Bradford: City of Dreams is a two-part series exploring contemporary life in the Yorkshire city of Bradford, and how its citizens are attempting to defy the gloomy economic conditions.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Bradford: City of Dreams - History of Bradford City A.F.C. - Netflix
Bradford City Association Football Club—also known informally as Bradford City—are an English football club founded in Bradford in 1903 to introduce the sport to the West Riding of Yorkshire, which until then had been almost entirely inclined towards rugby league. Before they had even played their first game, City were elected to the Football League to replace Doncaster Rovers in Division Two, and took over the Valley Parade stadium, which has been their permanent home ground ever since. The club won the Division Two title in 1908 and the FA Cup in 1911, both under the management of Peter O'Rourke, before they were relegated from Division One in 1921–22. City were relegated again five seasons later, but when O'Rourke was reappointed as manager before the 1928–29 season, they broke several club records to earn promotion back to Division Two. After eight seasons in Division Two, City returned to Division Three, and they remained in the third and fourth tiers of the English football league system until 1985–86. During that time, they endured several periods of financial hardship, and in 1985, their ground suffered a disastrous fire in which 56 people died, on a day the club and their fans were supposed to be celebrating promotion. In 1987–88, the club came close to returning to the top division when they missed out on promotion on the final day of the season. Following relegation back to Division Three, after Geoffrey Richmond became chairman in January 1994 the club's fortunes were lifted. He helped to take them to their first appearance at Wembley and subsequently into the Premier League, where they played for two seasons. Following Richmond's self-proclaimed “six weeks of madness” and the collapse of television channel ITV Digital, the club suffered its first spell in administration. Another period under administration followed, and City dropped through the leagues of professional English football back to the bottom tier of The Football League, until promotion in 2012–13 brought them back up a division. In January 2013, City became the first club from the fourth tier of English football since 1962 to reach the Football League Cup final, and the first fourth-tier club ever to reach a major Wembley Cup Final.
Bradford: City of Dreams - Inter-war years (1919–38) - Netflix
With several retirements during the war, it was a new-look side that took to the field for the 1919–20 season, when league football resumed. The 15th-place finish in the league was City's lowest since their first season in Division One, and a fourth-round FA Cup exit away at Bristol City was blamed on a pre-game trip to Fry's chocolate works. It was a position replicated the following season. After ten campaigns in Division One, City were relegated back to Division Two, when they lost all of their final five games of the 1921–22 season. It would be 77 years until Bradford City again competed in the top division of English football. Having lost O'Rourke as manager in 1921, after he had struggled to cope with the death of his son two years earlier, Bradford's results suffered back in Division Two. Both Bradford City and Bradford (Park Avenue) had been relegated in 1922, and with the rise of fellow West Yorkshire side Huddersfield Town, attendances in Bradford dropped. City's average attendance fell from a record high of 22,585 in 1920–21 to between 12,000 and 14,000 in Division Two. Five consecutive bottom half finishes culminated in relegation to Division Three (North) in 1926–27, when they finished bottom of the table following a then record 8–0 defeat to Manchester City on the final day of the season. New manager Colin Veitch missed out on guiding the club to an immediate promotion when they finished sixth, but at the end of the season the players had not been paid and the bank was unable to advance any more money because of the club's overdraft. Had it not been for donations by fans, Bradford City would not have started the following campaign. A new board was appointed, and they reinstated Peter O'Rourke as manager. Success was immediate, when the 1928–29 season started with a record 11–1 victory over Rotherham United, as the side scored a club record 128 goals to earn promotion by just one point. City's successful team had also brought the fans back and the average attendance of 18,551 is the highest average recorded by the club, since 1925, when The Football League started to keep official records. O'Rourke left for a second time in May 1930, after he resigned because he was not allowed to sign a player he wanted. City spent eight seasons back in Division Two but the nearest they came to stepping up to the top flight was in 1933–34 when at one point they topped the division. Their sixth-place finish was the highest position since the club had been in Division One and would not be bettered until the 1980s. Relegation back to Division Three (North) came in 1936–37. City were runners-up in the Division Three North Challenge Cup a year later before they won the same competition in the last year before league football was again suspended because of war.
Bradford: City of Dreams - References - Netflix