The Story of Bradford Boys by John Bulled 1994
The period under review was a very happy period for the Bradford
Schools Football Association. It incorporated the preparations for and
the successful conclusion of the Associations Centenary celebrations.
During the seasons 1989 - 1992 the level of grass roots interest and
work connected with Schools Football increased. Andy Mettas took a
well-earned rest as the Honorary General Secretary and was superseded
by Tim Leigh who impressed all those connected with Schools Football by
his dedication and hard work.
Two Stalwarts of the Association received the E.S.F.A. 21 years service Award, former Chairman and General Secretary of the Association Tony Cryer, and the Association Treasurer Ian Fox. Both had given and still give loyal service to the cause of schools football.
During this period over 60 schools were involved in matches on a regular basis however it was noted in the Hon. Secretary’s Report that touchline trouble had appeared, though happily not amongst the players. Unbelievably rain forced an abandonment of inter schools finals at Valley Parade at the end of 1990, and the same happened on the evening of their re-scheduling.
The work load of the Committee was increased during the 1990/1991
season with the initial celebration of the Centenary with the staging
of an Under 15 England v West Germany
match at Valley Parade on July 10th
Two Centenary Committees were formed: one to co-ordinate the
planning for the International match, and the other to deal with
arrangements for the Centenary celebrations. They were under the
Chairmanship of Steve Richardson and Clive Truelove respectively.
Gradually these two groups merged to form one larger group, which made
the celebrations a great success.
Sponsorship was becoming more and
more significant as the cost of running football continued to escalate.
The Trustee Savings Bank sponsored the Under 14 Cup, and Ken Wilcock
and Andy Mettas did a super job organising the Smith’s Crisps 6-a-side
competition on an annual basis.
The Bradford and Bingley Building Society made a significant cash donation that purchased a large supply of medals to be presented to players in Bradford Squads at the completion of a certain number of games.
During the Bradford fixtures at the Senior Level in this period the 1988/1989 U15 side were outstanding. They went a season of 22 matches losing only 2. They progressed to the last 16 of the English Trophy before losing in a replay at Sunderland. They also won the Yorkshire Bank inter-association championship trophy by defeating local rivals Leeds in the Final at Valley Parade. This was Bradford’s first victory in this trophy since 1976. In the following season the Under 19 side made History by completing the first ever hat-trick of Bradford wins in the inter-city schoolboy matches against Glasgow. The Bradford under 14’s had a successful season and reached the final of the Yorkshire Trophy before losing in the final at Oakwell to a very good Barnsley side.
The 1991 Season saw a highly competent Under 11 side win the West Yorkshire League and share the West Yorkshire Cup. The Under 12 side also reached the final of an International Tournament held in Holland, losing by a single goal two minutes from time.
As the Centenary season drew to a close the City Boys team made up for a disappointing early season, to reach the final of the Yorkshire Trophy before losing to Barnsley. The outstanding side were the Under 11 team, which had a 100% record in competition games, winning the West Yorkshire League and Cup, and the Yorkshire Cup.
During the period1988-1992 many Bradford Boys players brought great Honour both to themselves and the Association.
Smith Saltaire Wilson Rhodesway Dover Salts Thompson Wyke Margerison Bingley Oliver Buttershaw
Cousens Salts McManus Hanson
Woodhead Tong Stabbs Rhodesway Grayston Holy Family Fawell Bingley Rickaby Bingley Crump B.G.S.
Hamilton Buttershaw Blair Tong Tomlinson Greenhead
1991 Tomlinson (Greenhead) played for the England team
1990 Carl Serrant Attended the FA School of Excellence and was awarded 11 Under 16 F.A. caps and
Thompson and McManus had England trials
Senior Yorkshire Caps
Jansen South Craven Wilcock St Bede's Mangeolles Y. Martyrs Nesovic Buttershaw Martin Tong Hartley Queensbury
Naylor Y. Martyrs Pringle
Salts Andrew Cousens
Sugden Y Martyrs Adam Green Hanson
Rushby BICC Slack Bingley Stoneman Beckfoot Dover Salts Thompson Wyke Crowther Beckfoot
Hartley Queensbury Watts Y Martyrs Dover Salts Shaw BICC Capper Salts Charlesworth Wyke
Dover (Salts) was an England Trialist.
On the domestic front an interesting and healthy local soccer scene was in full flow. During the period between1989 and 1992 certain schools appeared dominant in the many domestic league and cup competitions. Wibsey Middle School provided a squad that picked up League and cup honours for three consecutive seasons from Under 11 to Under 13. Tong Upper School were very strong in the Under 14 competitions winning it and successfully retaining it for these seasons. Rhodesway won honours at both local and regional level in the Under 16 age band. At the end of the 1992 season Ladderbanks Middle School had scooped the pool, wining trophies at Under 11, Under 12 and Under 13 in the same year. At Under 16 level Tong Upper School retained the Bradford Schools Championship and reached the cup final as well as the Yorkshire Final. They were also National School Finalists.
Rhodesway were dominant in the under 15 Age group winning both the Walter French Trophy and the City Supporters' Senior Cup. They also shared the League championship with Tong Upper School.
Whilst much good work was constantly needed to keep the fabric of schoolboy football together, it fell on the committee during this period to organise prepare and fund all the Centenary celebrations.
Under the guidance of the Centenary Committee Chairman (Steve Richardson) a series of successful events were held.
The press launch of the Centenary celebrations was held at the Bradford Central Library on Friday 7th June 1991, in the presence of the local T.V. Station, press and radio, with star celebrity Len Shackleton (A former Bradford Boy) in attendance. There followed on the next Monday the successful match with West Germany at Valley Parade watched by over 6,000 spectators. An enjoyable after match banquet was held at City Hall, and the organisation of the whole event was very much appreciated by the E.S.F.A.
Ced Gelling was the Chairman for the initial Centenary Celebrations. But because the celebrations stretched over two years Clive Truelove was in the chair when the Centenary dinner was held with great success at the Victoria Hotel in March 1992 to co-incide with the season’s Glasgow weekend. It was a happy coming to-gether for Bradford officials, Life Members, Council Officials, The Lord Mayor, Guests from Glasgow, of Scottish Football. E.S.F.A. Officials including Bradford’s own Steve Allatt, many representatives of local football and representatives from the other neighbouring Association’s against which Bradford have played matches were also present.
The final event of the Centenary Year was an informal buffet for players and officials of the Bradford Schools F.A. past and present. It was held at Manningham Mills Sports and Social Club (who are great supporters of the Association.) on 17th May. Ronnie Warnett, from the 1930’s, joined former players of his era in Ernest Jagger and Vernon Wright. Barrie Wright, the England Schoolboy Captain in 1961, was also a welcome visitor on the night.
During the 100 years of Bradford Schoolboys football it is perhaps
ironic that as the story comes to a close for the time being, we can
make a comment about one aspect of the development of football in
Bradford. This has been the extensive development of Bradford Boys
tours to other parts of the United Kingdom and further afield, to
France and Holland. Links have been extended by these tours, and
Bradford has hosted visits by teams from the continent.
We now stand at
the verge of a new Century and all concerned can look back with pride
on the 100 years that we have just celebrated.
Hard work, determination and true 'Yorkshire grit' have served the Bradford Schools Football Association well.