Here at Talking Bull we look ahead to the Bulls’ third home match of the season next Saturday, when Bradford Park Avenue make their first ever trip to Edgar Street.
Like Hereford, the visitors have had a successful start in the Vanarama National League North after their opening five games and lie fifth in the table, just one place below the Bulls.
Simon Wright saw Bradford AFC twice in the Step 2 Play-Offs in May and had the chance to talk to many of their followers. Lovely bunch of people by the way, friendly, passionate, noisy and realistic about club ambitions. Avenue just made the Play-Offs last season by winning their last 6 but most of their support didn’t want them to go up. Their priority is have a sustainable club to enjoy. And I get that.
Despite being established in Step 2 for six seasons, Bradford only average 400 supporters in a rented athletics stadium. Must be an unexciting experience.
Bradford just can’t compete financially and they regularly lose their best players.
Their gates were the second lowest in the Division last season and it’s hard to see how that will change. Just up the road is League One Bradford City who have 18,000 season ticket holders because they keep football affordable. City’s prices are lower than Hereford’s. One positive the Bradford supporters were keen to stress. In percentage terms, they do travel in decent numbers and Hereford will be a popular trip for the novelty. They are running a coach to Edgar Street at £20 a time.
The club’s title is now Bradford open brackets Park Avenue close brackets AFC. That’s the same as the original title. Park Avenue was the street name where the old club played. The club is always called Bradford in Bradford, not PA. This change of name is so important that a few locals have returned to the fold and bought season tickets.
Although Bradford claim to be an ex-League club, I’m not sure that stands up. The old club folded in 1974 and there was a 15-year gap before the name was revived. The new side played at a different ground. So new players, new ground, new officials and mainly new supporters too. Down to personal definition, I suppose.
Their manager Mark Bower was formerly in charge of Guiseley and got them promoted to Step 1. Several of that squad are now at Avenue including player/ assistant manager Danny Boshell. He’s 37 with 540 games behind him.
Look out for midfielder Nicky Wroe. He’s 32 and has 500 games behind him, mainly as a pro. Bradford are his 11th club.
One other interesting name is defender Mark Ross. By day, he’s a fitness and performance coach and a fitness model. Earlier this month, he launched his fitness e-book. Its based on interviews with over 100 Non-League players on their fitness needs and wants. £25 cover price so maybe not..
Avenue lost their top goal scorer Adam Boyes who was weary of long distance travelling. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Boyes lived in the North-East. He was under contract so Spennymoor had to pay compo. The fee was undisclosed but thought to be between £5k and £20k. This for a 24 goal striker who if forums can be believed, earned a salary way in excess of what Hereford pay.
Six new signings, 3 of them in defence. Avenue list only two strikers – Oli Johnson who generally plays wide, and Jake Beesley signed on loan from Salford just days before the first game.
Bradford drew one-each with the bookmakers title favourites Stockport County at home on Saturday, having already beaten Spennymoor Town and Brackley Town at the Horsfall Stadium. On the road our visitors have so far beaten Blyth Spartans 2-1, but were demolished by Leamington 4-2 in their last away encounter.
Make sure you are at Edgar Street on Saturday.
Come on You Whites (with grey hoops)…