Category Archives: Team of the Decade

Team of the Decade: the Central-Midfielders (vote two)

#1173: Gary Liddle
City appearances: 76
City goals: 4

Gary Liddle was one of several players signed by Phil Parkinson in the summer of 2014 to boost the club’s depth in midfield, following the departure of the likes of Gary Jones after consolidating the club’s position in League One.

Liddle had carved out a reputation as a fine lower-league midfielder, and during his time at Valley Parade, he proved to be a shrewd addition. He played a crucial part in the run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 2014-15, and gave many of his fellow midfielders licence to roam forward, thanks to his defensive displays.

#1172: Billy Knott
City appearances: 79
City goals: 8

Billy Knott made his Bradford City debut on the same day as Gary Liddle, as the former Chelsea youngster quickly found his feet in claret and amber. A hugely-talented junior with the Londoners, Knott became a firm fan favourite during his time at City.

That was in no small part due to the goal he scored against Leeds just weeks into his City career, a wonderful long-range effort in front of the Kop that helped the Bantams on their way to a 2-1 win. Knott was just as important in front of goal in the FA Cup run of that season, too.

He scored twice in the 3-3 draw away at Millwall, before notching another one of the goals in the 4-0 replay victory at Valley Parade. Knott played in every single game of the run to the quarter-finals, and was just as impressive in league football, too.

#1007: Nathan Doyle
City appearances: 127
City goals: 2

Nathan Doyle had already enjoyed a short spell with Bradford City in 2006, before returning to the club in the summer of 2012. He would form a magnificent, all-action midfield pairing with Gary Jones that not only inspired City to promotion, but to an unforgettable run to the League Cup final, too.

Doyle’s presence in midfield was just as important in 2013-14, as City consolidated themselves in League One. Though he wasn’t quite as prolific in front of goal as some of the other midfielders that have represented City this decade, his defensive presence was part of the backbone of City’s success under Phil Parkinson.

#1203: Josh Cullen
City appearances: 63
City goals: 1

Loan players are always a gamble – Bradford City’s record alone with them proves that. But few have been as successful or popular as West Ham youngster Josh Cullen. He spent two seasons with City, which coincided with the club coming desperately close to promotion to the Championship under Stuart McCall.

Cullen’s passing, vision and his energy were all reasons why he became such a fond favourite with City fans during his time with the club, and it is perhaps no surprise to see him going on to become a permanent presence in the Championship to this day.

Team of the Decade: the Central Midfielders (vote one)

#1210: Timothee Dieng
City appearances: 78
City goals: 6

One of Stuart McCall’s first signings in his second spell as Bradford City manager, French midfielder Tim Dieng was one of the key components of a side that came desperately close to promotion to the Championship in the 2016-17 season.

The powerful midfielder made an impressive 48 appearances during his first season with the club, chipping in with crucial goals along the way to help City to a fifth-placed finish, before the Bantams came unstuck against Millwall in the League One play-off final.

Injuries, however, limited his appearances the following season. He made just three starts before Christmas in the 2017-18 season, though he did force his way back into the side in the latter months of the season, before leaving the club that summer to join Southend.

#1138: Gary Jones
City appearances: 100
City goals: 8

Few, if any, players have left as big a legacy at Valley Parade after just two seasons with the club than Gary Jones. A low-key arrival from Rochdale in the summer of 2012, Jones was immediately handed the captain’s armband by Phil Parkinson: and became one of the most popular skippers the club has ever seen.

He became only the second man to lead Bradford City out in a major cup final: and first to do so at Wembley, after helping guide the club to the 2013 League Cup final, which ended in defeat with Swansea. Jones’ Bantams then returned to the national stadium three months later, securing promotion against Northampton.

Jones was just as important to Parkinson’s side as they adapted to life back in League One. His passion and pride in the badge is arguably what made him so popular with supporters: but he also had a knack of popping up with crucial goals, too. At the end of the 2013-14 season, his contract wasn’t renewed: but he remains a popular figure whenever he returns to Valley Parade.

#1067: Michael Flynn
City appearances: 104
City goals: 14

Few players emerged from the turbulent years pre-Phil Parkinson with more credit than Michael Flynn. The current Newport County manager is seen by many supporters as a future Bantams manager, in part due to how popular he was throughout his spell at Valley Parade.

Flynn captained City on numerous occasions, and was a lynchpin of the side throughout a difficult, transitional period in the club’s modern-day history leading up to Parkinson’s arrival in August 2011.

Even when Parkinson arrived, he remained in the side, but the summer of 2012 brought about huge change at City, and Flynn was one of several players who left the club. He made over 100 appearances for the Bantams, scoring eight times.

Bradford City Team of the Decade: The Right Midfielders

#1141: Garry Thompson 
City appearances: 102
City goals: 11

Perhaps most fondly remembered for his goal against Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the 2012-13 League Cup, industrious winger Garry Thompson served Bradford City with distinction over a number of seasons at the club.

Debuting alongside the likes of Gary Jones and Stephen Darby at the start of the 2012-13 season, Thompson had an almost-immediate impact, finding a regular home on the right wing for Phil Parkinson.

He made 44 league appearances in total in his first season with the club, scoring what would prove to be a decisive goal in the first leg of the play-offs against Burton. Thompson had a knack of scoring crucial goals for City; including the one he scored in the round two win at Watford in the League Cup which, given what happened thereafter, is sometimes overlooked.

Thompson was equally crucial as City solidified themselves as a League One side in 2013-14, with the midfielder missing just two league games all season, before leaving the Bantams that summer to join Notts County.

#1192: Mark Marshall
City appearances: 88
City goals: 6

Mark Marshall’s arrival on a two-year deal in the summer of 2015 was seen as a shrewd bit of business by City fans: but he struggled to make a real impact during his one and only season working with Phil Parkinson.

He made almost 40 league appearances in 2015-16 – but started only eight of them. However, the arrival of Stuart McCall in the summer of 2016 transformed Marshall’s City career. He was thrown in from the start of the 2016-17, and was involved every game of the 12-match unbeaten run which started that season.

Marshall had also discovered his scoring touch, too. He missed just four league games in 2016-17, scoring seven times as the Bantams made it all the way to the play-off final. However, it was Marshall’s record with assists which was arguably just as impressive, which led to him being named the club’s player of the year in 2017. However, when City fell short at Wembley against Millwall, Marshall was one of a number of players to leave Valley Parade: he returned south to join Charlton.

#1176: Filipe Morais
City appearances: 71
City goals: 8

Like another right winger on this shortlist, Filipe Morais’ time at Bradford City is most fondly remembered for one goal in particular: but summing his career with the club up by talking about his goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup would be doing the remainder of his time as a Bantam a disservice.

Morais was one of a number of new signings in the summer of 2014, and the winger’s role in helping City to a seventh-placed finish in League One during the 2014-15 season was important. However, it was in the FA Cup where he truly flourished, starting each and every game in the run to the quarter-finals.

Morais contributed with key goals too; he scored against Halifax and Dartford in the opening two rounds of the competition before infamously drawing City level against boyhood club Chelsea in January 2015.

However, injury ruled Morais out of the majority of the 2015-16 season, and he featured just eight times. He returned to full fitness for Stuart McCall’s first season in charge, but was mainly used from the bench owing to the form of Mark Marshall. That prompted him to leave Valley Parade in January 2017, when he linked up with Phil Parkinson once again at Bolton.

Bradford City team of the decade: the centre-backs

Voting is on the Bantams Heritage Twitter account (click here). The top two centre-backs will make the team.

#1139: Rory McArdle
City appearances: 231
City goals: 15

Signed from Scottish club Aberdeen on the eve of Phil Parkinson’s first full season in charge of Bradford City, Rory McArdle would go on to play a part in almost all of the club’s modern-day success.

The centre-half, who became famous for his iconic celebration, had a knack of not only being a real presence in City’s backline, but coming up with crucial goals at exactly the right time for the Bantams, too. That was evident as early as his debut season for the club, when he not only scored in the play-off final win against Northampton, but the League Cup semi-final triumph over Aston Villa, too.

McArdle featured in 41 of City’s first 46 games back in League One in 2013-14, with all three of the goals he scored that season earning City vital points along the way. He featured in every game for the club on the way to the League Cup final in 2012-13, a feat he would replicate in 2014-15 as City made it to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

McArdle featured in all eight games as City were eventually knocked out by Reading, with his form that season earning him the player of the year award. The arrival of Stuart McCall in his final season as a Bantam saw him initially struggle to break into the side – but typically, McArdle battled his way into McCall’s plans, scoring the only goal in the play-off semi-final win over Fleetwood. His final game for the club was at Wembley, as the Bantams were beaten by Millwall, before he signed for fellow League One side Scunthorpe.

#1124: Andrew Davies
City appearances: 125
City goals: 7

One of Phil Parkinson’s first signings as Bradford City manager, Andrew Davies’ start to life at Valley Parade started in fairly low-key fashion, getting sent off in consecutive league games! By the time he departed the club several years later, however, he had solidified his status as a modern-day great in claret and amber.

Davies formed a rock-solid partnership with Rory McArdle during the club’s history-making 2012-13 season in the league, though injuries limited him to just two appearances in the run to the League Cup final; one of those was from the bench in the final itself.

Critics will argue that Davies’ time as a City player was marred by injury too often, but it is indisputable that whenever he did play, he was a huge presence. That was underlined by the role he played in City’s run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 2014-15, when he played in six of the eight games. Perhaps crucially, one of the two he missed was the 3-0 defeat to Reading in the quarter-final replay.

#1209: Romain Vincelot
City appearances: 94
City goals: 7

No player perhaps epitomised the new era which arrived at Bradford City in the summer of 2016 more than Romain Vincelot.

Signed as the club’s new captain for the 2016-17, the popular Frenchman was equally comfortable in both defence or midfield: but it was at the back where he became a firm favourite for many during a season which ended with defeat in the play-off final to Millwall.

Vincelot missed just one league game out of the 49 City played (including play-offs) that season; and that was on the final day of the regular season, with City’s place in the top six already secure. No player made more appearances in all competitions in 2016-17 than the 51 Vincelot made, underlining his importance to manager Stuart McCall.

He made another 43 appearances the following season. City started it brightly – with Vincelot at the heart of that early-season success – but when a bad run of reuslts cost McCall his job, City’s play-off push dissipiated. It left the Bantams finishing mid-table and, at the end of the season, Vincelot left for pastures new.

#1214: Matt Kilgallon
City appearances: 58
City goals: 5

Former Leeds and Sheffield United defender Matt Kilgallon’s two seasons with Bradford City were contrasting to say the least. His first campaign with the club, 2016-17, saw him limited to just a handful of appearances in all competitions for numerous reasons: not least the form of Romain Vincelot and Rory McArdle.

However, with McArdle departing in the summer of 2017, it afforded Kilgallon an opportunity to stake his claim for a place in Stuart McCall’s plans. He would not disappoint, missing only four league games all season and eventually earning the club’s player of the year award in the process.

Kilgallon was undoubtedly the real shining light in a 2017-18 season that ended in frustration for Bantams supporters. However, that summer, he had an infamous fallout with the club’s hierachy and left to agree a deal in Scotland with Hamilton.


Voting is on the Bantams Heritage Twitter account (click here).

#1069: Simon Ramsden
City appearances: 58
City goals: 1

Awarded the number two shirt following his arrival from Rochdale, Simon Ramsden made an almost-immediate impact at Bradford City.  Only a handful of players surpassed the 35 appearances Ramsden made during his first season with the club, with his one and only goal for City coming in one of his first games: a 2-2 draw away at Northampton.

His form during his first season with the club led to him being offered the captaincy for the 2010-11 campaign, but injury problems reduced him to just a handful of appearances throughout the entire season. Eventually returning from a series of serious problems, Ramsden became a mainstay of the side Phil Parkinson inherited in late-2011. However, he left City the following summer, after failing to agree terms on a new deal.

#1137: Stephen Darby
City appearances: 239
City goals: 1

Few words sum up Stephen Darby’s contribution to Bradford City as well as ‘historic’. Perhaps the greatest right-back to have worn a claret and amber shirt in history to some fans – and arguably the most important of his generation – Darby remains a City legend to this day.

His signature didn’t create that much of a fuss in the summer of 2012, with Darby signed as Simon Ramsden’s replacement. Indeed, he only started five of the first 18 league games that season – but he then started every single one of the remaining 31, including the three play-off ties that led to promotion from League Two.

Darby also started in every one of City’s ties in the League Cup that season: eight to be precise. His one and only goal for the club was, fittingly, a vital one too; with the Bantams struggling against Burton in round three, Darby scored an unforgettable goal from outside the box to help the Bantams eventually win 3-2. The rest, as they say, is history.

In City’s first three seasons back in League One, Darby missed just ONE game out of a possible 140, underlining how important he had become to the Bantams’ backline, cementing a place in history by becoming one of only a handful of individuals to have been league ever-presents in more than one season for the club. Now captain of the club by this point, Stuart McCall’s first season in charge saw Darby feature more sporadically, but he still made 29 appearances in all competitions, before being released in the summer of 2017, when he would reunite with Parkinson at Bolton.

#1187: Tony McMahon
City appearances: 128
City goals: 14

One of the biggest characters to wear a Bradford City shirt throughout the 2010s, Tony McMahon would eventually inherit the throne vacated by Stephen Darby as the club’s first-choice right-back: and do a commendable job in the role, too.

Signed initially on loan from Blackpool in March 2015, McMahon proved himself to be equally comfortable in both defence and midfield, convincing the club to give him a permanent deal that summer.

With Darby in situ at right-back, McMahon played in a number of positions – including right midfield – during his first full season with City, playing 49 times and scoring six goals: two of which were match-winners, against Oldham and Chesterfield. The arrival of Stuart McCall saw him become first-choice over Darby, with McMahon playing 31 times as City narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship.

He remained with City the following season, and passed the 100-game barrier for the club in the process, as he made another 40 appearances in all competitions – before departing Valley Parade that summer in favour of a deal with Oxford United.