Bantams have the fans but unfortunately not the results

Bantams have the fans but unfortunately not the results

With another international break, it seems an appropriate time to spotlight a team from League Two which at least has nearly a full programme today.

Two seasons ago, Oldham Athletic were relegated to the National League becoming the first former Premier League club to play non-league football.

This left Bradford City with the unwanted title as the lowest-placed team that had once played in the Premier League.

While Wrexham have understandably attracted most of the League Two attention with their Hollywood backing, Bradford City deserve a mention for the amazing support they generate despite being a lowly 18th in the table.

Last Saturday, at home to Barrow a crowd of 17,247 showed up at Valley Parade to cheer the Bantams.

That's not bad in a division where many teams struggle to get 3,000. Alas, they still lost 2-1.

The size of the crowd was not a freak figure.

Bradford boast an average home attendance of 17,838 and just a few weeks ago attracted 21,552 when Wrexham were the visitors.

To put things into perspective, Bradford's average attendance is bigger than three Premier League clubs -- Luton, Bournemouth and Brentford.

So how do the Bantams attract such big gates despite poor form?

The most obvious reason is that Bradford is one of the largest cities in England and the citizens need a team to support.

Affordable season tickets is another factor. Valley Parade has become a meeting place for the community.

Back in the 1960s, Bradford actually had two teams in the Football League, the other being Bradford Park Avenue.

Unfortunately, PA went into liquidation in 1974. They have since reformed and now play in the seventh-tier Northern Premier League.

It is more than two decades since Bradford City graced the Premier League for two seasons.

They had gained promotion on the last day of the 1998-99 season with a win over Wolves.

Managed at that time by Paul Jewell, the team was a motley crew.

With many players past their best they were known as "Dad's Army."

But with expensive signings like Benito Carbone, Stan Collymore and Dan Petrescu, they just survived.

Playing in their distinctive amber and claret stripes, City created huge excitement on the last day of the season by beating Liverpool 1-0 to stay in the Premier League.

Alas, they were relegated the following season and everything went downhill from there.

They barely survived as a club, going into administration twice and plunging down the divisions.

Much of their financial difficulties was a result of unrealistic high wages they forked out while in the top flight.

Since then they have been through more than two dozen managers, the latest casualty being former Manchester United star Mark Hughes who was recently sacked after a string of poor results.

Something that created a dark shadow over the club was that fateful day in May 1985 when more than 50 fans were killed after a fire broke out under the main wooden stand.

The blaze was caused by a discarded cigarette which ignited a pile of rubbish allowed to have accumulated under the stand.

In more recent times, Bradford have enjoyed additional income from an unexpected source, a certain Harry Potter.

City's scarf colours are very similar to those worn by Harry and his Gryffindor classmates at Hogwarts School, prompting the club's scarf sales to soar.

As a result, Harry was made an honorary member of the supporters club.

Bradford City will be desperately hoping for a good result today at Notts County although it might require a touch of magic from Harry.

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