FC Halifax Town host strugglers Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday at the MBi Shay Stadium. Park Avenue bring with them new manager Mark Bower and Billy Heath will be hoping that the visitors aren’t about to enjoy a honeymoon period with their new boss.
As we gear up for the clash, here are ten things you may not have known about BPA.
Bradford Park Avenue is one of the few teams in world football to have been re-founded as the same club after they went into liquidation in 1974. Reformed in 1984 BPA worked their way through the Sunday League ranks to begin their steady climb up the footballing pyramid.
The club was once known as simply Bradford Football Club and added the Park Avenue tag (the name of their home stadium) to avoid confusion with neighbours Bradford City. The letters BFC could be seen on the roof of their main stand until its demolition in 1980.
Park Avenue were initially a Rugby club and won the Challenge Cup in 1905 and the Rugby Championship in 1903. In 1907 the club’s members narrowly voted to abandon Rugby League and switch sports to Association Football, forcing some board members too breakaway and form the RLF club that is today known as the Bradford Bulls.
In the same year, the club’s application to join the Football League was denied and in an attempt to play Football at the highest possible level, they chose to fill Fulham’s place in the Southern League making them the most northerly situated club in the division by 130 miles.
BPA’s best ever league finish was ninth in the first division in the 1914-15 season, just five points behind champions Everton and beating rivals Bradford City by a single point. The same season Tottenham were relegated with just 28 points and the league’s top 9 were all clubs situated in the north of the country.
Father of Halifax Town star Jordan Sinnott, Lee Sinnott was manager of the club in 2009 but his spell was short lived and left by mutual consent just three months into the season.
Bradford Park Avenue will go into Saturdays game with the newest manager in English Football. Former Guiseley boss Mark Bower joined the club this week after steering his former club to promotion to the National League and defying all odds by keeping them from relegation.
Bradford City fans refer to fans of BPA as ‘Stans’ after a City publication named Bernard of theBantams ran a regular feature with a character named ‘Boring Stan, the Avenue fan’. Avenue however have never adopted it as an official nickname.
The Green and White colours on Avenue’s home strip became a constant when the club appointed former Celtic star Tom Maley as their manager. Until 1924 the club were the only side in the English Football league to wear green before then changed back too Red and Amber.
Park Avenue’s old stadium was designed by famous football architect, Archibald Leitch. Leitch also designed White Hart Lane, Old Trafford, Villa Park, Twickenham and many of the nation’s other famous arenas.
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