How many men have both played for and managed Bradford City?

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)
Played: 1903-05
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)
Played: 1946-47
Managed: 1947-48

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)
Played: 1952-54
Managed: 1952-55

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)
Played: 1965-66
Managed: 1965-66

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)
Played: 1976-78
Managed: 1978

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)
Played: 1981-82
Managed: 1981-82

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)
Played: 1982-85
Managed: 1982-87

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)
Played: 1976-81
Managed: 1987-89

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)
Played: 1982-85
Managed: 1989-90

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)
Played: 1991-94
Managed: 1991-94

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)
Played: 1994-95
Managed: 1995-98

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)
Played: 1988-98
Managed: 1998-2000

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
Managed: 2011

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)
Played: 2002
Managed: 2018

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.

The Michael Collins reign: In Numbers

Michael Collins’ time as Bradford City head coach came to an end on Monday evening when he parted company with the club.

The 44th man entrusted with managing the Bantams on a permanent basis, Collins took charge of City for just six league games, plus the League Cup defeat to Macclesfield Town last month.

Comparison of Collins’ Reign in Games Played

Unfortunately, it will come as no surprise to learn that no permanent manager of the football club has taken charge for fewer games than Collins with the exception of wartime football.

The only manager to have been in charge for fewer competitive games was Robert Sharp, City’s manager during the latter years of the Second World War. As such, Sharp was unable to manage City in the league, because the league had been suspended due to the War.

Outside of that, it is interesting to note that the shortest permanent reign in charge of City was Collins predecessor, Simon Grayson. Grayson took charge in just 14 games – though it could be argued that Peter Jackson’s resignation in the early weeks of the 2011-12 season usurps that. However, given that Jackson’s interim reign was made permanent, this website counts his entire 19-game reign as one stint.

There were other shorter reigns, such as Ray Wilson’s 10-game reign in charge in 1970, as well as Jim McAnearney and Tom Hallett’s spell of 12 games following the tragic death of Grenville Hair in 1968. They, however, were caretaker/interim reigns.

Shortest Managerial Records in Games
Michael Collins (2018): 7 games
Simon Grayson (2018): 14 games
Albert Harris (1952): 17 games
Peter Jackson (2011): 19 games
Chris Hutchins (2000): 21 games

Comparison of Collins’ Reign in Days in Charge

Michael Collins was in charge of Bradford City from June 18th to September 3rd, a total of 78 days. While his reign is inevitably one of the shorter ones in terms of games in charge and is still the shortest in terms of time too, it is not by an incredible distance.

Again, Simon Grayson’s time in charge of City just prior to Collins is the second-shortest – with Albert Harris’ 1952 stint in charge also coming in at under 100 days. The great Peter Jackson’s 2011 reign again includes his initial period as a caretaker before that was made permanent.

Michael Collins (2018): 78 days
Simon Grayson (2018): 87 days
Albert Harris (1952): 90 days
Chris Hutchins (2000): 141 days
Peter Jackson: (2011): 180 days

Collins’ Win Percentage

While clearly a much smaller sample, Michael Collins leaves Bradford City with two wins from his seven games in charge, a win percentage of 28.5%.

That is higher than the reigns of the following permanent managers:

Peter Jackson (2011): 21%
Simon Grayson (2018): 21.4%
Colin Veitch (1926-28): 21.5%
Terry Yorath (1989-90): 22.8%
Bryan Robson (2003-04): 25%
Nicky Law (2002-03): 26.4%
Jim Jeffries (2000-01): 28.3%
David Menzies (1921-26): 28.4%

Bantams Worldwide: The Caribbean (and surrounding areas!) Part One

For such a small part of the world, Bradford City’s history with the countries in the Caribbean is rich, to say the least.

In fact, such a large number of players have come from that part of the world, that this particular instalment of our Bantams Worldwide series has been broken off into two sections. One covers the extensive number of players with Jamaican roots/international records, while this particular instalment is about the players to come from other parts of the Caribbean – including one or two areas which are constantly debated about their presence among the Caribbean islands.

Barbados – Mark McCammon
(#1076, 4 apps, 2010)

A well-travelled player throughout the majority of his career, former Gillingham and Brighton striker arrived at Bradford on loan in February 2010, despite reportedly having reservations about stepping down to join a League Two side, which City were at the time.

Despite being in London, McCammon was already a Barbados international by the time he made his City debut. In all, he played five times for his country, scoring four goals – including a hat-trick in the 7-1 win over Anguilla in 2006, which is Barbados’ biggest-ever win.

He made his debut against Darlington on February 27th, 2010, and went on to make a further three appearances for City without scoring before returning to parent club Gillingham.

Bermuda – Nahki Wells
(#1112, 112 apps, 53 goals, 2011-14)

Had it not been for the presence of one or two greats from a different generation, Nahki Wells would almost certainly be regarded as Bradford City’s greatest overseas player given his contribution to the club.

The signing of Wells by manager Peter Jackson in the summer of 2011 ruffled few feathers. He arrived having just been released by Carlisle, and he didn’t even make his league debut until November that year. Thereafter, however, his career took off.

The arrival of Phil Parkinson coincided with Wells’ formation of a deadly partnership with James Hanson which would subsequently become legendary. He scored 12 times in his first season, prompting City to hand him a new deal. The next year, the infamous history-making campaign of 2012-13, he scored 26 times.

The step up to League One saw him score eight goals in his first seven league games, which inevitably saw the vultures circle. And, in January 2014, Wells left for West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield. His career has not slowed since then.

Dominica – Joe Cooke
(#654, 303 apps, 79 goals, 1971-79)

Born in Dominica, Joe Cooke arrived at Bradford City in 1970 a teenager. He left almost a decade later an icon. Had the island gained independence earlier than 1978, his international career may too have been as notorious.

One of only a handful of players to make over 300 appearances for Bradford City in all competitions, Cooke thrived for the Bantams at both ends of the pitch, becoming notorious for his ability as both a centre-half and a striker.

Despite spending large periods of his time at City in defence, he still finished with a goals-to-game ratio of around one in four, which is impressive given his positional versatility and the amount of games he played. He returned to City in 1982 for another three seasons, before finishing his professional career with Rochdale and Wrexham.

Grenada – Delroy Facey
(#952, 6 apps, 1 goal, 2002)

Delroy Facey grew up down the road from Bradford in Huddersfield, but he was reportedly eligible to represent a number of nations in the Caribbean region due to family heritage.

He eventually opted to play for Grenada after receiving a call-up in 2009, some seven years on from his brief spell as a Bantam. Facey joined on loan in November 2002, becoming one of the elite club to score on their Bradford City debut when he netted against Wimbledon.

NOTE: The entire list of players to score on their City debut can be viewed here. 

That would be the only time Facey scored in his six games for City though, eventually returning to Bolton. In all, he represented Grenada on 15 occasions, scoring twice.

Saint Kitts and Nevis – Ces Podd
(#647, 568 apps, 4 goals, 1970-84)

Ces Podd is the greatest overseas player Bradford City have ever had. In fact, he’s one of the club’s finest players irrespective of nationality.

Born in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Podd made his debut on the 26th September, 1970 against Chesterfield. He would serve the Bantams with unrivalled distinction for fourteen years thereafter, finishing as the club’s all-time record appearance holder.

On 502 occasions, Podd played league football for Bradford City FC. To put that into context, only three men – Ian Cooper, John Hall and Bruce Stowell – reached 400 league appearances. It is an astonishing number.

In total, Podd racked up 568 appearances in all competitions before leaving for Halifax Town in 1984. He is, without doubt, a true Bradford City legend.

West Indies – Wingrove Manners
(#663, 1 app, 1972)

In City’s game against Bolton Wanderers on the 10th May, 1972, West Indian-born Wingrove Manners became the 66th player to make his one and only appearance for the Bantams.

Bantams Worldwide: Africa

Other editions: Asia, Caribbean (I),

Throughout the entire history of Bradford City – though, admittedly, more often in recent generations – players from a number of different cultures, countries and backgrounds have played for the club.

This series is dedicated to those players – the ones from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland who have donned the famous claret and amber shirt. This time, it’s a look at the players who were born in, or went on to represent, countries in Africa.

Burundi – Mo Shariff
(#1174, 2 apps, 2014)

Looking to build upon the consolation of their League One place following promotion from League Two in 2013, City signed Burundi-born forward Mo Shariff on a deal to try and impress manager Phil Parkinson.

Shariff had already made his league debut while on loan for Dagenham & Redbridge, before a solitary League Cup appearance for parent club QPR prior to joining City.

In all, Shariff made only two appearances for City; his debut came against Morecambe in the first round of that season’s League Cup from the bench, while he made another sub appearance days later in the 0-0 draw with Walsall on August 16, 2014.

Central African Republic – Kelly Youga
(#1021, 11 games, 2007)

Perhaps the most famous Central African Republic footballer to come to Britain, Kelly Youga joined City on loan from Charlton in February 2007.

He joined at a difficult time, as City were well on the road to ultimate relegation to League Two that season, but he did at least make an impression during his 11 games at the Bantams.

His loan spell was cut short due to injury, and he eventually returned to Charlton.

Ivory Coast – Francois Zoko
(#1181, 21 apps, 1 goal, 2014-15)

Midway through City’s second season back in League One, manager Phil Parkinson turned to Blackpool striker Francois Zoko in a bid to boost the striking options and improve upon what had been a fairly inconsistent campaign to that point.

Zoko became the first – and only – Ivorian to represent Bradford City when he debuted from the bench against Leyton Orient on November 29, 2014. He would stay with City for the remainder of the 2014/15 season, making 21 appearances in all competitions.

16 of those came in the league, with City falling just short of the League One play-off places that year, finishing seventh. Zoko scored once – the winning goal in a 1-0 win against Crawley in March 2015.

Nigeria – Dele Adebola
(#981, 16 apps, 4 goals, 2004)

Lagos-born Dele Adebola appeared for over a dozen professional clubs throughout his career, including an eye-catching spell on loan from Coventry with City in 2004.

He arrived just three games into City’s first season since relegation from the Championship, immediately forming a strike partnership with Dean Windass. He scored three times in the league – against Bristol City, MK Dons and Blackpool. City won all three games.

Adebola also scored in his solitary appearance in non-league competition: the 2-1 defeat to Accrington in the Football League Trophy on September 29, 2004. He returned to Coventry in November.

Nigeria – Chib Chilaka 
(#1091, 6 apps, 2010-11)

Nigerian-born Chib Chilaka had an unusual route to Bradford City. After spells with Rushden & Diamonds and Notts County resulted in his release, Chilaka went to university in Hull to study Human Biology.

He spent his time playing non-league for Bridlington and Harrogate Town before his chance came with City at the start of the 2010 season. Chilaka made his debut against Preston on August 24, 2010, going on to make six appearances without scoring in all competitions.

Nigeria – Hope Akpan
(#1248, 2018-present)

One of City’s new additions for the 2018/19 campaign, Hope Akpan was born in England but qualified for Nigeria through his parents.

While at Reading, he declared his intention to try and win a call-up for the Super Eagles: and to date, he has played four times for his country without scoring.

South Africa – Dean Furman
(#1051, 33 apps, 4 goals, 2008-09)

Born in the South African city of Cape Town, Dean Furman played youth football for the likes of Chelsea and Rangers before making a solitary appearance at first-team level for the Gers in 2008.

Then, in August of that year, at the age of 20, Furman was lured to City by former Rangers legend and then-manager Stuart McCall on a six-month loan deal. That deal eventually was extended to the entirety of the 2008-09 season, and Furman formed an effective pairing with Nicky Law for large periods of the campaign. At international level, Furman actually made his South Africa debut while a Bradford City player. He has since played for South Africa over 40 times.

City were so impressed by Furman that they tried to sign him on a permanent deal when he returned to Rangers. However, he opted to sign for Oldham.

Zaire – Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu
(#1028, 21 apps, 6 goals, 2007)

With City relegated to League Two at the start of the 2007/08 season, new manager Stuart McCall initiated an overhaul of an underperforming squad.

His many new recruits including Kinshasa-born Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, who arrived on a loan deal until the start of the New Year.

His immediate impact? Impressive, scoring the equaliser during the 1-1 draw with Macclesfield Town in the 2007/08 season-opener. All in all, he would score six times for City, including a brace against Hereford United – before his loan deal was not extended into 2008.

Zimbabwe – Adam Chicksen
(#1225, 2017-present)

Much like team-mate Hope Akpan, Adam Chicksen was born in England – but qualified for an African country through parentage.

With a Zimbabwean father, Chicksen earned his first call-up in March 2018 – and subsequently made his international debut for The Warriors in their defeat to Zambia in the 2018 Four Nations Tournament.

Brian Close: the cricketing legend who played for Bradford City

Over the course of Bradford City’s rich and illustrious history, many famous names have worn the claret and amber shirt.

Most, if not all, of those have made their name in professional football and become household names in that sport: but over 60 years ago, one of Britain’s – and Yorkshire’s – most revered and respected sportsmen switched professions and had a short-lived spell as a Bradford City player.

Cricketers playing professional football is not completely unique; as most people will know from Ian Botham’s infamous stints at Yeovil and Scunthorpe United in the 1970s and 80s. 30 years earlier, however, Bradford City had their own cricketing legend on the books for a brief period.

Look through our heritage numbers, and you may not see the name Brian Close. That’s because his actual first name was Dennis. By the time the 1952-53 season had begun, Close had already made his Test debut for England and had established himself as a pivotal part of the Yorkshire side – so much so, that legend has it former Bradford MP Maurice Webb championed the case for Close to finish the domestic season with Yorkshire before commencing his National Service.

Close had already dabbled into professional football without success, actually signing for Arsenal in 1950 and became a prominent member of their A team. Close didn’t play at all during the 1950-51 season; he was also serving in the Royal Signals until September 1951.

And his time with Arsenal didn’t play out as expected; Close was reportedly given permission to leave a Yorkshire game early by his captain, Norman Yardley, to play for Arsenal. That decision was later overturned, meaning when Close arrived late for a reserves game against Fulham in April that year, he was unable to take his place on the field. Just days after that, he was informed he would not be retained by the Gunners.

Unperturbed by that, Close earned himself a chance at professional football much closer to his Rawdon roots: signing for the Bantams after the conclusion of the 1952 domestic cricket season, making his City debut on November 1, 1952 against Tranmere Rovers.

Playing centre-forward, Close scored on his next appearance for City in a 2-1 win over Chesterfield a week later – and he would go on to make six appearances for the Bantams in Division Three (North) that season, scoring on two occasions: his other goal in the league coming against Halifax Town on November 29 in a 1-1 draw.

Close was arguably more influential in City’s FA Cup campaign of that season, scoring three times in three appearances. Close scored twice in the 4-0 victory over Rhyl Athletic (now simply known as Rhyl FC) in the first round, before netting again in the second round, when City drew 1-1 with Ipswich at Valley Parade.

Close played in the replay, but City were hammered 5-1 in what was one of Close’s final appearances for the Bantams. He featured against Oldham and Port Vale following that defeat, but it was in that game against Vale when he suffered a serious knee injury which could have been even more damaging than it actually proved to be.

Ultimately, it ended not only Close’s time with City, but his professional football career altogether, Close unable to recover from that and resume his football career.

It even severely limited the amount of cricket he was able to play in the 1953 domestic season too – featuring only twice for Yorkshire throughout that entire campaign.

Thankfully, Close was able to return to cricket at the highest level on a permanent basis – winning back his place in the England Test side and remaining an integral part of Yorkshire’s successes throughout the 1950s, which included the County Championship triumph of 1959. Close then went on to captain the White Rose throughout a period of incredible success, captaining them to another four Championship titles.

He eventually moved onto Somerset, where he is still regarded in cricket for helping to develop a young Botham into the success he became – although quite whether he had an impact on his footballing career after his own time with City is not completely clear!

What is clear though, is that one of the most successful and respected sportsmen of his generation – and one of the finest stars Yorkshire has ever produced – had the distinction of representing Bradford City FC: even if it was for slightly less time than he would have liked.

Close remained in and around cricket for years after retirement. He passed away in 2015.

Heritage No. 474: Dennis Brian Close
Debut: 1/11/1952 v Tranmere
Apps in All Comps: 9 – Goals in All Comps: 5
League Apps: 6 – League Goals: 2
FA Cup Apps: 3 – FA Cup Goals: 3

A unique insight into the history of professional football