost of £2-2s-6d per head and lunch was to be put on at Busby's. The Lord Mayor, the Chairman of the Education Committee, the Director and his Deputy were invited as guests to the match and the subsequent function.
Bradford fielded the same side as had played at East Ham and the game attracted a gate of 3,810. Unfortunately the boys could not repeat their heroics of the previous week and were well beaten by 3 goals to nil. "Too bad to be true" wrote George sadly in the Minute Book. It was perhaps a little consolation that the gate receipts of £170-17s-8d produced a profit of £60-5s-5d.
The 1956/1957 season was less exciting as far as the 'English' was concerned. There were two workmanlike wins, both at Parry Lane, against Spen Valley (3-0) and Don and Dearne (2-0), but the third round produced an unpleasant shock. We were due to play Halifax at The Shay and confidence was such that tentative arrangements were made for the 4th Round game v Scunthorpe. In spite of changes "in an effort to put some much needed punch into the forward line", Bradford failed to score, while Halifax managed the one necessary gaol. "A shocking display by our team", the Secretary commented - "Defeat a blessing in disguise" (George didn't really believe that!) Later in his Annual Report for the season, the Secretary referred to the "Pathetic and soul destroying performance." His natural optimism soon re-surfaced however "We shall keep trying and are confident that, ere long, we shall win a Trophy. If I thought otherwise I would resign immediately."
Season 1956 / 1957 registered an improvement, the City team reaching the 5th Round, where they entertained Liverpool, the first occasion on which the two Association had met in a Trophy competition since Bradford's Trophy-winning season of 1915/1916. In the earlier games the City side had beaten Craven at Bradford Rovers 2-0 in the 2nd Round, and Rothwell and Stanley by 5-0 on the same ground in the 3rd; in this game Padgett (Saltaire) completed a hat-trick. The 4th Round game at Belle Vue , Doncaster on December 28th was a real nail-biter. As George commented "What a night! Oh, my ulcers!" The home side established a 2-0 led at half time, but in the second half Bradford were a "transformed side", clawing themselves back to equality. "Then", wrote the T&A reporter, " with the referee looking at his watch, Beanland (Belle Vue) broke away on the left and pushed the ball forward to Saville (Barkerend) who scored a brilliant goal to complete his hat-trick." The stage was thus set for the meeting with Liverpool at Valley Parade on December 21st 1957. The arrangements were made with all the care that was traditional with the Bradford Association. The Liverpool party was met at the Exchange Station at 6-42 on the Friday evening and were accommodated at the Talbot Hotel.
The match was to commence at 10-45 and prices of admission were fixed at: Centre Stand 2/-, End Stand 1/6d, Ground 1/- and 6d. Tickets were ordered as follows - 750 at 2/-, 1,000 at 1/6d, 4,000 at 1/- and 7,000 at 6d. Advertising was by means of 500 bills (10" by 8") and notices in the local press. The post-match function was arranged for Carlton Grammar School. There was a good deal of pre-match publicity and an article in the T&A on the previous Tuesday carried photographs of the current side and that of 1915/1916. The game ended in a 2-1 win for Liverpool, although Bradford had taken the lead after 20 minutes through Towers (St Mary's). Barely five minutes into the second half disaster stuck for Bradford when Tyrer "finished off a Liverpool attack with a mild shot and Kernall (Grange) deflected the ball into his own net." Only three minutes later Liverpool struck again with a second goal and this lead sufficed to give them victory. George Tavender singled out Kelly (Wibsey), centre half, and Smith (St Mary's) left half as Bradford's outstanding players. His final summing up - "the end of a dream!" the gate was £131-6s-9d, expenses £ 108-17s-7d, (profit to be shared) £22-9s-2d.
1958 / 1959 was a poor year, Doncaster dismissing us in our very first English trophy game at Parry Lane. They took the lead in the fifth minute and increased it in the third minute of the second-half. The game had at least one point of interest as being the first game played in Bradford in which substitutes were allowed.
The next two seasons were, however, successful ones. In 1959 /1960 we reached the 5th Round and played seven matches altogether. The first of these was against Huddersfield at Parry Lane in the first Round on October 10th. Conditions were difficult, the pitch "after no rain for months" was like concrete and a swirling wind constantly raised the dust. The conditions however, were quite to the liking of Couzens (Carlton) who registered a hat trick in a 4-1 win. The 2nd Round win was closer (2-0) but, as it was against Barnsley at Dodsworth, it was even more satisfying. The Secretary described it as a "brilliant show" and the Yorkshire Sports commented that "Bradford were much the bigger team (against Barnsley!) and on this showing will go far in the competition."
The 3rd Round involved us in a trip to Goole; we were without Couzens and Roper (goal-keeper) and only managed a 1-0 win, though the Secretary opined that we "should have scored 10", adding that the inside forward positions need strengthening.
We made heavy weather of the 4th Round too; York were the opposition and Parry Lane again the venue. A goal keeping error gave York a good start, but we equalised before half time through Bayliss (All Saints). We did all the attacking in the second half. "Hit the bar 3 times. Off side goal disallowed. Luck right out" all the attacking produced only one goal through Thompson (Highfield), and York broke away two minutes from the end to equalise. This draw necessitated a visit to Bootham Crescent the following week, and this time Bradford made no mistake, giving "their best display of the season". Thompson (2), Bayliss and Couzens were the scorers and Walker (Priestman) left back, was specially commended.
The 5th Round game with Stoke was due to have been played at Valley Parade on 16th January 1960 but weather conditions forced a postponement, and the match was played at Park Avenue on the following Saturday. Bradford had more of the play, "but could not penetrate a gallant Stoke defence" and the game ended in a goalless draw." The Secretary commented, "Oh those forwards. We should have won in a canter. Is this it? They can do it." But they didn't. In the replay at Port Vale the following week they lost by a single goal in extra time. The Yorkshire Sports selected Roper, the goalkeeper, Barrie Wright and Thomas (Drummond), the centre half, as Bradford's best players. George Tavender earmarked Roper, Thompson, Mc Grath (St Bede's), left half and Bayliss right wing, adding quizzically, "The rest? Ugh!"
The 1960 / 1961 season was arguably the most successful all-round. season the Association has ever enjoyed, the City team reaching the Quarter Final stage of the English Trophy and the Final of the 'Wylie' only to be beaten in both competitions by a highly-talented Barnsley side, which went on to win both competitions. The basis of the team's success was, of, course, the skill strength and experience of Barrie Wright, now in his third year in the team and destined before its end to captain England, but the team contained other talented players, two of whom, J Clarke (St Bede's) and G Keighley (Belle Vue) won county caps.
The early season 'friendly 'Matches, against the modest opposition of Halifax (3-0), Keighley (12-1), Huddersfield (5-2) and Airedale and Wharfedale (12-1) had produced a goal difference of 52 - 4 and, perhaps, some complacency, for the team's performance against Scarborough at Parry Lane in the 2nd Round of the 'English' (a 2-0 win) was disappointing; " There'll be some changes made" warned George in his scrapbook. Leeds were Bradford's 3rd Round opponents at Parry Lane and changes were made; three new players, J Golby (Hanson), D Whitfield (Belle Vue) and L. Kinsella (Saltaire) were introduced; equally significant was the switching of Keighley from left wing to Centre forward. The result was a 4-0 win, "a grand performance", wrote George, and a £30 gate.
The 4th Round commitment was a visit to Grimsby. Bradford had to compete with "a strong wind and intermittent hail storms" in the first half; having held out successfully, they conceded a goal immediately after the interval, but then Barrie Wright took over, scoring two goals, on the first occasion "beating eight men before shooting the equaliser".
1961 began with the 5th Round tie v Oldbury played at Valley Parade on 14th January. The arrangements followed the usual pattern for 'big' games; the Lord Mayor of Bradford and the Mayor of Oldbury were to be invited and sherry was to be dispensed in the Director's room at Valley Parade. The start was delayed, the pitch being bone-hard. Star of the match was Keighley with his second hat -trick in successive Trophy matches.
The 6th Round provided Bradford with another home tie, the opposition being provided by Worksop. Who, with their limited resources (22 schools including Primaries) had done very well to have reached this stage of the competition. The match was played at Park Avenue on 4th February. Another 4-0 win was registered and the voracious Keighley collected his fourth hat-trick of the season. 2.989 spectators saw the game played in shocking weather; receipts were £147-10s-0d, of which the club received 10%. By this time Bradford's exploits had attracted attention outside Yorkshire. "Bradford are my tip", wrote Walter Evans in the 'Daily Mirror'. There was, however, one small obstacle in the shape of Barnsley, whose side included Alan Ogley, in goal (winner of 5 England caps that season) as well as Jimmy Greenhough and Alan Woodward, who were later to have distinguished professional careers. The Quarter Final was played at Valley Parade on the morning of Saturday 25th February before 3,758 spectators, including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, the Mayor of Barnsley and the Managers of Bradford City and Leeds United. It was, as was to be expected, a tense struggle " in which both defences kept a stranglehold throughout". Each side scored once and both goals resulted from goalkeeping errors. Bradford took the lead after 40 minutes when a shot from Clarke " spun into the net from the arms of Ogley." Barnsley's equaliser came six minutes from time. Dunwell (Saltaire), making his debut, "tried to bounce the ball in the muddy goal-area. The ball stopped on the ground and Woodward nipped between two defenders to slash it into the net." The replay took place at Oakwell, Barnsley, on Saturday 11th March. On this occasion Barnsley won 2-0. "The day the 'new plan' failed. What a tragedy", the Secretary wrote, somewhat obscurely. The Yorkshire Sports' singled out Clarke and Keighley as Bradford's best forwards, while in addition to Wright, Rhodes (Hanson) was a stalwart in the half back line. Barnsley were to go on to beat Swansea in the semi final and Liverpool in the Final of the Trophy competition.
In 1961 / 62 Bradford reached the Final of the 'Wylie' again but they had little success in the 'English'. A decisive 7-0 win against Halifax at Parry Lane in the 1st Round when Bannister (Grange) scored six times ("Another cap coming up? Suggested George) and a 3-1 win at the same venue in the 2nd v Leeds when Bradford took their fewer chances, enabling them to reach the 3rd; here they played Sheffield (at Parry Lane again) and lost 0-2 "a shocking performance - two gift goals " was the Secretary's summing up.
There was another good 'run' in the English Trophy in 1962 / 1963, with Bradford reaching the quarter-finals again. The 2nd Round game provided another 'whitewash' at Parry Lane, Harrogate being beaten by ten clear goals; Leonard (Eccleshill) scored six of them. Spen Valley, also visiting Parry Lane gave Bradford a much harder fight; they had 9/10ths of the play, but some gallant goal keeping and some help from the woodwork kept Spen in the game and they were in the lead for some time, but goals from Legg (Eccleshill) and Terry Hibbitt (Tyersal) gave the home team a somewhat undistinguished win. There was another hard game at Parry Lane in the 4th round when Leeds were the opposition. "Driving wind and rain" made conditions so bad that the referee had to hand his whistle over to one of the linesmen. Bradford 's superior skill was nullified by Leeds' superior physique and the game ended in a goal less draw. In the replay at East End Park, Leeds, Bradford "gave a splendid exhibition of football" with the diminutive Hibbitt, who scored one of the two goals, the outstanding player".
There followed one of those exasperating 'waits' that some English winters provide; we had played Leeds on 20th December 1962; it was to be 9th March 1963 before we made the journey to Chester-Le-Street in the 5th Round, icy conditions causing a series of postponements. When the game did finally take place we made life difficult for ourselves by squandering numerous chances and it required long-range shots from half backs Sykes (Beckfoot) and Newlove (Lapage) to give us a hard earned win by 3 goals to 2.
The 6th Round brought 'new' opponents in the form of Ilkeston & Heanor, who had brought off good wins against Derby, Chesterfield and Sunderland in their 'passage'. The game was played at Valley Parade on Monday 25th March, the gate being a disappointing 1,000 (representing a financial loss of £17 -14s-0d). There was no overnight stay, but a pre-match meal at Busby's and sandwiches in the refreshment room after the game. Ilkeston had established a 2-goal lead after half an hour, but two goals in as many minutes (Hibbitt & Leonard) brought Bradford to the interval on level terms. The second half was all Bradford's and further goals came from Newlove, Whelan (St Bede's) and Hibbitt, "the best of the match", to give them a 5-2 win. During the game the visitors' coach was broken into and various articles including duffel bags, thermos flasks and a radio stolen; they must have been impressed to hear that on the following morning a local labourer had been jailed for three months for the offence.
The win gave Bradford the opportunity to reverse their defeat by Stoke in the 1959/1960 season; in the interim Stoke had won the Trophy in 1961/1962. The game played on Thursday evening, 4th April at Park Avenue before a crowd of almost 4,000, including as guests Councillor Cousins, T F Davies (Director of Education), J W Averis (P E Organiser) and the Town Clerk, Director of Education and the PE Organiser from Stoke. " on view to-night" said the programme notes," are two of the finest centre halves in England", Peter Newlove (Bradford) and William Bentley (Stoke), who were both due to play in the England v The Rest match at Cambridge on the following Saturday.
A certain amount of controversy and unpleasantness attended the game; in his Annual Report to the 1963 AGM the Secretary commented that "the Bradford team proceeded to give Stoke a lesson in sportsmanship and the arts of football. They were a joy to watch and Stoke's only answer seemed to be to adopt tactics which did nothing to enhance their reputation as holders of the Trophy." The visitors had a large slice of luck near the end (with the score at 1-1) when a shot hit the crossbar bounced down and into the arms of their goalkeeper. "Only one person present thought it wasn't a goal. Who? Yes, the referee." More prosaically, the 'Yorkshire Post' stated that "Stoke were a big disappointment' some of their tackling earned them the displeasure of the 3,833 spectators." The replay took place at Northwood Playing Fields, Hanley, on 9th April and this too was an eventful game, though in a different way. After only two minutes Brown the Bradford goal keeper had to leave the field suffering from concussion and the Team Manager made the decision to move Madden his left back, into goal; and to bring on a substitute forward, Leonard. In view of the result, a 3-0 defeat, it was perhaps not surprising that the Team Manager's decision came in for some criticism, so much so that, at the next committee meeting on 24th April his resignation was reported.
In a subsequent letter to the 'Yorkshire Sports' (8th June, 1963) "A grateful parent (with an address in Heaton) claimed that all the boys who played at Stoke that I spoke to were behind the Team Manager in his decision. "He added the comment " that if the choice of the team had been left solely to the person who coached the players and not to a selection committee of five, Bradford would have won both the English and Yorkshire Shields." In fact in both competitions Bradford were dismissed by the ultimate winners, Sheffield beating them in the 3rd Round of the 'Wylie'. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the matter, there is no doubt that these two matches with Stoke took a permanent part in the folk-lore of 'Bradford Boys'; they were still discussed vigorously when I joined the committee in 1968.
The next five seasons (1963-1968) were poor ones as far as the English trophy was concerned, though they included our two most successful seasons on the 'Wylie'. In 1963/1964 after a 5 - 0 home win against Vale of Pickering in the 2nd Round Leeds beat us 2 - 1 at Parry Lane.
In the following year we fell at the first hurdle, being "bustled unceremoniously out" by East Riding, according to the 'Yorkshire Sports' by 3 goals to nil at Parry Lane;" a disgusting show by our boys" commented the Secretary.
The 1964/ 1965 'run' also consisted of one match, Don and Dearne being winners at Parry Lane. They were according to the Annual Report "the biggest boys I have ever seen in one team."
1966/1967 represented an improvement with a convincing 3 - 0 win against Sheffield at Parry Lane in the 2nd Round and a 2 - 0 win against Scunthorpe in the 3rd, but the 4th Round marked the end of our trail with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds at Oldfield Lane. The 'Yorkshire Sports' described the game as a 'tough battle' and the Secretary in the secrecy of his scrap-book, commented pithily, "Disgusting. Dirty Leeds." Whatever the rights or wrongs, Bradford lost through injury the services of right half Hutchinson (Grange) and Dance (Belle Vue), the goal keeper, while Crossland (Hanson), the centre half was "limping badly". Leeds' goals all came in the last 15 minutes of the game.
The last of the five years under review was 1967/1968, when the City team again reached the fourth Round. In the 2nd Round Bradford travelled to Malton to play Vale of Pickering, and, though they won 3 - 1, they were not convincing, at least 10 goal scoring chances being missed according to George Tavender. In the 3rd Round Scunthorpe were entertained at Park Avenue (1,073 gate) and beaten by 5 goals to 1; the 'T&A' described Pearson (Beckfoot) as "the biggest danger man", while the 'Daily Express' singled out Kane (Tong). Hull came to Valley Parade in the 4th Round (Attendance 1,181) and gained, according to the 'Daily Express' a "clear win " 2-0, though the Secretary saw us as "very unlucky. Should have won."
The 1968 / 1969 season was George Tavender's last as Secretary, and, though a reasonably successful one by most standards, the concluding matches in both Trophy competitions had disappointing features. In the 'English' we began with a visit to Market Weighton to play East Riding in the 2nd Round. What the 'Shipley Times' described as a profitable day on the Wolds" was only partly so; the game resulted in a 7 - 3 win and R. 'Joe' Baker (Hanson) scored a hat-trick before sustaining a broken leg which kept him out of the team for the rest of the season. Leeds came to Parry Lane on 16th November for the 3rd Round, and a most exciting game ended in a 3 - 3 draw, Bradford scored first after 20 minutes through Wood (Tong ), but Leeds not only equalised just before the interval but took a 2 - 1 lead immediately after it. "This was nullified when Gallagher (St Bede's) scored with a penalty. Leeds came back to take the lead once again, but in a storming finish Mumby (Rhodesway) equalised. The replay, a fortnight later, was even more exciting; Leeds soon established a two goal lead, but then wilted under constant Bradford pressure which produced five goals in quick succession through Mumby (2) Gallagher, Woods and Suddards (St Bede's). Now was Leeds' turn to stage a revival and two quick goals forced Bradford to hang on grimly but successfully. It also took two games to dispose of their 4th Round opponents Rotherham. The first game was played at Valley Parade on 30th December. "Rotherham," according to the 'Daily Express', adapted themselves better to the difficult conditions earlier on to build a two goal interval lead' Bradford failed to make much impression until they stormed back in the closing stages, scoring through Cullingford (St Bede's) and Hopkinson (Carlton). The replay took place at Rawmarsh on 4th January 1969 and the visitors dominated play without being able to score in the first half; however, they made the break through early in the second half when Mumby shook off four defenders to put Bradford ahead "but it was not until five minutes from the end that the game was made secure " when Flynn (Hanson) scored with a powerful shot from 20 yards." The 5th Round game v Durham was played on Durham City's ground on 18th January 1969. The ground was distinctly heavy with plentiful pools of water around, but the boys produced some remarkably good football to win by 4 clear goals. Mumby scored a hat trick and Ramsden (Grange) added the fourth goal.
1969 provided one of our more severe winters and there was now a gap in proceedings until 4th March, when the 6th Round tie v Kirby was played at Valley Parade. Unfortunately Bradford quite failed to do themselves justice and, apart from a deceptively bright start, " they were beaten by a quicker and more accomplished side."
The first season in this period was, as far as the 'Wylie' was concerned, an odd one. Rounds 2 and 3 produced overwhelming victories against Goole 13 - 1 and Woodlesford 13 - 0, both played at Bradford Rovers. Barker (Hanson) scored 9 goals in two games and Wilson (St Joseph's) six. In the 4th Round Don and Dearne were the opposition, again at Parry Lane .The pitch was ice bound at the appointed kick-off time, so the game started 45 minutes late. The visitors scored after 32 minutes " the goal keeper was adjudged to have carried the ball over the line? Our boys fought back magnificently and equalised - a solo effort by White (Carlton). A splendid clean-fought game under Arctic conditions." The replay at Denaby came as something of an anti-climax, Bradford being beaten by 7 goals to 2. They suffered the ill-fortune of losing their goal keeper, Hall (Great Horton) in the 15th minute. The Secretary eulogised the side thus "They lost the match but the honours were theirs and their first half display, even under the great handicap, was the finest given by a Bradford side for many years. White, the deputy keeper gave a magnificent exhibition of goal keeping. Well-played Bradford. You deserved a better end to a grand season."
In1955 / 1956 Bradford went out in the 2nd Round; the draw was distinctly unkind. Rotherham were our 2nd Round opponents, the game being played at Rawmarsh Welfare, 'Hill 60' in George Tavender's guide book. The boys turned in a great performance recording their first-ever Trophy win at Rotherham 3-0. In the 3rd Round, at Doncaster, Bradford had to face "a bigger, stronger and faster" home side and were well beaten by 5 goals to nil.
In 1956 / 1957 Bradford reached the semi final stage of the 'Wylie'. In the 1st Round North Yorkshire were the opposition for the first time; Bradford were in the throes of reconstruction following their surprise defeat by Halifax in the English Trophy, but they managed a 2-1 win at Parry Lane. On the following Saturday they travelled to Bootham Crescent, York, where they achieved another narrow win 1-0. Fresh opposition was again the order of the day for the 3rd Round when East Riding were the visitors to Parry Lane. They were beaten 4-0 "a really magnificent display by our boys - not a weak link, Emmett (Belle Vue) scored three and Stowell (Grange), via a defender, the other Todd (Queensbury), Neville (St Bede's) and Nichols (Wibsey) were outstanding, but every boy played above himself. Augurs well for the semi final v Leeds" (Minute Book: George's eternal optimism.) The semi final v Leeds was played at Valley Parade under lights on Monday 1st April. This was according to 'Bantam', writing in the 'Yorkshire Sports' "the first time ever that a match in this competition had been played under floodlights." This was Bradford's fifth semi-final appearance; unhappily like the previous four, this game was lost. The deficit was 3-0 but the 'Yorkshire Post' report suggests that "Bradford were not an inferior side to the tune of 3 goals." The game was watched by 4, 085 spectators, and made a profit of £127-3s-4d, Bradford's share being £38-3s-0d.
There were only two 'Wylie' games in1957 / 1958. The first of these raised high expectations when Bradford dismissed the holders Barnsley on their own 'midden' by 2 goals to 1, after falling a goal behind in the first ten minutes, George enthused: "another great performance. This must be one of the finest teams Bradford has ever had. Is this our year?" Regrettably the answer was 'No'. In the second round we went to Hull and lost 2-0. It might have been more had not Terry (Allerton), the Bradford goalkeeper and an England trialist this season, not been in brilliant form. George no longer on top of the world summed up "What a shocking show."
1958 / 1959 was a poor year; by the time the 'Wylie' programme began, the 'English' had ended in a 2-0 defeat at Doncaster. "Drastic changes" in the team were made for the 1st Round 'Wylie' Trophy game v Gaskell at Parry Lane on 6th November. The most interesting of these was the selection at right back of Barrie Wright (Tyersal) on his 13th birthday, "the youngest boy to be chosen for Bradford boys for many years." Gaskell were beaten 8-0, Couzens (Carlton) scoring 4 and Harrison (Highfield) 3, as were Spen Valley 4-2 in the 2nd Round. The 3rd Round game v Don and Dearne, arranged for 17th January 1959 was postponed due to a frozen pitch; when inspected by Messrs. Tavender and Railton on the previous Thursday, the temperature was 12 degrees below freezing. The match was finally played on January 31st at Parry Lane and was won by the visitors 2-0; the turning point came when Lyons (St Bede's), the left back, scored "a beauty through his own goal."
1959 / 1960 was one of our better years; we reached the 5th Round of the 'English' and the semi final of the 'Wylie'. The first Round game was with near neighbours Keighley, at Marley Stadium on 7th November. The Mayor of Keighley (Councillor H Hammond) kicked off, but after that Keighley saw little of the play. Bradford were in rampant mood and, but for wild shooting, would have scored more goals than the six they achieved. The 2nd Round provided a pleasant 11-0 canter against Spen Valley at Parry Lane, on a waterlogged ground. Maxted (Beckfoot) and Thompson (Highfield) each scored three goals and George commented, " Lythgow (Hanson) has 'arrived' at last. Watch him now." In the third Round Bradford were given "a hard fight by Don and Dearne in the rain and mud at Valley Parade "' The visitors served up some clever football but hadn't a finishing punch" and, as Bradford's forwards "tended to bunch in front of goal", it was hardly surprising that one goal should decide the match. Barnsley came to Valley Parade on 2nd April for the semi final and won by a single goal, a penalty, "a disgusting decision" commented the Secretary, adding, "Without the penalty we'd have walked it."
In season 1960 / 1961 we finally made it to the Final. We made heavy weather of the 1st Round allowing Spen Valley to get away from Parry Lane with a 1-1 draw and our equaliser only came five minutes from the end. George's comments "Gale! ;poor gate. Shocking performance. Unlucky, but heads too big?" The 'big heads' must have contracted for the replay on17th December at Liversedge, for Spen Valley were thrashed 8-1, Keighley (Belle Vue) and Marshall (Grange) both scoring hat-tricks and Clark (St Bede's) turning in a performance described by the Secretary as "Brilliant". The 3rd Round involved a visit to High Green to play South-West Yorkshire, a hurdle easily surmounted with a 6 goals to nil win. Conditions were abominable, but this did not dampen Keighley's appetite for goals; he registered his third hat trick in as many games. For our sixth semi final appearance Doncaster came to Valley Parade on 29th March. Watched by 2,326 spectators, Bradford established a 3-1 lead through Marshall, Keighley and Kinsella, before "in a sparkling recovery Gilligan and Lovell scored to put Doncaster right back in the game. Then a lobbed free kick, taken by Barrie Wright, which went in off the post, saw Bradford through, "At last", wrote George. "Pass the Aspirins." Plenty of Aspirins were still to be needed though. It was to be 10th May before the first "leg" of the final could be played at Oakwell (needless to say, our opponents in the Final were to be Barnsley). Some 3,000 spectators saw the game, in which, after starting in fine style, Bradford fell away and lost by 3 goals to nil. Barrie Wright "did all in his power to stem the tide." Bradford faced a Herculean task in the second leg at Valley Parade on 16th May. In the event they conceded another two goals to lose 5-0 on aggregate, but they "regained some of their fighting spirit lacking in recent games and the exchanges were keen before a mix-up in defence let in Glover to score the first goal for Barnsley after 20 minutes. Bradford fought back well and early in the second half had an opportunity to reduce the arrears when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Bannister, but Ogley brought off a wonderful save. Five minutes before the end Glover scored again for Barnsley. Although defeated, it was pleasing to see the way Bradford set about their difficult task and Bannister had an excellent debut.
We were in the Final again in 1961 / 1962. The campaign began with an 11-0 "whitewash" of Gaskell at Parry Lane, Bannister claiming five of the goals. This was followed by a 'walk-over' in the second Round, Dewsbury being forced to 'scratch'. By now we were well into 1962, the 3rd Round game v Don and Dearne being played at Denaby on 5th March. "A keen, exciting game" was played "under atrocious conditions"; Bradford took an early lead and generally dominated the first half, but the second half was a different story; "the Don and Dearne half backs took command of the game". Caston (Wibsey), the Bradford goal keeper, played a "blinder", making many "superb saves, one at point-blank range from the centre forward, who was clean through." He was however, beaten from the penalty spot. Both sides "trooped off" wrote the South Yorkshire Times, to the warm applause of the shivering spectators." Now Don and Dearne had to come to Parry Lane, "where the pitch was greasy and players found difficulty in keeping their feet." Bradford had most of the play and scored three times before Don and Dearne obtained their consolation goal. The semi final against Doncaster was played at Belle Vue on 2nd April. The brief account of the game in the 'T&A' singled out centre half Sykes (Beckfoot) and Conroy (Grange), right back, as Bradford's outstanding players. Thus to the Final, where, once again, Barnsley formed the opposition. The first 'leg' was played at Valley Parade on Thursday 12 April. Bradford were without Caston (goal keeper) and Heslegrove (right half) who were replaced by Dunwell (Saltaire) and Newlove (Lapage). A 2-3 score line meant Bradford were still in with a chance, but in the second 'leg' at Oakwell on 17th April, the home side were "too clever" to the tune of 4 clear goals. " Bradford never got a grip on the Barnsley forwards, although Sykes and Allen (Hanson) put in good defensive work and Bannister was a hard working centre forward." This was Barnsley's fourth successive 'Wylie' Trophy success.
After all this excitement, the 1962 / 1963 'Wylie' was a quiet affair, almost like old times - two easy wins followed by a defeat at the hands of Sheffield, who went on to win the Trophy. The 1st Round was against Morley at Bradford Rovers, the result being a win by 8 goals to nil. Leonard (Drummond) and Terry Hibbitt each scored three goals. The team did even better in the 2nd Round, beating Keighley 10-0 at Parry Lane; Terry Hibbitt scored four of the goals. The 3rd Round game at Sheffield produced a 2-3 defeat; we took an early lead through Legg and Hibbitt added a second. However, Sheffield came back strongly in the second half which they dominated. Even the Sheffield press considered that "Bradford were a little unfortunate to lose."
For the 1963 / 1964 season the competition was re-organised. According to the BSFA Handbook for 1963/64 " In an effort to make the Competition more interesting it has been decided that teams shall be arranged in five groups with five teams in each group. Each team will play two home games and two away on the League principle. Two points will be awarded for a win and one point for a draw -- if points are equal goal average will be taken into consideration. The top team in each group will enter the Quarter Finals, and the five runners-up will play off to decide which three will enter the Quarter Finals. When the Quarter Finalists are known the Competition will be drawn on a knock out basis, with the Finals being played home and away." This re-organisation had been first discussed by the Bradford committee at its meeting on 2nd May 1962 when it had been resolved that "Bradford were in favour of the present set-up, but if a change were decided upon at the forthcoming AGM of YSAA, Bradford favoured the introduction of a subsidiary competition." The AGM decided upon the scheme described above, which, whatever its virtues, hardly gave Bradford more attractive opposition. One factor not mentioned here was the number of Association's in Yorkshire was declining; there were 25 in 1963/1964 as against 30 in the previous season.
Bradford 's opponents in their group were Airedale and Wharfedale (away), Halifax (home), Keighley (away), and Leeds (home). The first group game v Halifax at Parry Lane found Bradford "in a lethargic display", wining by 2 goals to 1. Several positional changes were made in the side, which played Airedale and Wharfedale at Farsley; according to 'Yorkshire Sports' the 3-0 victory represented an "improved display". It was certainly a day of success for Norman Beanland (Belle Vue) who registered a hat trick. Keighley having withdrawn form the competition, Bradford's final group game was against Leeds at Parry Lane. Leeds took an early lead, which they maintained in the first half, but two quick goals in succession in the second half set the home team on course to a 3-1 win, thus reversing the result of the English Trophy game earlier in the season. In the Quarter Final Bradford entertained Doncaster at Parry Lane but "the very strong wind" ruined the game which ended in a 0-0 draw. The replay in better conditions, was marked by almost constant Bradford pressure, resulting in a very impressive 4-1 win. The 'reward' for this success was a visit to Oakwell to meet Barnsley. Bradford scored an early goal through Beanland and hung on to it for the rest of the game, despite losing the services of their centre half Taylor (Carlton) with a suspected broken ankle. "Brilliant 10 man show" the Secretary commented. So for the third time in four years, Bradford were in the final of the 'Wylie'; this time Rotherham were the opposition.
The first leg was played at Rawmarsh Welfare on 1st May; Bradford had injury problems; already without Taylor as a result of his injury in the semi final, they were further weakened through injury to Novakowski (Belle Vue) and Watson (Rhodesway), Kinsella (Baildon) and Dinsdale (Northcliffe) taking their places. Under the circumstances they did well to earn a 1-1 draw. The second leg was played at Park Avenue on 6th May and Turner, Watson and Novakowski were all back in the side; Bradford established a 2-0 lead in the first half through Novakowski and Thorpe (Highfield) but Rotherham reduced the lead just before half-time. The second half was equally contested and a penalty on the closing minutes enabled Rotherham to force a draw. With an aggregate score of 3-3 the Trophy was shared, the first time Bradford had held it, albeit for six months only. The Park Avenue crowd was 2,158.
On the whole, Trophy matches were not profitable; the largest profit this season was the £6-17s-2d for the Leeds 'Wylie 'game, while the semi final with Doncaster produced a loss of £14-9s-11d. On 14th May the Bradford team was entertained by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress (Councillor and Mrs Wood) at the Town Hall.
The 1964 / 1965 season was a poor one altogether. We have already noted Bradford's 2nd Round defeat in the 'English' Trophy. They were no more successful in the 'Wylie', failing to qualify for the Quarter Finals. Wins against Airedale and Wharfedale (5-2) at Parry Lane and against Keighley (4-0) also at Parry Lane, had to be set against defeats at Halifax (0-2) and Leeds (0-3). George's Buoyant optimism was 'stretched' this season; his comments on the Halifax game; "What a shower; should have scored 6;" on the Leeds game "Scored first - disallowed. Own goal and two free kicks - goals. Lousy refereeing. Our boys played well."
The organisation of the competition was varied again in 1965 / 1966, with 4 groups of 6 teams; Bradford's opponents were Airedale and Wharfedale and Keighley (away) and Barnsley, Rotherham and South Emsall at home.
The season began in impressive style with a 5 - 2 win against South Emsall at Parry Lane, followed by a 3 - 0 win at Keighley, and best of all, a 5 - 0 win against Barnsley at Valley Parade on a frost bound pitch. The outstanding players in these three matches were Kenny Hibbitt (Fairfax), Terry Larkin (Grange), the captain, who had played for the City in the previous season, and G Walker (Wyke Manor), who had followed up his 14 goals in friendly games with 7 in the three 'Wylie' Trophy matches. The fourth match against Rotherham was played at Park Avenue on 13th December 1965; the heavy conditions (the mud was 'ankle deep') did not suit our rather lightweight side and we were beaten 4 - 1. However, success in the away game v Airedale and Wharfedale (6 - 1) gave us a Quarter Final place, which necessitated the long journey to Hull. Two first half goals scored by Blyth (Buttershaw) and Waugh (Queensbury) set us on the path to victory.
The semi-final gave Bradford the opportunity to gain revenge
for their defeat in the 'English' Trophy earlier in the season
and they seized their opportunity in some style, beating Don and
Dearne at Valley Parade by 5 clear goals. "A
scintillating display", wrote the Secretary in his Annual
Report. There was a hat trick from Turner (Eccleshill) and
goals from Walker and Halliday
Our opponents in the two - legged Final were Doncaster; four
times winners of the Trophy. The first 'leg' was played on a
very heavy pitch, (after 6 hours of rain) at Park Avenue on 17th
May, Doncaster establishing a 2 - 0 lead. The 'T&A'
commented that the visitors were "more direct" and that Bradford
were "weak near goal". However, in the second 'leg' at Belle Vue
on 20th May, they found the drier pitch more to their
liking and dominated play through-out. But they didn't score
until ten minutes from time through Blyth, a penalty, and Walker. For the second time, therefore, Bradford
shared the 'Wylie' Trophy; they still had to wait for an
outright win. It is interesting that people who were on the
committee at this time tend to remember the two ' failures'
against Barnsley rather than the two successes *(albeit partial
ones) against Rotherham and Doncaster.
The team above consisted of:
Back Row:- G.Dance ( Bellevue) G. Halliday ( Faifax) M. Brewer ( Hanson) ? Robinson (Carlton) F. Eccles (Hanson) D. Crossland (Hanson)
Front Row:- G. Blyth (Buttershaw) I.Waugh (Queensbury) G.Hudson (Cardinal Hinsley) T.Larkin (Capt .Grange) A.Turner (Eccleshill) J. Andrews (Carlton)
Unfortunately Kenny Hibbit and Gerald Walker were not present at the photo shoot. (thanks to a Correspondent for details)
This was the last year of the 'Wylie' Trophy, which had been made in Bradford and first competed for in season 1920/1921. By the start of the 1966 / 1967 season a new trophy, called simply the "Yorkshire Trophy" had been purchased. Bradford's decision to contribute to the purchase being recorded in the Minutes of the committee meeting of 22nd September 1965; £5-5s-0d. Bradford's group in 1966/1967 was reduced to four by the dissolution of the South Emsall Association.
The opening game was against Airedale and Wharfedale at Parry Lane and this resulted in a 4-0 win; this was followed by a 0-0 draw at Oakwell in a match "marked by some sterling defensive work" and "few scoring opportunities". A win over Keighley at Bradford Rovers by 5 goals to nil ensured our place in the Quarter Finals, which was just as well as the fourth game against Rotherham, (away) was lost 4-0. "We played badly", wrote the Secretary. "Deserved to lose."
Sheffield came to Parry Lane in the Quarter Final on 11th March and went away with a 1-1 draw. The replay took place at the Ball Inn Ground in Sheffield on 17th March, Sheffield winning 2-1 after extra time. George Tavender commented "Hard Luck, Bradford. They were the better team, unlucky to lose. Terrific gale blowing."
In 1967 / 1968 Bradford's group included Rotherham, Huddersfield, Keighley and Leeds. Once again, three of the four games were won, and once again the Rotherham game was lost. The first game (and a most exciting game it was) was against Keighley at Parry Lane, which produced a 6-3 win." A great show" the Secretary considered it. The second game at Oldfield Lane, Leeds, produced an even better performance; we were a goal down at half time in spite of having nearly all the play. With the advantage of the slope we continued to press throughout the second half, but it was not until the 82nd minute that we scored through Walker (St Bede's); with two minutes remaining Culling ford (St Bede's) scored the winner. "Should have been ten," wrote George. There was a third successive win when we went to Huddersfield on 22nd January, Clapham (Tong) registered a hat trick, but we blotted our copybook against Rotherham at Parry Lane, allowing them to gain a narrow 2-1 win.
The Quarter Final was against Barnsley at Oakwell on 8th March in which "a grand second half fight back" produced a 2-1 victory. There was to be no Final this year however; we "never looked anything but certain finalists in the first half, but had no answer to a second half fight back by Doncaster, in which they were prepared to substitute hard running for what they lacked in skill." They won 2-1 and went on to won the Trophy.
It is interesting that Western (Belle Vue), who was usually the Bradford goal keeper, and had an international trial on that position, played at inside right in the Barnsley and Doncaster games Briggs (Grange) took over in goal.
The programme in 1968 / 1969 was the reverse of that in the previous year; once again we obtained 6 points out of 8, losing to Rotherham but beating Huddersfield, Keighley and Leeds. The first match, against Rotherham, was played at Rawmarsh; "set to face a gale-force wind and torrential rain" Bradford were two goals down at half time. They threw all their efforts into attack in the second half, but were unable to score, and as they tired Rotherham scored two more goals. Huddersfield put up a great display in the second group game at Park Avenue, our winning goal, scored by Robert Cullingford, came only two minutes from the end. In the third match we played Keighley at Marley and, though they defended stoutly on a heavy pitch early on, once we had scored, it was largely one -way traffic. The final game, which ensured us a Quarter-Final place, was against Leeds at Parry Lane on 15th March. The two teams had already taken part in two nail-biting contests in the 'English' Trophy, but this time Bradford won decisively and impressively by three goals to nil. Disappointment lay ahead however.
In the Quarter -Final Bradford were to meet Barnsley; "the game was played at Dodsworth Welfare on a hard rutted pitch that made calculated play a travesty". Obviously the result (6-3) might have been the same if the pitch had been perfect, but the circumstances left a bitter taste - not least to George Tavender, whose optimism, faith even, had shone through in good times and bad for 15 years.
In this period 'friendly' games on the whole came to be limited to early season games preparatory to the two trophy competitions. In1954/1955 for instance, Bradford played Halifax at Parry Lane and Leeds twice in September. In 1960/1961 there were four early season friendlies, v Halifax, Keighley, Huddersfield and Airedale and Wharfedale. There was a slight variant in season 1964/1965 when Bradford were invited to compete for "the handsome new 'Springfield Trophy'", put up for competition by the Wigan and District SFA. The game resulted in a 2-2 draw, and Bradford returned without the Trophy. However, Bradford won the replay at VP 1-0 on 4th January 1965, G Fearnley (Grange) being the pick of the players.
In this period Bradford provided one schoolboy international, BARRIE Wright, details of whose career will be found in the Chapter on 'Personalities of the Association'. Seven boys received international trials; they were R.TERRY (Allerton), the goalkeeper, who played 13 times for the Association in 1956/1957 and 1957/1958. He played in the North v North Midlands trial at Blyth. D ROPER (Belle Vue), also a goalkeeper, played 11 times for Bradford in seasons 1958/1959 and 1959/1960; he was selected for the North v South trial at Kettering. B.BANNISTER (Grange) made his first appearance for Bradford in the second 'leg' of the 'Wylie' Trophy Final against Barnsley at Parry Lane on 16th May 1961 and played 9 games for the Association in season 1961/1962, scoring 12 times. He was selected for the North v North Midlands game at Southport, but had to withdraw because of influenza. P.NEWLOVE (Lapage) also played one game as an under-age boy, against Barnsley at Oakwell in the first 'leg' of the 'Wylie' Trophy final, and went on to play throughout the 1962/1963 season (11 games); his usual position was centre-half. The North v North Midlands game that year was played at Park Avenue. D CROSSLAND (Hanson), also a centre half, played for Bradford throughout the 1965/1966 season (10 times). P WESTERN (Belle Vue) was Bradford's regular goalkeeper in the 1967/1968 season, though he played twice at inside right; he played in the international trial at Seaham Harbour. R.CULLINGFORD (St Bede's) had two full seasons with Bradford Boys, playing 20 times in all. In his first season he played at inside right, but in his second year he played in one or other of the wing half positions. He was selected for the first international trial1968/1969 but withdrew in order to play for Bradford at Durham in the 5th Round of the 'English' Trophy; however, he was subsequently selected for the North v South trial at Swindon (at left back)
In addition to the above, the following 20 boys played for Yorkshire in this period: J. OSBORNE (Belle Vue), right wing in the 1954/1955 City team. P. CLAY (St Bede's), normally a right half, who played in the 1955/1956 side. M. NEVILLE (St Bede's), centre half in the 1956/1957 team. B. KELLY (Wibsey), a team-mate of Terry's in the 1957/1958 side, in which he occupied all three half back positions. G.TURNER (Drummond) was one of three Bradford Boys who obtained caps in the 1959/1960 season, the other two being Barrie Wright and David Roper. Turner was normally a centre half, but was also used by Bradford as an inside right. J. CLARK (St Bede's) was one of another trio to play for Yorkshire in 1960/1961, the other two being Barrie Wright (his second season) and GRAHAM KEIGHLEY. Clark played at inside left and Keighley at centre forward where he scored 15 'Trophy' goals for the City team. I. COOPER (Priestman) played at left back for the 1961/1962 team: BRUCE BANNISTER was the second county player in this season. W. LEGG (Eccleshill), TERRY HIBBITT (Tyersal) and K.MADDEN (Eccleshill) all played in the 1962/1963 Bradford team, Legg at left wing, Hibbitt at inside left and Madden at left back. K. NOVAKOWSKI (Belle Vue) played at inside left in the 1963/1964 team. KENNY HIBBITT (Fairfax), T LARKIN (Grange), G WALKER (Wyke Manor), who played in the 1965/1966 county side, all played for two seasons, 1964/1965 and 1965/1966, in the Bradford side, Hibbitt at inside left or sometimes left wing, Larkin first as a forward then as a centre half, and Walker at centre forward where he scored 12 goals, K. WRIGHT (Fairfax) played mainly at left half in the 1966/1967 side. N. BRIGGS (Grange), G. ROOKS (Rhodesway) and S. WALKER (St Bede's) all gained county caps in the 1967/1968 season in addition to P. WESTERN. Both Briggs and Western were goalkeepers though the latter was used by Bradford as a forward, Rooks playing at right half and Walker at left back. S. SUDDARDS (St Bede's) played with R. CULLINGFORD in the 1968/1969 side in which he was centre half.
There were three 'big' matches in Bradford in this period viz.
1 The Yorkshire v Lancashire game in 1958
2 The North v North Midlands International trial in 1963;
3 the Yorkshire v Lancashire game in 1965.
Valley Parade was once more a lucky ground for the 'Red Rose', who were successful by 3 goals to one. Yorkshire's goal was scored by Kelly (Wibsey), the only local representative in the side, though the match-officials included J.H Sutcliffe (Bradford) as referee, and C. S. Allatt (Bradford), later to be General Secretary of the ESFA, as one of the linesmen. It was perhaps an indication of the 'wind of change, within the game that the match left the Bradford Association with a loss of £10-14s-11d.
There were so many delays in the playing of this trial that the Bradford Association must more than once have regretted the impulse that made them volunteer to stage it. The original date arranged was 19th January at Valley Parade, and, at the committee meeting of 11th December previous arrangements were well under way. Hotel accommodation was booked at the Talbot Hotel and a function arranged at the 'new' Eccleshill School. Prices at Valley Parade were fixed at 2s (Stand) 1s and 6d (ground) and 1,000 programmes were printed. The proposed guest-list was Councillor Cousins, Alderman Woodgate, Councillor Walker, the Director and Deputy Director of Education, J. W. Averis, and representatives of the Bradford City and Bradford (Park Avenue) clubs. Alas the best laid schemes' The early part of 1963 saw the country swept by a series of blizzards. George Tavender was also battling to get the 5th Round English Trophy game played at Chester-le-Street. That was postponed six times and finally played on 9th March. The trial match suffered three postponements before finally being played at Park Avenue on 16th March.
The North side included one Bradford boy, Peter Newlove (Lapage), while the officials included Harold Ogden (Referee) and Bill Campbell (Linesman), both future Chairmen of BSFA. The match was won by the North Midlands by 4 goals to nil.
Rain kept the attendance down to a modest 962. Yorkshire established an early lead through Mitchell (Don and Dearne) and added to it just before half time through Millington (Don and Dearne), but Lancashire came back so strongly in the second half that Yorkshire were hard put to it, to survive. The visitors did manage a goal in the closing minutes but had earlier missed a penalty. Thus Yorkshire broke the Bradford 'hoodoo' at last. There were no Bradford boys in the side (not even as reserves) but Bill Campbell (as referee this time) and Harold Ogden (as linesman) were among the officials.
During George Tavender's time as Secretary, Bradford, like most other Associations arranged very few games for age-groups other than Under 15s. The first such games appear to have taken place in 1955. At the committee meeting of 14th January the Secretary reported that he had been approached by Leeds for a Colt's game; this was accepted provided that Leeds would also play a game against the current City side, and the games were arranged for 21st February at Oldfield Lane. There is no further indication that the matches were actually played. At the meeting of 28th February 1958 it was "resolved that a Team manager be appointed for a Colt's XI2 and, further, that Messrs. Lee and Morgan were elected, an election confirmed at the beginning of the following season. The same two gentlemen were re-elected in 1959, and in 1960 Messrs. Broadbent and Wilson were elected. Colt's Team Managers were elected annually and trials were held and coaching carried out, but there is no record of further matches until season 1963/1964, at the end of which the Secretary in his Annual Report reported " that the Colts played matches against Spen Valley."
At the committee meeting on 26th March 1965 the Team Managers, Messrs. Bentley and Firth, requested permission to arrange a game v Manchester and sought authorization to hire a coach at a cost of £10. In fact, according to the Secretary's annual report, home and away matches were played v Manchester, both "lost narrowly" as well as a game v Wigan, which we won. There appears to have been only one Under 14 game in 1965/1966, the Colts journeying to Hull in the company of the City side which was involved in a 'Wylie' Shield Quarter Final. They were successful by the large margin of 12-1, the scorers being Pyrah (3), Sutcliffe (2), McTigue (2), Hutchinson, Hammond, Stokes, Hopkinson and Barnett. The remaining Under 14 game in the period was played on 1st November 1968, when the Colts again made a Journey with the City team, which was playing East Riding at Market Weighton; on this occasion they lost 3-5.
Similarly an Under 13 squad was selected and coached and played the occasional match. As far back as 15th July 1955, the committee appointed Messrs. Bentley and Killerby as coaches for the 'Intermediates, but no Team Manager as such appears in the Handbook until 1963/1964 when G. B. Lindley's name appears. The first recorded match took place on 11th April 1964 at Parry Lane v. Harrogate, but the result was not noted. A further match v Wigan was played at Manningham Mills on 30th December 1964 to coincide with the 'Springfield Trophy' game for the Under 15s. The Secretary commented in his Annual Report that "the intermediates played Wigan with a scratch team".
As we have seen, on 14th October 1949, the committee had resolved, "that the Association does not take part" in inter-city Junior School matches. Non-the-less, when Harrogate Association requested an Under 11 game in 1955, their request was acceded to. The Bradford team on this occasion (which won 9-0) was: Roper (Lilycroft), Infield (Great Horton Primary), Pyrah (Horton Bank Top), Clarke (Buttershaw Church), Woodford (Eccleshill North), Smith (D) (St Clare's), Johnson (Horton Bank Top), Killick (Lilycroft), Harrison (Wapping), Smith (S) (St Clare's), Thwaites (Horton Bank Top). Scorers were Johnson (3), S. Smith (3), Harrison, Thwaites and D Smith.
There was however, still no formal organisation of representative junior football, though, at the committee meeting on 14th October 1959, it is recorded that "Messrs. Campbell and Killerby wished to form a Junior Section XI for at the end of the season" and the committee was unanimously in favour. No matches appear to have been arranged in season 1959/1960, but, at the committee meeting on 9th September 1960 it was "resolved that trials for juniors be held and that schools be invited to nominate a maximum of two boys." Matches were actually played in this season; at the committee meeting on 17th March 1961, Mr Campbell reported that the following games had been arranged; v Pudsey Juniors 23rd March Woodhall; v Leeds 1st April Oldfield Lane; v Pudsey Juniors 15th April Calverley; v Leeds 19th April Woodhall;.
For season 1962/1963 a Junior Team Manager B. S. Wilson, was appointed and the Annual Report gives the results of home and away games v Leeds (1-2 and 1-1). In 1963/1964 the juniors did "less well than usual, losing and drawing against both Leeds and Morley." Of the 1964/1965 season the Secretary reported "the juniors looked to be the most promising batch for some years, but, due to boys being engaged in end-of-season matches, they were not able to field their strongest team on all occasions and consequently did less well than anticipated. They defeated Morley (twice) and Osset, drew with Leeds and lost to Leeds / Airedale and Scunthorpe, after having travelled all that way to play for the Clarke Cup, which they lost by only 1-0.
In 1965/1966 with John McKay and Peter Nelson in charge, the juniors played the following games: v Morley (home) 2-0; v Leeds (away) 2-4; v Leeds (home) 3-3. They also beat Airedale twice.
The 1967/1968 programme comprised 6 matches, of which three were won, 2 lost and one drawn, "with two games still to play". At about this time (17th June 1968) an invitation was received from the Sheffield SFA to take part in the 'Green 'Un KO Competition'; after discussion it was decided that too wide an area, involving a great deal of travelling, made this impractical for Bradford. The severe weather in the early part of 1969 meant the juniors played no inter-city fixtures in the 1968/1969 season.
Though the City Boys' programme took up a great deal of the committee's attention, it never failed to remember its responsibilities to the hundreds of boys whose main concern was inter-school football. Due to further changes in the organisation of Education in the city, an extensive re-structuring of the Leagues was necessary for the 1954/1955 season.
SENIOR. There were to be 4 Divisions (A-D) with promotion and relegation of one team between Division A and B and Divisions C and D. The winners of Divisions A and B would play off for the Division 1 Shield and the winners of Division C and D would play off for the Division 2 Shield (now renamed the President's Shield). Teams were placed on the basis of performance in the previous season; performance by a school's Under 13 side was also taken into consideration.
INTERMEDIATES The 23 teams in the Intermediate section were divided into three Divisions (E, F and G) with a further 14 teams in a 'Reserves 'section. The winners of the three divisions were to play off for the 'Aurora' Trophy.
JUNIOR. The 41 teams were divided into 5 sections (an increase of one on the previous season); the winners of the five sections were to play off for the Junior Trophy. Two of the sections were 'weak' sections, as the existence of a single 'weak' section had produced 'excessive travelling'. In all there were 110 teams taking part in the various Leagues.
There was a special problem in this particular season owing to the change of date for the school year from 1st August to 1st September; boys born in August 1943, who would be rendered too old for Under 11 football, were given a dispensation for the 1954/1955 season.
St Bede's won the Schools' Cup for the 5th time, beating, Highfield 4-0 in the Final at Park Avenue. They were also in the Final of the Schools' Shield at Valley Parade, but in this they were beaten 2-1 by Carlton. The first winners of the President's Shield were Hutton, who beat St Peter's 4-2 at Parry Lane. Grange won the Aurora Trophy for the third time, beating Wyke 5-3 at Parry Lane, while the Junior Trophy was won by Horton Bank Top for the second time; they beat Lilycroft 3-0 in the Final also at Parry Lane.
Season 1955/1956 was notable for the introduction of a new competition, The Bradford City Supporters' Trophy Competition.' At the committee meeting on 21st October 1955, the Treasurer, J Hodgson reported on a meeting held at Valley Parade of Messrs. Moverly, Tavender, Allatt and himself representing BSFA and Messrs, Firth (Chairman), Collinson (Vice Chairman), Booth (Secretary) and Hainsworth of the Supporters' Association, at which the supporters offered 2 trophies and 4 sets of medals to BSFA for Annual competition. This offer was accepted " provided the deputation are satisfied with the financial arrangement." At a subsequent meeting the deputation met the full committee of the BCSA and were shown " two magnificent trophies", they were also assured that the supporters were to pay up to "£20 for medals. The Trophies and medals were designated for Senior and Intermediate age groups but as the season was now well advanced, it was agreed that, while the Intermediate competition would be a straight knock-out, the Senior competition would be limited for that season, to the teams heading Divisions A, B, C and D on 3rd March. The first finals were played at VP under floodlights, "our first venture under floodlights" on Monday26th March 1956. Hanson became the first holders of the Senior Trophy by beating Highfield 4-0 (scorers: Naylor 3, and Simpson), while Carlton beat Woodroyd 5-0 (Scorers: Garbutt, Pyrah, Jagger, Johnson and Thwaites) to win the Intermediate trophy. George Tavender himself refereed the first match and the new Trophies were presented by Mr, S Firth, Chairman of the Supporters' Association, The attendance was 2,043, takings in cash £46- 7s-0d and sale of tickets £55 -6s-0d and the profit £64-1s-0d. The committee felt that the competition should be completed before Christmas in the future and this became the normal practice; from season 1956 / 1957 onwards both competitions became straight knock-outs.
There were 113 entries to the League this season and the winners of the other competitions were as follows: Schools' Cup: Grange beat Highfield 4-0 at Park Avenue. Schools' Shield: Grange beat Hanson 5-0 at Valley Parade, thus completing the double. President's Shield: Woodroyd beat Tyersal 4-1 at Parry Lane, their second success in this competition. Aurora trophy: Carlton beat Lapage 3-2 at Parry Lane, their first success in this competition. Junior Trophy: Bierley County won the Trophy for the first time (and their only time), beating St Clare's 1-0 in the Final at Parry Lane, following a 1-1 draw on the same ground.
In the 1956 / 1957 season the number of teams competing rose to 123, and the Junior Sections were increased to 6. The City Supporters ' Trophy competitions were held as intended before Christmas and both Trophies were retained by the previous years winners; Hanson beat St Bede's by the only goal of the game, scored by Lewis, and Carlton overcame the same school by 4 goals to nil. "The crowd of 2,281 were spell bound", Scott (3) and Thwaites were the scorers. Both the Schools' Cup and Schools' Shield found new winners this season; St Mary's beat Hanson 3-0 at Park Avenue, and Beckfoot Bingley beat Grange 2-0 at Valley Parade. The President's Shield was won for the first time by Tyersal, who beat Saltaire 3-0 at Parry Lane. Belle Vue won the Aurora trophy for the second time, beating Great Horton 4-1 at Valley Parade, this final being played on the same evening as the Schools' Cup Final. Finally, Bowling Back Lane, with an unbeaten record, beat the holders Bierley County, by a single goal in the Final of the Junior Trophy at Parry Lane. This was Bierley's first ever defeat.
There were 137 teams from 85 schools in the League in 1957 / 1958. Beckfoot and Tyersal were promoted to Section A and B respectively. There were two Senior Reserve Leagues. The number of Junior Divisions was again increased to - to seven. Belle Vue and St Bede's were the most successful schools this season. Belle Vue won the Schools' Cup for the sixth time beating Hanson 1-0 at Park Avenue and the Schools' Shield for the 11th time beating Lapage, St Bede's performed the double at Under 13 level, beating Buttershaw 2-0 in the Final of the City supporters' Trophy and St Peter's in the Aurora Trophy. St Mary's appeared in two finals; they were beaten 5-1 by Barkerend in the City Supporters' Senior Final, Saville the City centre forward scoring all five goals, but recorded their second winning of the President's Shield by beating Buttershaw 3-0 at Parry Lane. The Junior Final went to St Clare's for the first time; they beat Marshfield by 4 goals to 3 at Parry Lane. Barkerend's winning of the City supporters' Senior Trophy was their last success in any of our competitions. They had won the Schools' Cup 5 times and the Schools' Shield also 5 times but now movements of the population had reduced their numbers; on 12th May 1959, the committee received a letter from the Headmaster requesting that the school be placed in a lower section in the ensuing season; accordingly in season 1959/1960 they were placed in Division B; in season 1964/1965 Barkerend disappeared from the list of participants in the League.
1958 / 1959 saw a further increase in teams to 143. This was very much Belle Vue's season; they won no less than four titles, including all three Under 15 competitions. They won the Schools' Cup for the second successive year and the seventh time in all (and the last time to date) by beating Carlton 2-1 in the Final at Park Avenue. Interestingly, Steve Allatt was the referee and among the members of the winning team we find the name of A. Cryer, later to be Secretary of the Association and Yorkshire's Council Member; at VP they beat St Mary's 5-1 in the Schools' Shield play off, and on the same ground they beat Priestman 4-0 in the Final of the City Supporters' Trophy. Priestman gained some consolation for this defeat by winning the President's Shield against All Saints. Tyersal captained by Barrie Wright won the City Supporters' Intermediate competition, beating Eccleshill in the Final by 2 goals to nil. To the three Under 15 successes Belle Vue added the Aurora Trophy title (their third success) by beating Buttershaw 2-0 in the Final. The remaining Trophy went to Bowling Back Lane who won the Junior Trophy for the second time in three years in bating Eccleshill North by the only goal of the game. The winning side included both the Hibbitt brothers Terry and Kenny.
The number of Junior divisions was reduced to 6 in season1959 / 1960, but the total number of entries remained almost unchanged at 144. One school that did not compete was Usher Street, who withdrew through lack of numbers; this was another break from the past for Usher Street had been the first winners of the Schools' Cup back in 1899/1900. St Bede's were the team of the season, winning all three senior trophies. They began by beating Hanson "despite continuous heavy rain" in the City supporters' final at VP by 2 goals to nil and at the end of the season beat Belle Vue 2-1 at Park Avenue in the Final of the Schools' Cup. They completed their success by beating Drummond 4-0 at Valley Parade in the Final of the Schools' Shield. This Final was played on the same evening as the Aurora Trophy Final in which St Mary's beat Highfield by 2 goals to 1. Grange gained an emphatic 5-1 win against Lapage in the Final of the City supporters' Intermediate Trophy (their first success in this competition), while Northcliffe won the President's Shield (for the first and only time) even more emphatically, beating Wibsey 8-0 at Parry Lane. There were also new holders of the Junior Trophy, Wellington Road beating Bradford Moor 3-2 in the Final.
The pattern of competitions was unchanged in season 1960 / 1961. Tyersal and Eccleshill were the most successful schools. Tyersal won both the City supporters' Senior Trophy and the Schools' Cup and were losing finalists to Grange in the new "Walter French Trophy" competition at Valley Parade. In the City Supporters' they beat Belle Vue 3-2, Barrie Wrights scoring 2 of the goals, while in the Schools' Cup, which they won for the only time in their history, they beat Frizinghall 2-1 at Park Avenue after extra time. Eccleshill, one of the City's new secondary schools, made their mark by winning both Under 13 competitions; on both occasions St Bede's were their victims. Frizinghall not normally one of the stronger, had an outstanding season, for not only did they appear in the final of the Schools' Cup, but they won the President's Shield against Thorpe. Finally the Junior Trophy, played in advance of the Schools' Cup Final at Park Avenue, gave St Clare's their second win in this competition; they beat Lilycroft by 2-0. In this season, as we have seen, a new Trophy appears in our list. This was the Walter French Trophy. Walter French had, of course been Secretary of BSAA from 1904 to 1927 and the first Secretary of BSFA from 1927/1928. At the committee meeting on 9th September 1960, the Secretary reported that Miss Tuer, niece of the late Walter French, "had kindly offered a Trophy to be presented in memory of her late uncle." It was decided that the existing 1st Division Shield should be withdrawn and replaced by the new "Walter French Trophy". It was resolved further "that BSAA be asked to invite Miss Tuer to its Annual dinner and the Association to pay her expenses." The actual presentation of the Trophy produced a little bickering over protocol; at the meeting of 8th February 1961, it was reported that "BSAA had asked that their President (also a life member of BSFA) Tommy Hogg, should receive the trophy." After some discussion it was resolved that "a representative should be nominated to receive the trophy on behalf of BSFA from the President of BSAA and that Mr. Bentley (Vice President of BSAA) should make the arrangements; finally that Mr. Tavender should be the person to receive the Trophy on behalf of the Association." These rather delicate arrangements having been made, the Trophy was safely handed over, and, as we have seen, the first holders were Grange.
Season 1961 / 1962 began with 145 teams under the Association's umbrella. Grange swept the Under 15 board. They began by beating Buttershaw by an 8-1 margin in the City Supporters' Senior Final, which attracted a gate of 1,612 to Valley Parade. Then at the end of the season, they beat Tyersal 5-0 at Park Avenue in the Schools' Cup Final, and two days later completed the 'treble' by beating Eccleshill 3-1 in the Final of the Walter French Trophy. At Under 13 level Belle Vue won both trophies, beating Carlton by a single goal in the City Supporters' Intermediate and then defeating Wyke Manor in the Aurora. The President's Shield was won by Rhodesway for the first time; they beat Cottingley Manor in the Final. Bradford Moor won the Junior Trophy for the sixth time, when they beat Hanson 3-0 at Park Avenue, this final being on the same bill as the Schools' Cup final.
Organisation was unchanged in 1962 / 1963, but the weather (one of our most severe winters) took a hand, and the committee meeting of February 21st 1963 decided;
a) that cup competitions be suspended;
b) that League Trophies be awarded on position on 5th April; and
c) that there should be no promotion or relegation.
In the absence of the Schools' Cup Belle Vue secured the remaining two trophies, the City Supporters' Senior in which they beat Tyersal 6-2 and the 'Walter French Trophy' in which they beat Rhodesway 4-1. Their Under 13 team was also in the Final of the City Supporters' Intermediate Trophy but were beaten by St Bede's, their second success. The attendance at the City Supporters' Finals was 1,927.
1,407 attended Valley Parade for the Walter French Final, which was combined with the Aurora Final, in which St Bede's beat St Blaise 2-0 their fifth success. St Blaise were also in the Final of the President's Shield which Woodend won for the first time by 6 goals to 3. The Junior Trophy was won for the first time by Wibsey who beat Wellington Road 2-1 at Parry Lane.
During this season the Secretary announced his intention of re-organising the Leagues and sections for the season 1963 / 1964 with a view to reducing the number of matches played in any one League or Section. The committee gave him the 'go-ahead'. His proposals, presented at the AGM envisaged:
a: five Senior Divisions of seven teams, plus two Reserves Divisions.
b: Four Intermediate Divisions of either seven or eight teams plus two Reserves Divisions.
c: Seven Junior Sections of seven teams.
The winners of Divisions A and B would play off for the Walter French Trophy, while the winners of D and E would play-off for the right to meet the winners of Division C for the President's Shield. Incidentally, in this season there were 35 entries for the Schools' Cup and for the City Supporters' Senior, and 29 for the City Supporters' Intermediate Trophy.
Honours were shared out more evenly than usual this season. Hanson won the Schools' Cup for the second time beating St Bede's 3-1 in the Final at Park Avenue; this was the first time they had won this Trophy since season 1929/1930. This Final was once again combined with the Junior Trophy Final; The Association was finding that more and more it was the matches between the younger boys that attracted spectators. On this occasion the gate was 1,839 to see St Joseph's and Wellington road play a 0-0 draw to share the Trophy. Wellington Road had won it previously outright, but for St Joseph's it was the first time they had laid their hands on this particular Trophy. Belle Vue retained the Walter French Trophy in the final of which they again beat Rhodesway, though only by a single goal this time. The City Supporters' Trophies were won by St Bede's (Senior) who beat Belle Vue 1-0 (their second success) and Tyersal (Intermediate), winners over Lapage by 4 goals to 2; the attendance for these finals was 1,956. Wyke Manor took the President's Shield beating Baildon in the Final; this was their first success, though old Wyke School had won the Division 2 Shield three times. Finally, Hanson and Tyersal shared the Aurora Trophy 1-1, this Final and the Walter French Trophy final being played on the same evening at Valley Parade.
For the season 1964 / 1965 the number of Intermediate Divisions rose to four; otherwise the pattern remained the same, with a total entry of 138 teams. St Bede's carried off three trophies, their Under 13 team doing the double; they beat Eccleshill 3-2 after extra time in the City Supporters' Intermediate Final, and proved their worth by beating Buttershaw in the Aurora Final by 2 goals to nil at Valley Parade. Finally, their Under 15 side won the Schools' Cup for the seventh time, beating Carlton by the odd goal in three at Park Avenue. Carlton, however, won the City Supporters' Senior Trophy by beating Eccles hill 2-1 after extra time. 1,269 people watched the two City Supporters' Finals. The Aurora Trophy Final was paired at Valley Parade with the Walter French Trophy Final, in which Grange beat Wyke Manor 2-0; and the Schools' Cup final at Park Avenue was paired with the Junior Trophy Final, in which both the contestants, St Anthony's and St Walburga's were making their first appearances; they were indeed two of the smallest schools taking parting the competition. St Walburga's ran out winners by 2 goals to 1. The attendance on this evening was 1,210. Finally Drummond won the President's Shield overwhelming Wibsey by 8 goals to nil.
Season 1965 / 1966 saw the Association with a new trophy, the "Braithwaite' Trophy," presented in honour of Fred Braithwaite. Fred died in May 1965; as Secretary of the Bradford Rovers Football Club for more than forty years he had been a good friend to BSFA and, as a small token of appreciation, he had been presented with an inscribed silver tankard, "which became his most treasured possession". Now, on his death, the committee decided to allocate the 'Braithwaite' Trophy to the Under 12 age group for whom organised football was provided for the first time. The purchase of the Trophy, at a cost of £8-17s-6d, was reported in the Balance Sheet of 1965/1966 and the first Braithwaite Trophy Final was played in conjunction with the President's Shield Final, Wibsey becoming the first holders of the Trophy by beating Hutton 2-1.
There was a considerable re-organisation of the Leagues for the 1965 / 1966 season. The main features were the introduction of Leagues for the Under 14 (2 Divisions) and the Under 12s (2 Divisions) age groups. There were to be only three Under 15 sections, so the President's Shield was allocated to the Under 14's. It is noticeable that the number of schools entering for the Schools' Cup and City Supporters' Senior Final was now reduced to 20. Hanson won two of the three Under 15 trophies. They won the City Supporters' Senior Trophy at the beginning of the season, beating Carlton by a single goal, and won the Walter French Trophy at the end, beating Buttershaw in a 'thriller' 5-4 after extra time at Valley Parade. The third Under 15 Trophy, the Schools' Cup was won by Carlton at Park Avenue, Buttershaw being again the beaten finalists by 2 goals to 4. Grange became the first winners of the President's Shield in its new Under 14 guise, beating Eccleshill 4-1. At Under 13 level there were new names on both trophies, St Edmund won the City Supporters' Intermediate Trophy, beating Tong by a single goal, but Tong cornered the Aurora Trophy by beating Cottingley Manor. Wibsey added the Junior Trophy to the Braithwaite Trophy, beating St Clare's by 3 goals to 2.
Arrangements for 1966 / 1967 were unchanged, with 135 schools taking part. The City Supporters' Finals were held on separate evenings this season, some 800 people attending on each occasion. St Bede's beat Grange with some ease 5-1 in the Senior Final, their third success, and Hutton beat Wibsey by the same 5-1 margin to register their first success in this competition. St Bede's went on to win the Schools' Cup and to share both the President's Shield and the Aurora Trophy. In registering their eighth Schools' Cup success they beat Belle Vue 3-1. In the Aurora they met Hutton and the teams came out on level terms, 2-2 after extra time. In the President's Shield Final St Bede's encountered St Edmund Campion and here again the upshot was a shared Trophy. The Braithwaite in its second year was won by St Blaise, and the Junior Trophy was won by St John's for the only time. They beat St Francis 2-1 at Park Avenue on the same evening as the Schools' Cup Final was played; 1,739 spectators saw the two games.
There was no change to the format of competitions for season 1967 / 1968. St Blaise were the only school to win more than one trophy in this Season; they won the Under 13 Trophies. In the City Supporters' Intermediate Trophy, again held separately from the Senior Trophy, they beat St Gorge's 3-2 after extra time, the first of many exciting finals involving these two schools. In the Aurora Trophy it was Drummond who they met, beating them 4-0. The three Under 15 Trophies went to three different schools; Rhodesway won the City Supporters' Senior Trophy for the first time, beating St Bede's 3-2. At the end of the season the two finals involved Grange and Tong. Grange won the Schools' Cup for the 14th time winning by 2 goals to Nil, but Tong took the Walter French Trophy for the first time by a single goal. St Bede's beat Eccleshill to take the President's Shield for the first time, and St Francis, beaten finalists in the previous season, took the Junior Trophy, beating Woodside 2-0. The gate on a wet night at PA for this Final and the Schools' Cup final was 1,648. Finally the Braithwaite Trophy was shared between Drummond and Wibsey.
The most interesting feature of the arrangements for 1968 / 1969 was the increase in the number of Junior sections from seven to eight. Moreover, there was an innovation in the arrangements for the play - offs, which in future were to involve runners up as well as winners in each section. Hanson won two of the three Under 15 competitions this season. They beat St Bede's in two Finals, 3-2 in the City Supporters' Senior, 2-1 in the Schools' Cup, but the Walter French Trophy was contested by Carlton and Grange who fought out a 0-0 draw at Parry Lane. At Under 14 level the President's Shield Final produced another grim struggle in the mud at Parry Lane, Carlton beat Wyke Manor 1-0. Tong were the most successful Under 13 side; the won the Aurora Trophy outright against Drummond at Parry Lane 2-0, but were forced to share the City Supporters' Intermediate with Wibsey after extra time. St Blaise recorded their second success in the Braithwaite Trophy by beating Hutton 4-2, while Wibsey took the Junior Trophy for the third time in seven years beating Swain House 2-0 at Park Avenue.
In all the Association's competitions, the honours were well distributed, though it is notable that the Schools' Cup, the Schools' Shield (and later the Walter French Trophy), the Aurora Trophy and the two City Supporters' competitions were dominated by the five 'old' Grammar Schools, Belle Vue, Carlton, Grange, Hanson and St Bede's, who between them won the Schools' Cup 12 times in 14 years, Schools' Shield / Walter French Trophy 12 times in 14 years; the Aurora Trophy 8 times in 14 years; the City supporters' Senior Trophy 11 times in 14 years and the City supporters' Intermediate Trophy 7 times in 14 years.
On two occasions only did schools outside the 'big five' win the Schools' Cup. In 1957 before "one of the biggest crowds for many years at Park Avenue (2,200) St Mary's beat the favourites Hanson, 3-0 and in 1961 Tyersal without Barrie Wright, beat Frizinghall " the first time since the war that both finalists had been from Secondary (i.e. non Grammar) schools.
There was much the same picture in the Schools' Shield and the Walter French Trophy competition, the only 'intruders' here being Beckfoot School, Bingley, who beat Grange, six times winners of this particular competition since the war by 2 goals to nil at Valley Parade in 1957, and at the end of the period, 1967/1968, Tong, who also beat Grange 1-0, a result which indicated that the monopoly of the 'big five' was to be broken by the 'newer' secondary schools. In the same year Rhodesway, another 'new' secondary school, beat St Bede's 3-2 in the final of the City Supporters' Senior Trophy competition, the only previous non-Grammar School winner having been Barkerend in 1957/1958, when "on a really dreadful day with torrential rain" 2,164 spectators saw them beat St Mary's 5-1, their captain David Saville, scoring all five goals, and Tyersal who in 1960/1961, won the Trophy as well as the Schools' Cup.
At Intermediate (Under 13) level the spoils were shared more evenly, especially in the latter part of the period, whilst at Junior (Under 11) level, honours were dispersed, with Wibsey most successful with three successes. A particularly interesting junior final was that of 1964/1965 involving two of the Association's smaller schools, St Anthony's and St Walburga's, both making their first appearance in a final. The youthful players, according to George Tavender's Annual report for the season, "gave an exhibition that was a joy to watch before St Walburga's mastered St Anthony's by the odd goal in three to win the Trophy."
In the last year or two of George's secretaryship schools' football started to experience the decline in interest common to football generally, and 'gates', both for domestic and, more particularly for 'City' games started to fall off. In a postscript to his Report for 1965/1966 the Secretary wrote: " Food for thought. Just look at these gates: v Rotherham 455, v Barnsley 540, v Don and Dearne 589: Walter French Trophy/Aurora Trophy 862; Schools' Cup/ Junior Final 1,108; v Doncaster (Wylie Final) 1,200. Not very good, are they?
The general decline in interest is illustrated in the decline in the status of the Schools' Cup Final. When George Tavender first became Secretary this was a real occasion -- some 3,500 tickets and 1,000 programmes were printed and a lengthy list of invited guests was drawn up. For the Final at Park Avenue on 3rd May 1954 the following were invited: the Lord and Lady Mayoress, Mr and Mrs Spalding, Mr F J C Marshall, H Taylor Esq., BCPT Manager, Chief Constable, Mr & Mrs Burnett, Chairman of Education Committee & Lady, Life Members of BSAA and Ladies, Life members of BSFA and Ladies, E Akers Esq., Alderman K Chambers, Heads of schools concerned & Ladies, Mr and Mrs J C Skinner, C R Williamson Esq., Mr and Mrs T F Davies, the Secretary Bradford & District FA, Officials of Grammar Schools' FA, F Hill Esq., Mr and Mrs W H Tomlinson (WRCC), officials of Bradford Rovers FC and Manningham Mills FC, Chairman, Manager, Secretary & Directors of Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue.
In Season 1963/1964 the practice began of combining the Final of The Schools' Cup with the Final of the Junior Trophy, with the latter proving to be increasingly the 'main attraction'; the detailed arrangements of past years gave way to less minute arrangements which were now called for.
The committee continued to deal with disciplinary problems from time to time. There were considerably fewer instances of 'crowd trouble' and, as we have seen, Head Teachers and Sports Masters tended to tackle disciplinary matters without waiting for the committee to act. In the first instance we have, which was dealt with at the meeting of 15th October 1954, a Thorpe boy, who had been sent off the field for dissent and abusive language, had already been suspended by his own school, a fact which was taken into consideration when the committee took action. A little later on there was a report that 'unruly spectators had ruined a game ' at Queensbury v Thorpe. The Head Master had reported the matter to the police and had warned the offender off, so the committee did not consider any further action necessary. Action by Head Teachers to enforce discipline was welcomed on the whole, but sometimes it could cause embarrassment. For example, the meeting of 21st October 1955 heard that a St Patrick's boy had butted a Queensbury boy in the face after the conclusion of the match. The Head Master made it clear that the boy would not be allowed to play for his school again, but the committee saw fit to impose a 'sine die' suspension.
On the following 17th February a request was received from the Headmaster that the suspension should be lifted on 19th March (presumably the day the boy left school) and this was agreed to. At the meeting of 28th September 1956 the committee dealt with a report of the sending off of a Wyke boy; he had already been suspended by his school for an indefinite period, so the committee were happy to agree to an indefinite suspension, "to last until his school applies for his re-instatement." At the same meeting it was resolved that a Disciplinary Board be set up. This was agreed, but there is no record of the Board being in action.
Another example of appropriate action being taken by a Head Teacher, was reported on 24th April 1963 when it was reported that boys from Great Horton had been attacked by a St Edmund Campion pupil. The boy concerned had been debarred from playing or watching any school game, and this action satisfied both schools and the committee. There was a further complaint about the conduct of St Edmund Campion spectators on 28th September 1967; again the committee was not called upon to act as the Head teacher had withdrawn his team from further competition.
At the meeting of 17th November 1967 there was a complaint from Mr T Larkin (St Bede's) about hooliganism at the recent City Ssupporters' Finals. The committee discussed the letter and made certain definite proposals, which might prevent a repetition of such unpleasantness. They included
a: better and numerically stronger stewarding;
b: prevention of crowd movement from end to end except possibly at half time;
c: matches to be played on Saturday mornings in daylight;
d: matches to be played after Plot Night. Regrettably there were to be a number of discussions on this topic in the future.
The standard arrangement that had existed for some considerable time continued i.e., normally the referee of a match was to be a master of the 'home' school. By and large this arrangement worked reasonably satisfactorily, but referees were always in short supply. At the meeting of 14th September 1961 it was resolved that "the Secretary circularise schools asking for schoolteachers prepared to assist in refereeing and lining matches." At the next meeting it was agreed "that the Secretary be empowered to call upon referees from the Bradford Referees' Association when necessary to staff our matches." This is a policy that has been adopted increasingly over the past twenty years.
The most important change in the administration of the Association took place in 1957; at the meeting of 15th November the Secretary proposed that, in view of the increasing amount of work that had to be undertaken, the committee should be increased in size and that a Minute Secretary be appointed. The committee agreed and a Special General Meeting was called on 10th January 1958 to implement the necessary rule change. The committee was increased in size to 15 and C S Allatt was appointed Minute Secretary. There was a minor change affecting nomenclature only at the 1960 AGM when the 'Fixture Secretary' was given the new title 'Local Secretary'.
There was still an unacknowledged reluctance on the part of the committee to hand over team selection to the Selection Committee completely; at the Meeting 26th June 1961 Bill Railton proposed that the Selection 's choices should be brought before the full committee, but this was rejected; however, when, at the meeting of 1st July 1963 he proposed that selection be carried out by the full committee the proposal was accepted; at the same time a series of guide lines on the duties of Team Managers and Selection Committee were accepted.
When, on 29th March 1968 George Tavender indicated his intention to resign, the committee again examined its structure, and decided to appoint four secretaries rather than three i.e. a General Secretary, an Assistant Secretary, a Fixture Secretary and a Minute Secretary. In fact George delayed his resignation for another year and, when he did resign in 1969, it was decided to merge the Offices of Assistant Secretary and Minute Secretary.
Other matters that came up in this period were the following:
1. It was decided (26th June 1961) that committee meetings would continue to be called as required rather than as some members wished, being called on regular dates.
2. It was decided (28th January 1963) that, in view of the Secretary's reluctance to accept an honorarium, the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, team Managers and persons nominated as acting officers be reimbursed for legitimate expenses at Competition games.
3. On 20th September 1966, it was reported that the 'Office (Education Dept)' were allowing three hours per week extra clerical assistance at Wibsey School; this three hours was continued for some years and transferred to other schools as seemed necessary until it finally disappeared in one of the many economy cuts that have been experienced.
4. The argument about the cancellation of League matches, especially junior matches when the City team was at home continued, but with decreasing force. The issue was raised once again on 30th November 1955 when it was reported that two matches Highfield v Belle Vue and Tyersal v Thornton West had been played, although the City team was playing at home. In both cases members of the committee were involved, and indeed Alan Bentley and Tommy Hogg explained "all boys taking part in both games had purchased tickets and attended the City game." Nonetheless the committee ruled that the following should appear on the next circular " Your committee regrets that several schools played matches on 26th November when City boys were engaged. On future occasions they will be compelled to enforce the rule passed at the AGM." Needless to say, the matter was raised again at the next AGM when it was resolved that 'open dates be allowed on the occasion of City boys home ties.' In spite of this ruling, on 13th October 1956 two junior matches were played on a day when the City team were at home, Great Horton v Lidget Green and Grange v Green Lane. The committee ruled that "the Secretary should inform the schools concerned that no points would be awarded for these games."
At the 1958 AGM there was some relaxation in the regulations; no League fixtures would be arranged on days when City boys were at home but "discretion should be given to Sports masters to play on those dates if they so wished." At the following AGM there was a further relaxation, it being resolved that "it be left as a committee decision to fix that date and allow junior sections to play League games at their discretion." There were two 'naughty boys' early in the 1959/1960 season; Hutton and St Joseph's played on a day when the City Boys were at home; they pointed out that they had kicked off early to enable boys to attend the City game, and the committee allowed the result to stand.
Another aspect of the problem was highlighted in a letter from St Bede's on 1st February 1965, complaining not only of the postponement of matches by the committee but the postponement of matches by other schools under Rule 18 when they had boys selected for the City team. At the 1966 AGM it was decided that an open date should be left "for the English Schools' Trophy" and that the question of open dates be left to the Secretary.
The divergence of interest between City matches, particularly as these came to involve other age groups, and those of individual schools remained a problem beyond the end of this period.
5. There were still occasional cases of schools being unable to find a teacher to accompany their teams to matches; on 12th February 1969 Saltaire claimed points from St Patrick's who had not fulfilled their fixture; the latter gave as the reason that there was no sports master available. On 5th December 1962 it was reported that Lapage had been sending teams to away matches without accompanying teachers; the Secretary was to write to the school pointing out the dangers of this practice.
6. Also there were occasional instances of offences against the age-rule. On 15th March 1962 Woodend claimed points from St Patrick's on the grounds that they had included in their team a boy who had left the school; the offence was admitted and the points awarded to Woodend.
7. There was an interesting, even bizarre offence against rules, which was dealt with at the meeting of 10th January 1964. By this time of course, substitutes were allowed though hardly in the way that was reported. Owing to a misunderstanding of the time of kick-off in the match between Lapage and Drummond, some of the 'players 'were not present when the match started and 'substitutes 'were used; when the players arrived they were brought on and the substitutes' removed. The two schools were asked for an explanation.
At the 1960 AGM Playing Rule 22 which covered the time played in matches, was extensively revised to include the following provisions:
"in all play - offs, semi finals and final matches the time shall be: Seniors - 35 minutes each way; Intermediates - 30 minutes each way; Juniors 25 minutes each way. That in the event of a draw in any play off or semi final on a neutral ground, extra time of 10 minutes each way shall be played, but in the event of a draw after extra time the match shall be replayed. If the replay be a draw the match shall be played to a finish in periods of 20 minutes duration (10 minutes each way). In the case of juniors, only one period of extra time of 20 minutes (10 minutes each way) shall be allowed in any match. That in the event of a draw in any Final, extra time of 10 minutes each way shall be played at the first meeting. Failing a decision, then the Trophy shall be held jointly by the competing schools.
Throughout this period a large handbook of 96 pages was printed and sold to schools at the price of 4d in 1954/1955, 6d from1955/1956 to1965/19966 and 9d in 1966-1968. The first two of these included articles by such footballing personalities as Sir Stanley Rouse (Secretary of the Football Association), Len Shackleton (The future in professional football), George Swindin (Overseas football competition), and D. E.Price (Chairman ESFA) in 1954/1955, and by Andrew Beattie (Manager Huddersfield Town) and Ken Armstrong (Chelsea - Advice to schoolboys) in season 1955/1956. In the next three years the handbook included a report and a photograph of the previous season's City team, but from1959/1960 onwards there was enough local information to fill the book. Advertisements were inserted to offset some of the cost. The production and selling of the handbook was always a knife-edge operation, and even when all those that were ordered were sold the collection of money was always a long drawn out business. In 1960/1961 the cost of printing the Handbooks was £111 -18s-0d; the income received was £50-9s-6d for sales plus £43-10s-0d for advertisements, a loss of £17-18s-6d.