David Hopkin’s recent appointment as the latest Bradford City head coach/manager added his name to an illustrious list.
While over 1,200 people have played for Bradford City, only 45 have been entrusted in the role of manager on a permanent basis, with Hopkin the latest. And Bradford City’s new manager is part of an exclusive club just 16 strong: men to have both played and managed the Bantams. Here is a closer look at that group, in chronological order.
Peter O’Rourke (#12)
Managed: 1905-21; 1928-30
Peter O’Rourke played in Bradford City’s second-ever game, against Gainsborough in September 1903 – but he is more famous for his first spell as manager of the Bantams, which spanned an incredible 16 years: and included the legendary 1911 FA Cup victory.
John ‘Jack’ Milburn (#393)
Cousin of the legendary Newcastle striker Jackie Milburn, John ‘Jack’ Milburn’s playing career ended with the Bantams – but not before he became City’s first-ever player-managed in 1947. He stepped down a year later to be replaced by David Steele.
Ivor Powell (#469)
Powell was also player-manager after arriving from Port Vale, before continuing to manage City after a knee injury ended his playing days in 1954. He left a year later, in 1955.
Bill Harris (#593)
Welsh international Harris was City’s third player-manager, after joining the Bantams from Middlesbrough, where he had made almost 400 appearances for the club. Unfortunately, Harris was in charge during one of the lowest period’s in the club’s history, where they twice had to reapply for election to the league in four years.
John Napier (#670)
Napier was City’s first Irish-born manager, though having made over 100 appearances in an earlier spell with City, his short time as manager was more testing. City were relegated to Division Four in 1978 under Napier’s management, and he resigned thereafter.
Roy McFarland (#719)
A cornerstone of Brian Clough’s legendary Derby side, McFarland arrived at City in 1981 with many of the traits inevitably learned during his time with Clough. He was an instant hit as player-manager, and City were promoted to Division Three in first season in charge before he was controversially lured back to Derby – which resulted in the Rams paying City compensation.
Trevor Cherry (#725)
Cherry succeeded McFarland as a time where the Bantams were about to endure serious financial difficulties – but he steered the club through those testing times as player-manager before leading them to the Division Three title in 1985. He and Terry Dolan kept the club going commendably during their time away following the fire, before Cherry was surprisingly dismissed in 1987.
Terry Dolan (#687)
Bradfordian Dolan succeeded Cherry upon his sacking, after a 5-1 thumping of Oldham in the FA Cup helped him land the job full-time. He led the club away from relegation worries in Division Two but in his first full season, came desperately close to promotion, as City finished fourth and narrowly missed out on promotion to Division One for the first time in over 60 years. He left in January 1989.
Terry Yorath (#726)
Welsh international Yorath joined City in 1982 as a player/assistant-coach, but made only a handful of appearances before taking the manager’s job at Swansea in 1986. However, three years later he was back at the Bantams, this time as manager – but he lasted only a year in charge, despite being also manager of Wales at the time.
Frank Stapleton (#800)
Republic of Ireland international and former Manchester United great Stapleton arrived from across West Yorkshire in 1991, joining as player-manager from Huddersfield Town. This was a testing period for City, having been relegated to Division Three, but Stapleton solidified City before he was sacked in 1994.
Chris Kamara (#829)
City were in a relegation scrap in the newly-renamed Division Two when Chris Kamara was promoted to succeed Lennie Lawrence. They would finish that season a Division One side – a position they would secure the following season after that final day victory over QPR. Eventually, he and chairman Geoffrey Richmond parted company – but not before Kamara recommended his own assistant to replace him.
Paul Jewell (#768)
Few men have a prouder place in City’s history than Jewell. He succeeded Kamara in January 1998 and led City to a respectable 13th-placed finish in Division One that year. However, armed with several big signings the following season, Jewell shook off a poor start to lead City into the Premier League for the first time – City’s first taste of top-flight football for 77 years. He kept them up, too – but left in the summer of 2000 following a fallout with Richmond.
Stuart McCall (#722)
Played: 1982-88; 1998-2002
Managed: 2007-10, 2016-18
Bradford City’s favourite son. McCall has seen City at their heartbreaking, tragic worst, and their absolute highest as a player – before being lured back as manager to try and get them out of League Two in 2007. He ultimately failed with that task, but returned when the club were taken over by Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp in the summer of 2016. It was a popular appointment, and McCall came within one game of restoring City’s Championship status in 2017, before eventually leaving at the start of the following year.
Peter Jackson (#706)
Played: 1979-86; 1988-90
Captain of Bradford City in their darkest hour, Jackson remains one of the club’s greatest-ever players – so it was no surprise that his appointment as manager in 2011 was seen as a good move by the club’s owners. He became interim manager following the sacking of Peter Taylor and did enough of a job to land the gig full-time that summer – but he resigned just weeks into the season, being succeeded by Phil Parkinson.
Simon Grayson (#939)
Grayson arrived on a short-term loan deal from Blackburn in 2002 as City were still reeling from relegation out of the Premier League. He made only seven appearances and didn’t return for 16 years, before he was unveiled as Stuart McCall’s successor on a short-term deal in February 2018. He left that summer.
One thought on “How many men have both played for and managed Bradford City?”
Yes missed out David Wetherall