Bradford Association Football Club was formed in 1907 and used the name of its ground, Park Avenue, to distinguish itself from the plethora of other sporting clubs in the area: Bradford City AFC, Bradford Northern RLFC (now Bradford Bulls) and Bradford (& Bingley) RUFC. For any quiz-addicts reading Bradford (PA) AFC is the only club with brackets in its name to have played in the Football League.
The club had its origins as a rugby club, who in turn had merged in 1880 with Bradford Cricket Club, whose history can be traced back to 1836. Their amalgamation coincided with a move to Park Avenue in 1880. During the period 1880 to 1903 Bradford were close rivals of Manningham, later to become Bradford City FC. When both Bradford and Manningham switched from amateur rugby union to professional rugby league in 1895 Bradford started running an association side, playing in the West Yorkshire and Yorkshire Leagues and competing in the FA Amateur Cup and the FA Cup. Although this experiment eventually became a failure because the soccer section had to be closed down in 1899, this feat makes Bradford (PA) in fact older than Bradford City.
In the same way that Bradford City’s forerunner Manningham looked to soccer as a more viable commercial alternative to rugby the origins of Bradford (Park Avenue) were similarly opportunistic. Prior to formation the club had approached Bradford City suggesting that a merged club could play at the superior Park Avenue ground. When the approach was rejected the club sought election to the Football League in its own right. It was unsuccessful in its original application of 1907 but after playing a season in the Southern League joined the Second Division of the national Football League in 1908.
The traditional colours of Bradford (Park Avenue) were red, amber and black which were inherited from the original Bradford RFC and incidentally retained by Bradford & Bingley RUFC and Bradford Northern RLFC who all claim common genealogy. There are no records why these particular colours were chosen. It has been suggested that these colours were in fact associated with the town of Bradford before the granting of its coat of arms in 1847.
In 1911 Avenue, also fairly obviously the club’s nickname, changed their colours to green and white hoops following the appointment of a Scottish manager with a soft spot for Celtic. It may also have been a move to exploit the local catchment area which had many residents of Irish origin. In so doing Avenue became the only club ever to wear green and white in the English First Division, which they did between 1914 and 1921. Avenue reverted to red, amber and black with white shorts in 1924. This combination was worn in a combination of either hoops or stripes. The club revived green and white in 1958, coinciding with the arrival of former Accrington Stanley’s Scottish manager Walter Galbraith. We see various guises at regular intervals, such as plain white with green numbers and trimmings, green with thin white stripes, green and white stripes of the same width and an all-white strip with a green ‘V’ neck.
The traditional colours were back in 1967 when Avenue played in white shirts with one thin red and one thin amber hoop only, with black shorts and numbers. The colour scheme varied quite a lot in subsequent years but inclined more to red, amber and white than red, amber and black. When Avenue lost their League place in 1970 they wore white shirts with amber trimmings and red shorts.
The club then entered the Northern Premier League but was unable to achieve any success or overcome its financial problems. In 1973 Avenue vacated their traditional ground and moved to Valley Parade, home of rivals City, where they played for one final season before winding-up in 1974.
Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC were reformed in 1988, kept its brackets and not only adopted green and white but also their predecessor’s badge, the city’s coat of arms.
We see a black ram and a white Angora, charged with gold horns and three white roses of York round the neck, both referring to the woollen industry. The motto ‘Labor omnia vincit’ means ‘Labour overcomes all things’. The inclusion of a boar’s head and the three bugle horns in the arms was a result of a remarkable and unusual happening. Here we go.
“One blast with his horn upon St Martints Day” was part of the service which John Northrop of Manningham owed to John of Gaunt for his lands. This service, performed in the Market Place at Bradford, became a local custom, and is commemorated by the horns in the arms. The lands for which this service was rendered are said to have been offered as a reward to the slayer of a ravenous boar which haunted Cliffe Wood. One day when the boar was drinking at a well, later called Boar’s Well, and represented in the arms, a youth shot yhe beast and cut out its tongue to take as evidence when claiming the reward. Shortly afterwards another man came upon the dead boar, cut off the head, and took it to put in counter-claim. Judgment was given for him who produced the tongue, and the false claimant was punished. In allusion to this legend the boar in the crest has no tongue.