Match Preview: Bradford (PA) Vs Brackley Town

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Mark Bower believes that the season opener is ‘not about getting revenge’ against Brackley Town, but last season’s play-off heartache will be fresh in the memory ahead of the visit of the Saints.

Bradford were the only team in the National League North to do the double over Kevin Wilkin’s men last season, but were knocked out of the play-offs by a 110th-minute strike from Brackley’s Aaron Williams.

Marksman Williams has since departed for Harrogate Town, but Brackley have strived to maintain the core of last season’s squad in similar fashion to how Bradford have. Solihull Moors swooped for highly-rated defender Alex Gudger, but most of the stars of last season’s FA Trophy triumph remain at St James Park.

Both sides celebrated victories on the opening day of the 2017/18 season, with Bradford securing a win over Tamworth thanks to a late winner and Brackley edging past FC United of Manchester.


The Gaffer: Kevin Wilkin

The man that guided Brackley to a Wembley win and a play-off final took charge of the Saints in September 2015. He had previously steered Wrexham to the FA Trophy final and led Nuneaton Borough (then known as Town) to three promotions during an eight-year spell as manager. He also enjoyed two spells with Nuneaton as a player, and also represented Cambridge City, Northampton Town, Rushden & Diamonds and Grantham Town.

Key Player: Gareth Dean

Widely regarded as one of the division’s most talented defenders, the imposing Dean played under Wilkin at Nuneaton and was brought to St James Park from Solihull Moors in 2016. A tough-tackler who poses a significant aerial threat, Dean was crucial to the Saints’ success last season and scored a stoppage-time equaliser in the FA Trophy final to force extra-time. His physical presence and leadership qualities will, once again, make Brackley a difficult side to break down and he is likely to wear the captains’ armband against Bradford.

We want to know your score predictions! Tweet @BPAFCOfficial with your predicted scoreline and scorers.

Key information:

Admission – Adults: £12 / Concessions: £9 / Students: £7 / Under-16s: £2

Kick-off – 3pm

Venue – Horsfall Stadium

Coverage – Live updates on our official Twitter feed (@BPAFCOfficial) and a full match report on our official website ( on Saturday evening.




Improvements Made To The Match Day Experience

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Following a lot of work behind the scenes, the club are delighted to introduce a series of improvements to the match day experience. 

Plans had been in the pipeline for a long time, but significant progress has been made during the summer.

With the club keen to usher more supporters through the turnstiles, making the experience of attending games more enjoyable was a logical step to take.

Following a lot of work behind the scenes, the club are delighted to introduce a series of improvements to the match day experience.

Following a series of issues with the quality and reliability of the former sound system, it has been replaced with a brand new system that the club has purchased. The sound at the Horsfall will now be crisp and undistorted, making announcements clear to understand. The match day playlist will be making a return having not been played during pre-season friendlies, and a much-requested song now features on it. Eddy Grant’s ‘Electric Avenue’ will ring out around the ground as Mark Bower’s side make their entrance before kick-off!

The ground will also see the introduction of card payment facilities and supporters will now be able to pay by card at the turnstiles and in the clubhouse, tea bar and clubshop on match days.

The club have also teamed up with Shipley-based Saltaire Brewery to provide a new range of fantastic alcoholic beverages for the clubhouse bar. Two new hand-pulls will be available on Saturday as well as a variety of bottles. Known for making beers with international acclaim, the club are delighted to have the Brewery supporting Bradford (Park Avenue).


Outside the clubhouse, parked cars have made way for brand new pop-up marquees. Curry and pulled pork sandwiches will be available and plans are in place to introduce a second bar alongside the food stalls.

The club will also be pushing the use of the car park to try and ease congestion on the surrounding roads. A £2 charge will be introduced to use of the car park however as a bonus for season ticket holders parking will be free. Access to the car park will be from Cemetery Road gates only.

The final change will see a newly revamped match day programme designed by new shirt sleeve sponsors Peardrop Creative. The new programme will have a fresh new look  and lots of new content. To grab yourself a copy you can visit the Clubshop where you can also pick up all your other Avenue merchandise. Here are some sneak previews of the new programme:


Competitive football returns to the Horsfall Stadium tomorrow as we host Brackley Town at 3pm. Come and try one of our new beers or treat yourself to a visit to the new food marquees!


Club Appoint Assistant Commercial Manager

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Bradford (Park Avenue) are delighted to welcome Andrew Pinfield on board as the club’s Assistant Commercial Manager.

Andrew, who has a wealth of local knowledge, has already been associated with the club for a long time and will assist Commercial Manager Jamie Sinclair with his duties.

Together, Andrew and Jamie intend to increase revenue at the club by not only strengthening pre-existing relationships, but creating new opportunities for local businesses to promote themselves within the Bradford fan base, the city and the wider region.

Current opportunities include sponsorship for ground boards, matches and stands as well as online advertising and matchday hospitality.

The club are keen to be a voice in the community for businesses small and large, as it allows both the club and its commercial partners to grow and build sustainable futures.

Shortly, a brand new commercial section of the website will be introduced, a section that will list all opportunities and ways to get involved and help the club succeed and progress.

Welcome on board, Andrew!

Commercial department contacts:

Jamie Sinclair / Commercial Manager

07980 891264 /

Andrew Pinfield / Assistant Commercial Manager

07753 835449 /



Season Ticket Collection

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The club will be open ahead of the first game of the season on Friday between 11-3 and 5:30-7 for supporters to collect and buy their season tickets for the upcoming season. On arrival to the ground please go up to the Directors Lounge rather than into the clubhouse.

For supporters who are unable to get to the ground on Friday season tickets can be collected from the Cemetery Road turnstile at the Brackley Town game on Saturday. Any remaining un-collected tickets after Saturday will be posted out to supporters.

If you haven’t yet purchased your 2018-19 Avenue season ticket you still have time.

This year’s adult ticket comes with one FREE under-16’s Season Ticket, and is excellently priced at just £135.

Concessions are priced at £110, students / apprentices at £30 and under-16s can pick up a 2018-19 league Season Ticket for just £20.

To download a season ticket application form please click here


Celebrating 30 Years Since The Club’s Reformation

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Bradford (Park Avenue) have a fascinating history. Whilst their story isn’t shared as widely as perhaps it should be, it provokes intrigue from anyone fortunate enough to stumble across a supporter or article that explains the story.

The club have been represented by the first-ever footballer to receive the Victoria Cross, Donald Simpson Bell, the ‘Clown Prince’ Len Shackleton and former England manager Ron Greenwood. They have been watched by crowds in excess of 20,000 many times, and a remarkable 82,771 turned up to watch a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the 1948/49 campaign.

For a club as steeped in history as Bradford are, landmark dates and anniversaries of significance come around often. The beginning of the 2018/19 season, however, marks an unforgettable anniversary that symbolises the great strides that the club has made.

Fourteen years after shareholders agreed to liquidate the company with debts of £57,652, the club was reformed and joined the West Riding County Amateur League. Although a Sunday side had been born out of the ashes of the original club, it disbanded shortly after Bradford reformed, and business was resumed.

This marked a new era for the club, and despite having to move out of Bradford to find facilities, the club remained resolute and continued to operate. A move to the Horsfall Stadium was eventually made and progress continued. Despite suffering successive relegations in 2005 and 2006, the club bounced back with promotions in 2008 and 2012.

The 2018/19 season will be Bradford’s seventh since their return to what is now known as the National League North, and the future has never looked brighter. In a division swamped with full-time sides and sizable budgets, manager Mark Bower recently guided the club to a 7th place finish, allowing Bradford to compete in the play-offs for the first time since their promotion to the division.

Despite falling to a 1-0 defeat to Brackley Town in the semi-finals, the evident potential in Bower’s side has given supporters a reason for optimism. Season ticket prices remain great value for money and the club recently made the momentous decision to adopt a modern version of the club’s former badge, whilst reinstating brackets to the club’s name. The move was described by CEO Rob Stanley as a case of ‘stepping back to move forward’ and the change is symbolic of yet another new era for Bradford.

Bradford (Park Avenue) are no longer just a football club. Despite no longer being known as a ‘community football club’, they remain one in spirit. The Horsfall College of Sport is now in full operation, ensuring that young people in Bradford have opportunities to better themselves and forge bright futures. Some prospects have already featured in the first-team as teenagers but the club’s providing of educational opportunities ensures that those who don’t are not left behind. The ‘BPA in the Community’ scheme works in tandem with the College, sharing its ethos of being more than a football club and being at the heart of the community. The team has a constant presence in Bradford, giving as many young people in Bradford the opportunity to be a part of the club as possible. Horsfall Stadium is called home but Bradford (Park Avenue) are wherever the city of Bradford and its young people need them to be. The club’s owner, Gareth Roberts, is keen to leave a legacy in Bradford and it is in the process of being established.

Bradford (Park Avenue) are providing a football team, community team and College that the city can be proud of.

Get yourself down to the Horsfall Stadium, opportunity awaits!

Season tickets:

Horsfall College of Sport:


Avenue End Pre-Season With Dallas UK Cup Win

Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC ended their pre-season campaign in fine style with a victory against Vanarama National League outfit Barrow AFC.

The away side started well and had the first opportunities of the game, but Josh Kay and Raul Correia were both denied by Bradford stopper Steven Drench.

Mark Bower’s men, wearing their new home kit for the first time, were chasing the ball down well in the final third, forcing defensive hesitations at the back. But the Avenue failed to capitalise on them.

Ben McKenna looked lively down the right wing and linked up well with new loan signing Jake Beesley. With his first chance, the striker could only head over from ten yards.

Despite Correia failing to find the target from close range, Bradford went down the other end of the pitch and McKenna’s low driven shot was well saved by Firth from 16 yards.

HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-0 Barrow AFC

After the break, the Avenue came close to scoring the opening goal but a Trialist’s strike was well saved by Firth. From the resulting corner, Luca Havern saw his shot easily caught.

After a flurry of substitutions from
both teams and half-chances for the Bluebirds, Bradford did break the deadlock.

Continuing his fine form, McKenna got his first goal in the green and white. A superb piece of play from a substitute Trialist saw him deliver a teasing delivery to the back-post, and McKenna calmly tapped the ball home from close range.

Minutes later, it was a proud moment for the club as the hosts doubled their lead. Once again McKenna was involved. His pull-back was side-footed into the roof of the net by Horsfall College of Sport scholar Matthew Rowntree to the delight of him and the home supporters.

The final whistle blew to signal the end of the game and the end of pre-season for Bradford.

The league action returns next Saturday when we host Brackley Town in the Vanarama National League North at the Horsfall Stadium (3pm).

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench (Trialist 81), Toulson, Lowe, Spencer, Branson, Havern, McKenna, Boshell (Nowakowski 71), Beesley, Dawson (Rowntree 74), Trialist (Trialist 54).

Subs not used: Ross, Ali.

Scorers: McKenna (79), Rowntree (85).

Barrow AFC: Firth, Brown (Barthram 66), Jones (Molyneux 66), Taylor, Granite, Elsdon, Hindle, Rooney, Correia, Kay (Burgess 66), Waterston (Mulholland 66)

Sub not used: Pollard


Avenue Reveal New Shirts For 2018-19 Season

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Bradford (Park Avenue) are pleased to reveal their new home and away strip for the 2018-19 season.

The home shirt maintains the green and white colours of the Avenue. The shirt is all green, and will be accompanied with white shorts.

The away shirt will keep the red, amber and black colour scheme. The kit is predominantly amber with a red trim and will be accompanied with black shorts.

The new Nike kits will also see the club welcome new sponsors for the 2018-19 season. The club has explored a number of sponsorship opportunities; however, the club has decided to promote the Horsfall College of Sport on both of the home and away shirts. The club would like to place on record their thanks to previous shirt sponsors, T&P Print for their continued support over the last few seasons.

CEO Rob Stanley made the following comments on the new shirts:

“In a conversation with Gareth [Roberts] he suggested that we use Horsfall College of Sport on the front of the shirt to promote the academy. This ties in with a deal he is working on with Jonathan Collura of the Nebraska Bugeaters [full story to follow] and will provide the academy with some promotion.”

In addition to this, the club have also secured a new shirt sleeve sponsor and would like to welcome, Peardrop Creative. Peardrop are a local business run by Avenue supporters Carl Marsden and Jac Morton and their sponsorship will see improvements made to the clubs online presence in a push to reach a wider audience and attract new supporters to the Horsfall.

CEO Rob Stanley made the following comments on the partnership with Peardrop:

“We are very excited with the partnership with Peardrop Creative. Jac and Carl are talented lads and passionate about their work and the club. The aim is to improve our website, online presence, and attract a younger supporter. They have already re-designed the programme and will be working on different projects throughout the season.”

Director of Peardrop Creative Jac Morton added the following comments:

“Being a Bradford based company that wants to put back in to the city, we were amazed by the work Bradford Park Avenue has been doing within the local community and wanted to get involved. We can’t wait to see what this season has in store.”

The new shirts go on sale in the Clubshop at the upcoming friendly against Barrow AFC, where the team will fight it out for The Dallas UK Cup.


Jake Beesley Joins On Loan From Salford City

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Mark Bower has secured the services of Salford City’s forward Jake Beesley on a season long loan.

Beesley who is the son of ex Sheffield United and Leeds United center back Paul Beesley, joined Salford in June 2017 and made 23 appearances last season before going on loan to fellow National League North side Boston United. Beesley has spent most of his career at Chesterfield where he made his league debut in November 2016 against Fleetwood Town.

Want to see Beesley in action next season then why not purchase your 2018-19 Season Ticket now. This year’s adult ticket comes with one FREE under-16’s Season Ticket, and is excellently priced at just £135. Concessions are priced at £110, students / apprentices at £30 and under-16s can pick up a 2018-19 league Season Ticket for just £20. To download a season ticket application form please click here

Jake Beesley is now available to sponsor and supporters are able to sponsor either his home or away kit for £60. To download a player kit sponsorship form please click here


Terriers Win Yorkshire Rose Cup

Huddersfield Town’s youthful side lifted the Yorkshire Rose Cup after a 2-0 victory at the Horsfall Stadium. 

The first opportunity of the half fell to Jamie Spencer, who stooped to meet Ryan Toulson’s cross but headed over the crossbar.

Ben McKenna was a thorn in Huddersfield’s side throughout and began causing problems within the first five minutes. He burst past Mason O’Malley with explosive pace but saw his low-drilled cross steered away from danger by Romoney Crichlow-Noble.

However, it was the visitors that broke the deadlock when Tom Bell struck from long-range and found the top corner despite watching Steven Drench get a fingertip to it.

Spencer had another opportunity to convert with his head when Nicky Wroe’s in-swinging cross found the young midfielder, but his effort flew over the crossbar and his blushes were spared with the raising of the offside flag.

McKenna combined well with Bradford’s trialist forward to release Toulson down the right wing, but the defender’s low drive was fired narrowly wide of the post.

The Terriers had a golden opportunity to double their lead when Aaron Rowe squared to Jordy Hiwula, but the first-team forward couldn’t find the target with his strike.

Spencer lifted a cross into the box from the right that appeared dangerous but eluded the head of an on-rushing Danny Boshell.

Hiwula found himself in a similar situation to when the earlier chance was presented to him, but blasted into the clutches of Drench from the left-hand side of the box.

HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-1 Huddersfield Town

Bradford introduced another trialist after the break and his first touch of the ball saw him blast over the crossbar from close-range after the ball fell kindly in the box.

The miss was followed up by a second opportunity shortly after, as Wroe’s corner delivery found Luca Havern in the box. The defender’s header, however, flew narrowly over the woodwork.

McKenna then found a trialist on the left flank with an inch-perfect pass, but the latter’s effort was blocked after he cut-in and darted into the box.

Chris Dawson then threaded through to McKenna, who forced Gabriel Rosario to make an excellent save as pressure began to mount on the visitors.

The Terriers did remain in contention despite the pressure and almost doubled their advantage when Olly Dyson burst through the Bradford midfield and forced the goalkeeper to palm wide of the post.

Dawson found more space in forward positions in the second-half and did so in the 75th minute but rifled wide of the post from the edge of the box.

Huddersfield had a flurry of opportunities late on but failed to convert any, and were let off the hook when O’Malley blocked a Ross Boyle cross that looked destined to find Jordan Botwood.

The visitors doubled their lead in stoppage time as Scott High converted a penalty that was won by Kit Elliott.

FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-2 Huddersfield Town

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench (Trialist 45′), Toulson (Boyle 87′), Lowe (Ridley 78′), Wroe, Branson, Havern, McKenna, Boshell (Trialist 45′), Trialist (Nowakowski 61′), Dawson (Rowntree 78′), Spencer (Botwood 87′).

Huddersfield Town: Rosario, Jackson, O’Malley, Gibson, Crichlow-Noble, High, Dyson, Bell, Obiero, Rowe, Hiwula.

Substitutes: Spratt, Davison-Hale, Eli, Bamford, Raymond, Danaher, Elliott.

Referee: Elliott Swallow


Dawson Added To Bradford Ranks

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The club are delighted to confirm the signing of 23-year-old midfielder Chris Dawson, subject to FA approval.

Dawson joins having represented Bradford as a trialist during pre-season and impressing Mark Bower with a string of outstanding displays, which saw him pick up the man-of-the-match award in the defeat to Bradford City.

He began his career with Leeds United and was handed his debut by Neil Warnock in April 2013, being named in the starting eleven for a Championship clash with Derby County. During his time with Leeds, he was capped by Wales at under-21 level and likened to the legendary Johnny Giles by Whites boss Warnock.

Injuries hindered his progress at Elland Road and led to his release in January 2016. He was snapped up by Rotherham United, but found first-team opportunities limited and had to join Norwegian side Viking FK on loan in order to play first-team football.

The midfielder left the Millers at the end of the 2016/17 season before spending a prolonged period on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. He then spent the second half of the 2017/18 campaign with Scarborough Athletic as he looked to regain match fitness.

Welcome to Bradford, Chris!

Want to see Dawson in action next season then why not purchase your 2018-19 Season Ticket now. This year’s adult ticket comes with one FREE under-16’s Season Ticket, and is excellently priced at just £135. Concessions are priced at £110, students / apprentices at £30 and under-16s can pick up a 2018-19 league Season Ticket for just £20. To download a season ticket application form please click here

Chris Dawson is now available to sponsor and supporters are able to sponsor either his home or away kit for £60. To download a player kit sponsorship form please click here