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Address: Valley Parade,
Capacity: 25,136 (All-Seater)
Half of this stadium offers a fantastic view of the pitch. The other half is perfectly fine but completely dwarfs the stands on the opposite side.
Known for sponsorship reasons as the University of Bradford Stadium, the Valley Parade site has been in use since 1886.
It was originally purchased for Manningham Rugby Football Club, with the ground and road built upon it both taking the name of the Valley Parade area which they are based in. Manningham played here until 1903 when financial difficulties led to club officials changing the team from a Rugby Football side to an Association Football side. The new team took the name Bradford City Association Football Club and have played at Valley Parade ever since.
The stadium has been the temporary home for a single season to two other Bradford sports teams; Bradford (Park Avenue) Football Club during 1973-74, and Bradford Bulls Rugby League Club during 2001-02.
Location and Getting There
Valley Parade is based atop a steep hill, around one mile north of Bradford City Centre. This hill drops down beyond the east side of the ground, and down the bottom of it on the other side of the railway line is a retail park. Heading northwest from the ground eventually brings you to Lister Park, whilst heading west brings you to the areas of Manningham and Girlington amongst others.
Street parking is possible for Valley Parade, but your best bet would be trying to find space on one of the many roads west or south of the ground.
The retail park east of the stadium is not somewhere I would recommend going, mostly because of the steep climb you have to take.
The closest railway station is Bradford Forster Square, close to the City Centre and around 20 minutes walk south of the stadium.
Outside the Stadium
What you notice immediately about Valley Parade are its north and west stands, known as the JCT600 Stand and The Kop respectively. There are joined together by the North West Corner and completely tower over the rest of the stadium.
The JCT600 Stand is the main stand at Valley Parade, housing the Main Reception and Club Offices. Its exterior has a brickwork base but is made up mostly of light and dark grey corrugated iron, with a claret cantilever roof coming down from the top.
The Main Entrance protrudes a long way out, and turnstiles into the stand itself can be found on either side of here.
The director’s car park is out beyond the JCT600 Stand, and you can find The City Shop, Bradford’s Official Club Store, down Valley Parade road near to the stadium’s southwest corner.
On one side of the JCT600 Stand’s exterior is a memorial paying homage to the victims of the Bradford City Stadium Fire.
On 11th May 1985 during a game between Bradford City and Lincoln City, an accidental fire broke out in the old Main Stand, which was mostly made of wood. What started as just a small fire engulfed the entire stand within minutes.
A total of 56 people lost their lives in the tragedy and at least 265 were injured.
The disaster has led to rigid new safety standards in stadiums throughout the UK, with wooden grandstands now banned as many grounds were redesigned in order to prevent a tragic accident like this from ever happening again.
The memorial in place on Valley Parade’s exterior is a touching tribute to every one of those who died that day, and they will forever be remembered by those not just associated with Bradford City, but the whole football family.
The North West Corner and Kop continue the same exterior design as the JCT600 Stand, with brickwork at the base, grey corrugated iron in the upper parts and a claret cantilever roof coming down from the top.
Bradford’s Main Ticket Office is based in the middle of the North West Corner with turnstiles on either side, and most of The Kop turnstiles are based close to the stand’s centre, with an entrance to the Bantams Bar right in the middle.
Out beyond The Kop is the One in a Million Free School, part of a Bradford-based charity that engages predominantly with disadvantaged children and young people.
To get round to the East Stand, known as the Midland Road Stand after the street that runs outside of it, you have to walk all the way down Thorncliffe Road and turn right onto Midland Road, continuing along till you reach the stand, which hangs over the path below.
It’s exterior mirrors that of the rest of the stadium, with a brickwork base, grey corrugated iron and a claret cantilever roof, although it is much noticeably smaller than the JCT600 Stand, northwest corner and Kop.
A section of turnstiles in Valley Parade’s northeast corner are for The Kop, whilst the Midland Road home turnstiles are towards the middle of the stand’s exterior.
Away turnstiles for this stand are down towards the southeast corner.
The South Stand is known for sponsorship reasons as the TL Dallas South Stand.
It is on higher ground than the adjacent Midland Road Stand and the turnstiles into here can all be found along Midland Road in the stadium’s southeast corner.
As a result of this, there is just a plain brick wall running along Holywell Ash Lane out the back of the TL Dallas Stand and it is not really much to look at, though you can see part of the upper tier’s corrugated iron exterior and the large yellow bars holding it up.
Holywell Ash Lane is a one-way street for vehicles and only really needed for supporters who are trying to get from the west side of the ground to the east.
Inside the Stadium
The JCT600 Stand is made up of two tiers of a relatively similar size, with a row of executive boxes separating the two from one another.
The lower tier blocks are made up of alternating claret and amber stripes, whilst the upper tier blocks follow a similar layout. The letters BRADFORD are spelt out across the top rows of the upper tier, with claret letters used in the amber seating blocks and amber letters used in the claret seating blocks. The letters CITY are also spelt out in claret in one of the amber seating blocks near to the North West Corner.
Bradford’s press box is located at the back of the lower tier, and you can find the dugouts down the very front. The changing rooms and tunnel are in a building down by the southwest corner.
Because of the cantilever roof above, there are no pillars coming down and so your view of the pitch from any seat is perfectly clear.
One side of the JCT600 Stand however is left open, with just a small wall keeping fans in the upper tier protected from a pretty big drop down to the road below.
Additionally, one block (usually block A) in the lower tier does not have the stand’s roof overhead and is completely exposed to the elements as a result. It isn’t always open for use on a matchday, but when it is, it tends to be the emptiest block in the stadium. If you’re buying a ticket for a match at Valley Parade and this block has better availability than anywhere else, you know why!
Like the JCT600 Stand, both the North West Corner and Kop are two-tiered, but not quite as tall as their adjacent neighbour.
The two tiers of The Kop are separated by the Bantams Bar. All the seats in the North West Corner are coloured claret, whilst the blocks in The Kop follow a claret and amber stripe pattern. The letters BRADFORD are spelt out across the upper tier blocks, and the letters CITY are spelt out across the lower tier blocks. As with the JCT600 Stand, claret letters are used in the amber blocks and amber letters are used in the claret blocks.
The cantilever roof above means that there are no supporting pillars coming down and so your view from any seat is perfectly clear.
The Kop also has a large windshield covering one side and only the front rows are not protected by it.
There is also a very small block of seating at the bottom of the northeast corner which has no roof overhead. This block will only be used when Valley Parade is expected to be at full capacity.
The Midland Road Stand is single-tiered.
It is a similar height to the lower tier of The Kop, and the seating blocks continue the alternating amber and claret striped design. The letters BANTAMS are spelt out across the stand, with claret letters in the amber blocks and amber letters in the claret blocks. You can find the area holding the matchday camera at the very back of the Midland Road Stand.
Your view is perfectly clear from every seat because of the cantilever roof above and the stand also has large windshields at either end that completely cover every row.
The TL Dallas Stand is made up of two tiers with one stacked on top of the other.
Every seat in this stand is coloured claret, and there are staircases between each of the lower tier blocks which allow you to get from the stand’s concourse to the upper tier blocks.
Supporting pillars run regularly across the front of the stand and because of this your view is likely going to be restricted. Only the front row seats in each tier will provide a clear view of the action.
There are also no windshields on either side and so the wind and the rain can come in from here.
An electronic scoreboard is in the southeast corner of Valley Parade and can be best seen by those in The Kop, North West Corner and JCT600 Stand.
The location of away fans at Valley Parade depends on the size of the travelling crowd.
When small away support is expected, the TL Dallas Stand is closed and fans are kept in the Midland Road Stand, taking up the blocks closest to the southeast corner.
Larger crowds use the seats in the Midland Road Stand but are also given the upper tier of the TL Dallas Stand. The bottom tier is used when very large away followings are expected.
The away section in the Midland Road Stand provides a perfectly clear view of the action from any seat, but views are restricted in the TL Dallas Stand by a row of supporting pillars. If you are in the front of either tier in this stand, they should not get in the way however.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Bradford Arms (77 Manningham Lane, BD1 3BA) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located close to Valley Parade itself)
-Brew Haus Bradford (11 Great Horton Road, BD7 1AJ) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near City Park)
-The Corn Dolly (110 Bolton Road, BD1 4BE) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located east of Bradford Forster Square Station)
-The Peacock Bar (25 North Parade, BD1 3JL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near to Bradford Forster Square Station)
-The Sparrow (32 North Parade, BD1 3HZ) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located near to Bradford Forster Square Station)
-The Turls Green (Unit D, Centenary Square, BD1 1HY) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located south of Bradford Forster Square Station)
Valley Parade is one of England’s most iconic football grounds.
It’s northern and western sides wouldn’t look out of place alongside the country’s biggest stadiums, and whilst it’s eastern and southern sides certainly aren’t terrible, they do look massively out of place when compared to what’s on the other side of the pitch.
These contrasting stands however are what makes Valley Parade such a unique and special place to watch football, and I highly recommend you come and check it out twice; once to get the great view from really high up, and the other lower down so that you can feel the rest of the stadium and that Bradford City crowd towering over you.
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