Monday, 24 October 2011

Guest of Honour Joe

Joe Cooke watching City's 2-1 victory over Northampton Town. He was our guest of honour at the museum's first Black History Month event. Thanks to Jess Jess P├ętrie for the photo.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Older than the Bantams

Celebrating 112 years of black footballers in Bradford
Saturday 22 October 2011, prior to the game against Northampton Town
1.15pm
bantamspast museum
Bradford City AFC
Valley Parade
Admission free

In 1899 a team of black players from South Africa played a Bradford & District team at Park Avenue, four years before the Bantams were formed.

Two years later, in 1901, the spectacular show Savage South Africa was staged at Valley Parade in a three week run that played to over twenty thousand people. The show, complete with 500 hundred actors and 120 horses, also featured, what the Bradford Daily Argus termed ‘real African darkies’. Today the show is often criticised as being a human zoo. However, for a working class family, living perhaps in a cramped terrace house, in days long before radio and television, the show must have simply appeared as fabulous entertainment.

In 1905, only four years after the staging of Savage South Africa, Bradford City signed their first black player, the mixed race winger Billy Clarke, from Aston Villa. He had already become the first ever black player to score a goal in the first division of English football whilst with Villa. At Valley Parade he would win a second division championship medal and score Bradford City’s first ever goal in top flight football in 1908. A hugely popular player with the Valley Parade crowds, it is interesting to note that, during his near 100 games for the Bantams, the newspapers barely mention his race. It seems that he was accepted into the Bradford City family almost without comment.

In the 1970s Bradford City welcomed the pioneering modern day black players Ces Podd and Joe Cooke to Valley Parade. The two men became immensely popular with the supporters and Ces is still the club’s record appearance holder, playing 565 games for the club between 1970 and 1984. Arguably, the presence of both men in Bradford City’s team helped to shape the culture of the club during an era that defined race relations in Britain. Being a racist and a Bradford City supporter was simply incompatible. Today, the club still enjoys a reputation for openness and tolerance. Ces and Joe’s role in establishing that culture will be one aspect of Bradford City’s celebration of Black History Month.

The bantamspast museum co-curator, David Pendleton, will give a presentation about the visit of the black South African team to Bradford in 1899; the arrival of the show Savage South Africa at Valley Parade in 1901; and Bradford City’s first black player, Billy Clarke, who joined the club in 1905.

Professor Matt Taylor, of De Montfort University, Leicester, will speak about the pioneering black footballers of the 1970s, including Bradford City’s own Ces Podd and Joe Cooke.

The director of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University, Leicester, Professor Tony Collins, will talk of the contribution of black sportsmen and women to the culture of the north of England.

We hope that our guests of honour will include, Joe Cooke and Des Hamilton, scorer of Bradford City’s opening goal during the Wembley 1996 play-off final when the Bantams secured promotion to the Championship.

The bantamspast museum event is part of Bradford City’s One Game, One Community day, which is dedicated to the Kick Racism out of Football initiative.


Programme Fair

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

In a Bantam Frame of Mind

A mini-photographic exhibition featuring life around Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground
A mini photographic exhibition will open in the bantamspast museum on Saturday 8 October. A series of twelve shots, taken by Bankfoot photographer Jess Petrie, captures a taste of life around Bradford City’s Valley Parade stadium. The photographs were taken as part the bantamsmemories project, which sought to gather the memories of the varied communities that have lived in the shadow of the football ground over the last fifty years.

The mini-exhibition runs parallel with the Bradford wide Ways of Looking photographic festival, which runs throughout October. The co-curator of the bantamspast museum, David Pendleton, said: "We are delighted to be able to display a small portion of Jess’ work. We hope to commission her once more in the near future to record the area around the ground on a match day. The importance of the football club, both socially and economically, to Manningham is perhaps taken for granted, but we feel it is important to recognise the shared links of two communities that come together for a few hours every time City play at home."

Jess Petrie gave her thoughts on the project: "I was honoured to be commissioned to document scenes of daily life from around the area. In true reportage style I set on my little journey ‘in the shadow of Valley Parade’.

I had a clear vision of the people and places I was to focus on; all the people that belong to the local religious establishments in the area, the worshippers, local business workers and the local people and communities.

The diversity and multiculturalism surrounding the area is so vast and it’s so nice to see communities of different cultures mixing, working and living together… it’s harmonious and how the rest of the world should be living.

It’s been refreshing and eye-opening to hear the stories that everyone has to tell about their life surrounding the stadium and the changes that the area has gone through over periods of time.  The opportunities that have arose from the football club, the vibrancy and ‘team spirit’ that leaves an ambience in the air before each match, the beaming smiles on the faces of local business owners after each match, and the proud feeling inside everyone that is part of the community.

I have witnessed a lot of positive actions whilst taking part in this project. And my views of Bradford have been seen in an even newer and positive light since working on it.

The communities around Valley Parade are full of support and care for one another and have great dignity. Everyone has been so welcoming, kind, warm and open.  I would like to thank all those who shared their stories with me, their time and their smiling faces, I will take a lot away with me from this pleasant experience."