Valley Parade: Bradford City

Valley Parade, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, BD8 7DY
Betty Longbottom [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite currently being officially called the Coral Windows Stadium thanks to a sponsorship deal and suffering numerous different names over the years for the same reason, the home of Bradford City Football Club will only ever be Valley Parade to most football fans. Bradford have played their games almost exclusively at the Valley since the club was formed, with the only exception to this coming in the aftermath of the Bradford City Stadium Fire. 56 supporters lost their lives when a fire engulfed The Main Stand and destroyed it just nine minutes. Whilst the ground was being repaired the club played their home games at Elland Road and Leeds Road Stadiums.

The area that the stadium was built on was originally a quarry owned by the Midland Railway Company. It was bought by Manningham Rugby Football Club in 1886 and they spent about £1400 building a stadium with a 20,000 capacity. When Bradford City FC Formed in 1903 they took over the ground, choosing to redevelop it when they gained promotion to the First Division in 1908. They brought renowned football architect Archibald Leitch in to redesign the stadium, expanding the capacity to 40,000. The ground remained largely unchained between then and 1952 when the club’s Midland Road Stand had to be demolished not once but twice. The stadium was three-sided between 1960 and 1966.

Stats

Valley Parade Stats
Year Opened1886
Capacity25,136
Average Attendance18,287
Record Attendance39,146 (Bradford City v Burney (1911))
Pitch Size103 x 64 (6592)
NicknameThe Valley
OwnerGordon Gibb pension fund
SponsorCoral Windows
Clubs HostedManningham RFC, Bradford City, Bradford, Bradford Bulls
First FixtureBradford City v Gainsborough Trinity (15/09/1903)
Bradford City Stats
Year Founded1903
NicknameThe Bantams, The Paraders, The Citizens
Club MascotBilly Bantam
RivalsPark Avenue, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town, Halifax Town
Previous StadiumsOdsal Stadium, Elland Road, Leeds Road
KitClaret & Amber (Home) / Black (Away)
Training GroundRawdon Meadows Playing Field
Shirt SponsorJCT600
Team OwnerBC Bantams Ltd.
Record GoalscorerBobby Campbell (143)
Record AppearancesCes Podd (502)

Valley Parade Photos

Valley Parade Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By David Ingham (originally posted to Flickr as P2094590) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Coral Windows Stadium is technically a five-sided ground with a ‘Bowl Style’ feel to some of it, despite the fact that it is built in very much an ‘English Style’. This is perhaps because of the corner stand giving the impression that two of the stands are joined together. Here’s a brief bit of information about each of the four main stands:

  • The JCT600 Main Stand - Given its unusual moniker because of sponsorship, this stand has two tiers that are separated by a row of executive boxes. Randomly the tiers only run alongside two thirds of the pitch, making the corner look a bit weird.
  • The TL Dallas Stand - Housing the away supporters, this stand is the oldest part of the stadium. It has two tiers, with the upper tier supporting by standing beams that restrict views from some seats.
  • The Northern Commercials Midland Road Stand - Partially named because of sponsorship, partially named because of the road that runs along side it, this stand stretches the length of the pitch and is single-tiered.
  • The Kop - Unlike most Kop Grandstands that tend to be a single bank of seating, Bradford’s Kop is two-tiered and is linked to The JCT600 Main Stand by the North-West Corner Stand.

Bradford City Ticket Prices

Bradford City’s match ticketing policy is, in essence, nice and easy to understand. There is no categorisation of matches, the club doesn’t charge more or less for you to sit in different parts of the stadium and the only thing that affects the cost of your ticket is your age. Bradford also supports the Tickets For Troops campaign, releasing 100 free tickets for service personnel at every home game. They also operate a Flexi-Card system that costs £50 to buy per season but offers significant discount for people that would like to go to the ground regularly but don’t want to get a season ticket.

Here are the ticket prices for adults, concessions and juniors:

  • Adult: £25
  • Concession: £15
  • Under-16: £10
  • Under-11: £5

How To Get Bradford City Tickets

Bradford’s official website is a good place to start if you want to buy tickets to see The Bantams play live. Other than that you can buy tickets over the phone, by fax or by dropping in to the ticket office at the stadium in person. It is opened from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday, from 9am until 3pm on match days and from 9am until 12 noon on non-match days. It is closed on Sundays unless the team is playing, so do bear that in mind.

Getting To Valley Parade

Swap Start/End

Bradford is in West Yorkshire and is not too far from Leeds and other major cities in the county. It is a pleasant city to visit and a good personality and a vibrancy that is typical of a Northern town. Here are some of the more typical routes you’ll want to consider for your journey:

Train - The closest train station to the ground is Bradford Forster Square, which is about a fifteen minute walk. The main station in the city, however, is Bradford Interchange and that is about twenty minutes walk.

Bus - Buses are operated by First Bradford or Keighley & District Travel Company and there are numerous buses from the centre of Bradford, Bradford Interchange and surrounding areas that stop on either Manningham Lane or Queens Road, both of which are near to the ground.

Car - Form the North East use the A1 to the A1/M1 link then get onto the M62. From the South the M1 or the A1 will get you to the same point, whilst from the North and the North West the M6 and the M60 will get you to the M62. Leave the M62 at Junction 26 and follow the M606 towards Bradford. Follow sign for Leeds-Bradford Airport then get onto the A6037 then the A6177 before following signs to Valley Parade.

By Air - Leeds-Bradford Airport is by far the closest to the ground at about eight miles away.

Taxi - A taxi from Bradford Interchange to the stadium will cost £10ish and take around eight minutes, whilst a journey from the airport will take just under half an hour and should cost you about £30.

Parking Near Valley Parade

There is no parking at the stadium itself and on-street parking is also extremely limited. Your best bet might well be to park in the centre of Bradford at one of the public car parks and then walk to the stadium from there.

Useful Resources

Valley Parade Hotels

There are a number of excellent hotels in Bradford that will more than serve your needs if you’re heading to the city for a match. Here are some of our favourites:

ibis budget Bradford - £25+

Prince Court, Canal Road, Bradford, BD1 4SJ
This hotel is less than half a mile from the ground and offers self-parking, free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Be aware, though, that budget really does mean budget. More details.

Jurys Inn Bradford - £50+

2 Thornton Road, Bradford, BD1 2DH
Jurys Inn hotels are well-known as quality offerings and the Bradford one is no exception. They have a restaurant, a bar, a 24-hour fitness centre, three different meeting rooms and a conference space. There’s also free Wi-Fi and self-parking available. More details.

Dubrovnik Hotel - £70+

3 Oak Avenue, Bradford, BD8 7AQ
This pleasant hotel is about half a mile from the ground and has free Wi-Fi and free parking as well as a business centre, a library and a restaurant. There’s also free pickup from the railway station, should you be arriving by train. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Valley Parade

Bradford is a cracking place to out for a drink or two, with plenty of fun little watering holes for you to explore. Here are some of our favourites:

The New Beehive Inn

169-171 Westgate, Bradford, BD1 3AA (01274 721784)
This gas-lit Edwardian pub has bags of character and plenty of little nooks and crannies for you to explore. Its’ not far from the centre of Bradford, serves food and is one of CAMRA’s recommended places to go in the city, so you know the ales are top-notch.

The Sparrow

32 North Parade, Bradford, BD1 3HZ (01274 270772)
Another pub in Bradford, another CAMRA recommendations thanks to its real ales and cask beers. The Sparrow is a hip and youthful bar which is popular with away supporters and has numerous big screen TVs you can watch live sport on.

The Sir Titus Salt

B, Windsor Baths, Morley Street, Bradford BD7 1AQ (01274 732853)
Those that know the chain well will probably already have guessed that the name of this pub sounds a lot like a JD Wetherspoon’s establishment, and that’s because it is. You know what you’re in for here, then: Cheap food, cheap drink and a few TVs dotted around should there be any interesting sport worth watching.

Facilities

Valley Parade is located at the bottom of a valley, believe it or not, so it can be quite cold when the wind whips through the ground. Apart from that and the supporting pillars that restrict some views in the away section of the ground, your experience is likely to be a pleasant one. There are all of the usual food and drink kiosks you’d expect to find in a top stadium as well as toilets and places you can put a bet on, should you fancy it.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.20
  • Cup of tea: 2.20
  • Beer: 3.60

Hospitality

By Peanut4 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bradford City are immensely proud of their match day hospitality, with season ticket holders offered the chance to upgrade to one of the club’s excellent suites on a match by match basis and for a small fee. Here are some of the suites you could pay a visit to:

  • The Banqueting Suite - This offers the ideal opportunity to mix business and pleasure, with your package including a three-course meal before the game, pre-match interviews with former players, a padded seat on the hallway line, access to a private bar and refreshments at full-time.
  • The 1911 Club - Aimed at die-hard fans that enjoy the hospitality experience, The 1911 Club offers a pre-match ‘pub’ like experience alongside fellow Bantams, a three-course carvery before kick-off and refreshments at both half-time and full-time.
  • Executive Boxes - The Coral Windows Stadium Executive Boxes can host up to twelve guests, with excellent views of the pitch and a delicious three-course meal served to you before the game. You’ll also get access to The 1911 Club for drinks after the full-time whistle has blown.

Private Hire

The Coral Windows Stadium boasts the largest conference facilities in the local area, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to think of an event that the ground won’t be able to handle. Between the executive boxes - that are ideal for breakout rooms at a larger meeting - and the main suites at the stadium, you’ll be able to host anywhere from 10 to 700 guests at the home of Bradford City. Conferences, dinner dances, exhibitions and even weddings have all been held there in the past.

Stadium Tours & Museum

There are no tours of Valley Parade available at the time of writing, though obviously if that changes then we’ll update this section. There also doesn’t appear to be a physical museum that you can visit, either. What there is, however, is a website dedicated to all things Bradford City. Visit bantamspast.co.uk for more info.

About Bradford City

1903-04 Bradford City A.F.C. squad - By Unknown, taken 1903 [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bradford City Football Club is most commonly known as The Bantams, with The Paraders and The Citizens also names that have been associated with the club over the years. They formed in 1903 and were immediately elected to the Second Division of the Football League. They gained promotion to the First Division, the top-tier of English football, in 1908 and remained there until 1922 when they were relegated back down to the Second Division. Then followed a period of 77 years outside of the top-flight, only ending when they spent a season in the Premier League.

Bradford have only won one major honour: The FA Cup, which was won in 1911. They did reach the final of the League Cup in 2013 when they were in League Two, becoming the first team from the fourth-tier of the game to do so. They lost 5-0 to Swansea City, but they learnt from their experience at Wembley and when they returned to the famous stadium later in the season to face Northampton Town in the play-off final they were victorious, securing a return to League One.

Valley Parade History

Midland Road stand for Bradford City Football Club nearing completion 1908/09 - See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Valley Parade will forever be associated with tragedy following the 1985 stadium fire that saw 56 supporters lose their lives and a further 265 suffer serious injuries. The disaster occurred during the final match of the 1984-1985 season and the fire broke out not longer after the club had paraded the Third Division trophy, which they had just won, in front of their fans. In the wake of the disaster the club spent over £2.5 million building a new Main Stand and redeveloping The Kop.

In the early 1990s the Bradford end of the ground was converted into a two-tier structure with a scoreboard, whilst in 1996 The Midland Road Stand was also completely over-hauled. In 1999, after promotion to the Premier League had been confirmed, The Kop was once again renovated, changing to a two-tiered structure at a cost of roughly £6.5 million. Numerous financial problems have hit the club since then, with any planned redevelopment either paused or abandoned completed after the club went into administration in May 2002.

Future Developments

Rather than any further developments to Valley Parade, the most likely move in the future would be a return to Odsal Stadium where the club played some of their games in the wake of the Bradford Stadium fire. The club would share the new complex with The Bradford Bulls, should the move go ahead.

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