Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Valley Parade: Bradford City

Despite its various sponsorship-driven name changes, Valley Parade remains the beloved home of Bradford City Football Club. The club has played at this historic ground since its formation, with the exception of a temporary relocation following the tragic Bradford City Stadium Fire in 1985. While the ground was being repaired, the club played its home games at Elland Road and Leeds Road Stadiums.

Valley Parade has a rich history, starting as a quarry owned by the Midland Railway Company. Manningham Rugby Football Club purchased the land in 1886 and built a stadium with a capacity of 20,000. When Bradford City FC formed in 1903, they took over the ground and expanded its capacity to 40,000. Over the years, the ground has seen renovations and improvements, including the addition of the West Stand, South Stand, Midland Road East Stand, and the iconic two-tiered Kop North Stand.

Valley Parade Stats

  • Year Opened: 1886
  • Capacity: 25,136
  • Average Attendance: 18,052
  • Record Attendance: 39,146 (Bradford City v Burney, 1911)
  • Pitch Size: 103 x 64 (6,592 sq. yd)
  • Nickname: The Valley
  • Owner: Gordon Gibb pension fund
  • Sponsor: University of Bradford

Valley Parade has a unique seating arrangement, with a ‘Bowl Style’ feel that gives the impression of two stands connected by a corner stand. Let’s take a closer look at each of the four main stands:

The West Stand

This stand features two tiers separated by a row of executive boxes. Interestingly, the tiers only run alongside two-thirds of the pitch, creating a unique visual.

The South Stand

Housing the away supporters, this stand is the oldest part of the stadium. It consists of two tiers, with upper tier views restricted in some seats due to supporting beams.

The Midland Road East Stand

Named after the adjacent road, this stand stretches the length of the pitch and offers a single-tiered viewing experience.

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The Kop North Stand

Unlike most Kop Grandstands, Bradford’s Kop is a two-tiered structure linked to The Main Stand by the North-West Corner Stand.

Bradford City Ticket Prices

Bradford City’s ticketing policy is simple and straightforward. There are no price variations based on the match or seating location. The ticket prices are solely determined by age. Additionally, the club offers a Flexi-Card system, allowing regular attendees to enjoy discounts without committing to a season ticket.

Ticket Prices:

  • Adult: £20
  • Concession: £18

Please note that tickets purchased on the day of the match may be subject to a £5 increase in price, so it’s best to book in advance.

How To Get Bradford City Tickets

To purchase tickets to see The Bantams play live, you can visit Bradford’s official website. Alternatively, you can also buy tickets via phone, fax, or by visiting the ticket office at the stadium during operating hours.

Getting To Valley Parade

Bradford is conveniently located in West Yorkshire, making it easily accessible from Leeds and other major cities in the county. Here are a few common routes to consider:

  • Train: The closest train station to the ground is Bradford Forster Square, a short fifteen-minute walk away. However, the main station in the city is Bradford Interchange, which is approximately a twenty-minute walk from the stadium.
  • Bus: First Bradford or Keighley & District Travel Company operate buses from the center of Bradford, Bradford Interchange, and surrounding areas. These buses stop near the stadium on Manningham Lane or Queens Road.
  • Car: Depending on your starting location, follow the appropriate motorway and road signs towards Bradford. Once near the city, follow the signs to Valley Parade.
  • Air: Leeds-Bradford Airport is the closest airport to Valley Parade, located approximately eight miles away.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available from Bradford Interchange and Leeds-Bradford Airport. The fare from Bradford Interchange to the stadium is around £12, while the journey from the airport takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately £35.
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Parking Near Valley Parade

Valley Parade does not have on-site parking, and on-street parking options are limited. It is recommended to park in the city center at one of the public car parks and walk to the stadium from there.

Valley Parade Hotels

If you’re visiting Bradford for a match, there are several excellent hotels that will meet your needs. Here are some recommendations:

Pubs and Bars Near Valley Parade

Bradford boasts a wide range of pubs and bars to enjoy before or after the match. Here are some popular options:

Facilities

Valley Parade offers all the amenities and facilities you would expect from a top stadium. There are numerous food and drink kiosks, toilets, and even betting outlets. The supporting pillars in the away section can partially obstruct views, and the stadium is exposed to the wind due to its location at the bottom of a valley.

Prices:

  • Programme: £3
  • Pie: £3.50
  • Cup of tea: £2.30
  • Beer: £4.80

Hospitality

Bradford City takes pride in its match day hospitality, offering season ticket holders the opportunity to upgrade to one of the club’s excellent suites on a match-by-match basis for a small fee. Here are some of the suites available:

  • The Banqueting Suite: Enjoy a three-course meal, pre-match interviews with former players, a padded seat along the halfway line, access to a private bar, and refreshments at full-time.
  • The 1911 Club: This is perfect for fans who enjoy a pub-like experience, offering a three-course carvery before kick-off and refreshments at half-time and full-time.
  • Executive Boxes: Host up to twelve guests in the Coral Windows Stadium Executive Boxes, which provide excellent views of the pitch and include a delicious three-course meal. Access to The 1911 Club is also available for drinks after the match.

Private Hire

Valley Parade is equipped with extensive conference facilities, making it an ideal venue for a wide range of events. From executive boxes suitable for breakout rooms to main suites, the stadium can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 700 guests. Conferences, dinner dances, exhibitions, and even weddings have been successfully hosted at Valley Parade.

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Stadium Tours & Museum

While individual tours of Valley Parade are not available, groups of up to 30 people can book tours for a fee of £50. Unfortunately, there is no physical museum on-site. However, you can visit the website bantamspast.co.uk for a wealth of information about Bradford City.

About Bradford City

Bradford City Football Club, affectionately known as The Bantams, has a rich history. The club was formed in 1903 and quickly gained promotion to the First Division in 1908. Since then, they have experienced both highs and lows. They won the FA Cup in 1911 and reached the League Cup final in 2013 as a League Two team, making them the first fourth-tier team to achieve such a feat. After a period of 77 years outside the top-flight, they spent a season in the Premier League.

Valley Parade History

Valley Parade will forever be associated with the tragic events of the 1985 stadium fire, where 56 supporters lost their lives and many others were injured. Following the disaster, extensive renovations were undertaken, including the construction of a new Main Stand and the redevelopment of The Kop.

Over the years, Valley Parade has seen further enhancements, including the conversion of the Bradford end into a two-tier structure with a scoreboard and the complete overhaul of the Midland Road Stand. The Kop was also renovated in 1999, transforming it into a two-tiered stand at a cost of approximately £6.5 million. Despite facing financial challenges and administration in 2002, Valley Parade remains the iconic home of Bradford City.

Future Developments

Currently, there are no planned major developments for Valley Parade. However, there has been speculation about a potential return to Odsal Stadium, where the club played some of their matches following the Bradford Stadium fire. If this move were to happen, Bradford City would share the new complex with The Bradford Bulls.