Every Bradford City manager’s first game in charge

This weekend, Gary Bowyer will become the 44th man to take charge of Bradford City in the role of permanent manager (NB. There have been 46 permanent appointments; Peter O’Rourke and Stuart McCall have been in charge twice). With that in mind, here’s a rundown of how EVERY single one of the 43 men who preceded Bowyer have got on in their first official game in charge.

Robert Campbell
1st September 1903 v Grimsby Town
Lost 0-2

Peter O’Rourke
4th November 1905 v Grimsby Town
Lost 0-1

David Menzies
27th August 1921 v Oldham Athletic
Drew 0-0

Colin Veitch
26th August 1926 v Port Vale
Lost 1-2 (Alcock)

Jack Peart
30th August 1930 v Charlton Athletic
Won 3-2 (Woolhouse 2, Cochrane)

Dick Ray
6th April 1934 v West Ham United
Lost 0-1

Fred Westgarth
5th March 1938 v Port Vale
Lost 3-4 (Robertson, Whittingham 2)

Jack Barker
31st August 1946 v Accrington Stanley
Won 3-1 (Hinsley, Wass, Wollett)

Jack Milburn
2nd January 1947 v Gateshead
Won 2-0 (Whittingham 2)

David Steele
21st August 1948 v Barrow
Drew 0-0

Ivor Powell
23rd August 1952 v Port Vale
Won 1-0 (King)

Peter Jackson Snr
5th February 1955 v Southport
Lost 0-1

Bob Brocklebank
19th August 1961 v York City
Drew 2-2 (Cartlidge, Reid)

Bill Harris
8th March 1965 v Stockport County
Lost 0-2

Willie Watson
4th April 1966 v Port Vale
Drew 0-0

Grenville Hair
20th January 1968 v Lincoln City
Lost 0-2

Jimmy Wheeler
10th August 1968 v Doncaster Rovers
Drew 1-1 (Swallow)

Bryan Edwards
27th November 1971 v Notts County
Lost 2-3 (C Hall, Middleton)

Bobby Kennedy
16th August 1975 v Brentford
Drew 1-1 (McGinley)

John Napier
4th February 1978 v Chester
Lost 2-3 (Cooke, Ratcliffe)

George Mulhall
18th November 1978 v Barnsley
Won 1-0 (Cooke)

Roy McFarland
29th August 1981 v Wigan Athletic
Drew 3-3 (Campbell 2, Black)

Trevor Cherry
11th December 1982 v Mansfield (FA Cup)
Drew 1-1 (Gray)

Terry Dolan
10th January 1987 v Oldham (FA Cup)
Drew 1-1 (McCall)

Terry Yorath
4th February 1989 v Blackburn Rovers
Lost 1-2 (Abbott)

John Docherty
21st March 1990 v Newcastle United
Won 3-2 (Mitchell, Abbott, Woods)

Frank Stapleton
14th December 1991 v West Bromwich Albion
Drew 1-1 (McCarthy)

Lennie Lawrence
13th August 1994 v Chester City
Won 4-1 (Taylor, Jewell 3)

Chris Kamara
2nd December 1995 v Preston (FA Cup)
Won 2-1 (Jacobs 2)

Paul Jewell
10th January 1998 v Stockport County
Won 2-1 (Jacobs, Blake)

Chris Hutchings
1st July 2000 v FK Atlantis (Intertoto Cup)
Won 3-1 (Blake, Windass, Rankin)

Jim Jeffries
25th November 2000 v Middlesbrough
Drew 2-2 (Carbone, Windass)

Nicky Law
8th January 2002 v Walsall (FA Cup)
Lost 0-2

Bryan Robson
29th November 2003 v Millwall
Won 3-2 (Branch, Gray, Cadamarteri)

Colin Todd
7th August 2004 v Hartlepool United
Lost 1-2 (Windass)

Stuart McCall
11th August 2007 v Macclesfield Town
Drew 1-1 (Ndumbu-Nsungu)

Peter Taylor
20th January 2010 v Accrington Stanley
Lost 0-2

Peter Jackson
5th March 2011 v Gillingham
Lost 0-2

Phil Parkinson
3rd September 2011 v Morecambe
Drew 1-1 (Hannah)

Simon Grayson
13th February 2018 v Charlton Athletic
Drew 1-1 (Robinson)

Michael Collins
4th August 2018 v Shrewsbury Town
Won 1-0 (Payne)

David Hopkin
8th September 2018 v Blackpool
Lost 2-3 (Doyle, Payne)

Bradford City and caretaker managers

Martin Drury will officially begin his reign as caretaker manager of Bradford City on Saturday for the trip to Portsmouth. Drury joins a small, but interesting, list of people – including some club legends – to have assumed the role of caretaker manager.

Some of those reigns have been for solitary games – others have lasted longer than some permanent managerial reigns in the club’s history! Here’s a look at Drury’s predecessors as caretaker boss.

Greg Abbott (2018)
1 game: 1 draw

Long-serving City stalwart Greg Abbott took the reins for less than a week in February last year, prior to Simon Grayson’s arrival for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. His one result was a 2-2 draw against Bury, with Charlie Wyke and Shay McCartan scoring.

Colin Cooper (2011)
2 games: 1 win, 1 draw

When Peter Jackson was dismissed just four games into the 2011-12 season, the caretaker position was handed to former Middlesbrough defender Colin Cooper: who did an impressive job. In his first game in charge, City won their first game of the season, beating Barnet 4-2 – before a 1-1 draw a week later at Morecambe proved to be his final game before Phil Parkinson’s arrival.

Wayne Jacobs (2010)
1 game: 1 draw

When Stuart McCall’s first stint in charge of City ended in February 2010, the club turned to another playing legend, Wayne Jacobs, to take caretaker charge. He was in charge for one game; a 1-1 draw with Burton Albion.

David Wetherall (2007)
14 games: 2 wins, 4 draws, 8 defeats

One of the longest caretaker reigns in history, legendary City defender David Wetherall took charge for the remainder of the 2006-07 season in February tasked with keeping the Bantams up following Colin Todd’s departure. Ultimately, he failed to do so; winning just two of his 14 games in charge.

Four senior players (2003)
1 game: 1 defeat

Wetherall and Jacobs have had two spells in caretaker charge, the first coming in 2003 when, following Nicky Law’s dismissal, the duo teamed up with Peter Atherton and Dean Windass to take charge against Stoke for a solitary game – a game they lost. Shortly after, Bryan Robson joined City.

Steve Smith (2001)
2 games: 2 defeats

Smith is notoriously the only person from Huddersfield to manage Huddersfield Town – a role he held in the mid-1980s. However, almost two decades later he returned to the dugout on a temporary basis, taking charge of two games – losing them both – after Jim Jeffries’ dismissal.

Stuart McCall (2000)
2 games: 2 defeats

When Chris Hutchins left City in late-2000, the Bantams turned to then-captain Stuart McCall on a temporary basis. The Scot took charge of two games, unfortunately losing both of them, before Jim Jeffries joined the club as permanent manager.

Ray Wilson (1971)
10 games: 5 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats

Legendary England left-back Ray Wilson had a very brief playing spell with City at the end of his career: and when he retired, he served as caretaker manager between September and November 1971 after the departure of Jimmy Wheeler. Wilson did well; winning five of his ten games in charge.

Jim McAnearney and Tom Hallett (1968)
12 games: 5 wins, 5 draws, 2 defeats

Following the sudden death of then-manager Grenville Hair in March 1968, playing duo Jim McAnearney and Tom Hallett were tasked with finishing the job Hair started, and getting the Bantams promoted out of Division Four. The duo did well, securing a fifth-placed finish – but it wasn’t enough to ensure promotion. Jimmy Wheeler took permanent charge that summer.

Albert Harris (1952)
17 games: 5 wins, 4 draws, 8 defeats

Perhaps more commonly known as a director of the Bantams in the 1950s, Harris took temporary charge when manager David Steele was dismissed in 1952. He was in charge for the remainder of the 1951-52 season, before Ivor Powell took over that summer.

Jack Foster (1928)
19 games: 10 wins, 4 draws, 5 defeats

Foster succeeded Colin Veitch in January 1928 as caretaker boss for the remainder of the 1927-28 season, eventually leading the Bantams to a sixth-placed finish in Division Three (North), missing out on promotion. That summer, Peter O’Rourke took over.

The David Hopkin Reign in Numbers

Bradford City are now searching for the 38th permanent manager in the club’s history following the resignation of David Hopkin on Monday morning.

Hopkin leaves City following a difficult 174-day reign, with a win ratio which, unfortunately, has created an unwanted piece of Bantams history.

Excluding caretaker managers such as David Wetherall over the club’s history, none of the 36 incumbents of the manager’s position before Hopkin recorded a win ratio lower than Hopkin’s 20%. From his 35 games in charge, Hopkin’s final record in all competitions was:

Played: 35
Won: 7
Drawn: 11
Lost: 17
Win ratio: 20%

Hopkin’s low win ratio is marginally worse than Peter Jackson, who managed 4 wins from his 19 games in charge, a win ratio of 21.05%.

However, there was perhaps an argument that Hopkin was beginning to turn Bradford City’s fortunes around, irrespective of the result at Walsall on Saturday afternoon. Splitting his 28 league game-reign in charge down the middle, the first 14 league games under Hopkin yielded a woefully-low eight points. Contrast that with the 14 league games thereafter, and City registered 19 points.

But more telling than that is the fact that City are now on the lookout for their fifth permanent manager (sixth if you include Greg Abbott’s interim game in charge, but we won’t) in just 13 months.

This is comfortably the biggest turnover of managers in the club’s history. The closest comparison you can find is around the turn of the century, when there were three permanent managers (Paul Jewell, Chris Hutchings, and Jim Jeffries) in charge between June 2000 and December 2001, an 18-month period. Never before have three successive permanent managers failed to occupy the post for less than a year.

Having created unwanted Bradford City history earlier in his reign (CLICK), unfortunately, David Hopkin departs BD8 with more unwanted statistical records to his name.

Harold Walden: Bradford City’s all-singing Olympic hero

There are many, many reasons Bantams Heritage was born – but above all else, one of the biggest motivations was to be able to inspire and inform younger generations of Bradford City fans about the amazingly rich history our football club has.

That involves great matches, great servants and incredible back-stories to some of our former players – and few former Bantams fit that final category better than the late Harold Walden.

Walden joined Bradford City while the club was very much in its infancy – though by the time he became Heritage Number #110 on December 16th, 1911, against Notts County, City had won their first – and only – FA Cup title. Even before he became a Bantam, though, Walden had a fascinating journey to BD8.

Walden was born in the Indian city of Umballa (now known as Ambala) and, to our knowledge, is the only former City player to own a Heritage Number and be born in India. Though he returned to England as a youngster, Walden began an amateur football career in Ireland, playing for Cliftonville and Linfield while serving in the army.

However, in 1911, Walden was released from the army and signed amateur teams with Halifax Town – before, by December of that year, signing on professionally with the Bantams. Having made his debut in the 3-2 defeat to Notts County, Walden scored his first City goals a week later, a brace in the 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. He finished his first season with City as the club’s top scorer, with 11 goals in 17 games as Peter O’Rourke’s side finished 11th in Division One. He also scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over QPR in the FA Cup first round.

But it was that summer when Walden’s story really began to accelerate. While still a City player, he was called into Great Britain’s squad for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden (pictured above). Playing as a centre-forward, Walden scored SIX as Great Britain hammered Hungary 7-0 in their opening game, before scoring twice in the semi-final win over Finland, and again in the final, a 4-2 victory over Denmark. Three games, nine goals – but Walden was denied the golden boot courtesy of Germany’s Gottfried Fuchs: who scored TEN in one game, a 16-0 win over Russia!

After the Olympics, Walden’s City career continued, but by the time World War One had ended, Walden had a fairly unsuccessful spell with Arsenal, before returning to City for the latter years of his footballing career – then, he would embark on an altogether different journey.

Legend has it that in 1919 – before he had even retired from playing – Walden made his stage debut, starting a new career as a performer and musician. He was successful, too; and Bradford City reportedly featured heavily in a lot of Walden’s acts and performances. This clip below refers to him ‘playing for Bradford’ – though fans of another Bradford-based football club may argue he could have been referring to them, as there’s no mention of the word City:

Walden also appeared as himself in a 1940s film, Cup Tie Honeymoon, as well as a silent film based on football in the 1920s called The Winning Goal. He passed away in 1955 due to a heart attack – but should almost certainly be looked back upon as one of this football club’s most interesting and famous former players.

Whether it was as an Olympic goal-scoring sensation – Walden is still the fourth-highest scorer in Olympic history and highest British scorer – while a Bantams player or a star of the stage and screen, Harold Walden has a firm, permanent place in Bradford City’s illustrious history.

Harold Walden (1887-1955)
Heritage Number: #110
Debut: 16/12/1911 v Notts County
Appearances: 57
Goals: 24

Back again: Billy Clarke and the former Bantams who’ve had two spells with the club

Billy Clarke’s return to Bradford City in the final hours of the January 2019 transfer window ensured that the forward joined a very small and exclusive club.

Over 1,200 players have played a competitive game of football for Bradford City – but only 27 have done so in two different spells for the club. Clarke joins some of the Bantams’ greatest-ever players – as well as some slightly more unheralded men from the past – on that list. In chronological order, that list (with heritage numbers) is:

#20 – James McLean, #37 – Gerald Kirk, #55 – George Handley, #120 – John Ewart, #414 – Derek Hawksworth, #453 – Ronald Harbertson, #539 – Trevor Hockey, #654 – Joe Cooke, #706 – Peter Jackson, #710 – Bobby Campbell, #722 – Stuart McCall, #753 – Ian Ormondroyd, #769 – Lee Sinnott, #778 – Lee Duxbury, #878 – Aidan Davison, #885 – Mark Prudhoe, #907 – Dean Windass #943 – Paul Evans, #944 – Andy Gray, #949 – Stephen Warnock, #964 – Paul Heckingbottom, #1004 – Nathan Doyle, #1039 – Rhys Evans, #1040 – Nicky Law, #1119 – Kyel Reid, #1168 – Billy Clarke, #1201 – Josh Cullen.

Clarke’s two-year hiatus between Bradford City appearances is nowhere near the longest break between spells – in fact, it is one of the shortest.

For example, Stuart McCall went a whole decade between appearances, having left City in 1988 and not returning until 1998. Striker Ian Ormondroyd left in 1989 and wouldn’t return for six years, eventually re-joining the Bantams in 1995.

Interestingly, in a similar vein to when McCall returned to a fairly newly-assembled squad in 1998, Clarke’s return instantly makes him one of the most experienced Bradford City players at the club.

In fact, Clarke’s 121 appearances for the Bantams (120 in his first spell) is only bettered by defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival, who has made 124 appearances for City in all competitions.

A unique insight into the history of professional football