Owner: Dr. John Dean
Nickname: Bradford, Park Avenue, BPA, The Green Army
Facebook: Bradford Park Avenue
Stadium: Horsfall Stadium
THE MANAGER: Mark Bower
Bower began his managerial career as caretaker manager for Guiseley AFC in September 2013 despite initially starting out at the club as the club’s vice-captain, being appointed permanently in the same month despite losing his first two games in charge. He remained with the club until August 2016.
CLUB CAPTAIN: Luca Havern
Club captain Luca Havern re-joined Bradford Park Avenue prior to the 2020/21 season as a solution adding more experience to Bradford’s defensive efforts. The 31-year-old defender re-joined after a spell away with Ashton United, where he signed after spending 2017/18 and 2018/19 at the Avenue.
Having started his career at Stockport County, where he captained the U18 side. Following a period on loan with Radcliffe and Ashton United, he moved on to Mansfield Town after a successful trial. He would agree to return to Stockport County for a season, before moving on to spells with Mossley, Ashton United again, Hyde and Altrincham before joining AFC Telford United where he was appointed as club captain. Havern brings a wealth of National League experienced having accumulated over 200 appearances throughout his career.
MEET THE OPPOSITION:
Originally, Bradford Park Avenue was formed in 1863 as a rugby football side. In 1907, a narrow majority of members decided to abandon Northern Union (Rugby league) in favour of football which has been dubbed as “The Great Betrayal”. The club joined the Southern League in 1907 filling a gap left by Fulham, despite the club being located in the north. In 1908, the club was elected to the Second Division of the Football League, until 1914 when they were promoted to the First Division. Their 1914 season featured player Donald Bell, who would go on to win the Victoria Cross in 1916 for his bravery on the Somme. After World War I the club began a steady decline, being relegated to the Second Division in 1921. Third Division in 1922 and Fourth Division after a 1958 reorganisation. In 1970 they were replaced in the Football League by Cambridge United and the club went into liquidation in 1974 reforming as a Sunday league team.
A new club was reformed in the 1988/89 season, with Bradford Park Avenue returning to Saturday football in the West Riding County League, and then the Central Midlands League for 1989/90. 1990/91 saw the club join the North West Counties, which they won in 1995 earning promotion to the Northern Premier League and moving to Horsfall Stadium. Prior to the 2004/05 season, Bradford PA became founding members of the Conference North but were relegated back to the Northern Premier League where they remained until regaining promotion in 2012 to the National League North where they remain today.
The Avenue currently sit in 9th in the National League North table having experienced a series of mix results in their 2020/21 season. Bradford have played 10 games, winning 3, drawing 3 and losing 4. Their 2 most recent defeats were against Southport FC and AFC Telford United, losing 2-0 at home to the Sandgrounders and 2-1 at home to the Bucks. Their two most recent outings saw BPA defeat Darlington in a 1-0 away win, and draw 2-2 to Spennymoor away. Bradford seem to perform stronger away from home.
ONES TO WATCH:
Atkinson put pen to paper for Bradford Park Avenue prior to the current season, having previously worked under Mark Bower when playing for Guiseley. The 24-year-old goalkeeper made 18 appearances in his two seasons for Guiseley despite being initially signed as a back-up but impressing in his time at the club. Atkinson started his career with Premier League side Leeds United coming through the ranks at the club’s academy. He went on to make England U16s and U17s appearances before moving on to Guiseley.
The exciting young midfielder is another new signing for the Avenue having joined the club prior to the 2020/21 season on permanent basis following a successful loan from Huddersfield Town during the 2019/20 season. Marriott started his career at Huddersfield Town where he remained until his release this season. He spent part of the 2019/20 season on loan to BPA before returning to Huddersfield to be assessed by new Town manager Danny Cowley before then going on loan again to Warrington Town. Marriott’s strong technical abilities make him a strong player for the level and his elite academy background instilled a strong work ethic which will benefit Bradford in this fixture.
The experienced Nicky Clee is now on his 4th season at Park Avenue, despite having spent part of the 2019/20 season with Northern Premier League side Ashton United before returning to Bradford in December 2019. The 37-year-old midfielder is highly rated at the Avenue, being a fan favourite at the club. Clee possesses really strong technical abilities, making him a threat for Bradford where he is a regular “man of the match” for the club. The midfielder features over 13 years of National League experience having represented the likes of Hyde United, Altrincham, Guiseley, Harrogate Town as well as Bradford Park Avenue in both the National League, and National League North standards.