IT IS doubtful you’ll find a more beautifully put together book on football than this curious offering on Bradford Park Avenue.
It’s about an archeological dig that took place at the former home of Bradford Park Avenue, a club that went out of existence but whose spirit lived on to eventually reform the club that now plays at Horsfall Stadium.
The death of a club and the dereliction of a football ground represent some of the saddest moments in the game – any place where thousands of people once gathered creates a slightly eerie location. This book captures the ghostly remains of the old stadium, from the trees now growing where people once stood to the crumbling section of the terracing.
This is no ordinary football book – the dig that took place, aided by devotees of the club, helps to firmly place the game as part of the social history of the city of Bradford, indeed football as a symbol of the nation’s communal fabric. It’s a simple tale – football studs, goalpost castings, hooks, coins, some memorabilia and plenty of anecdotes.
One of the stories demonstrated how football has always been a way to unite people, in this case, Graham and Angela Firth:
“Talking about the Horton Park end terrace.
Graham: Our first date together, 1963 I think it was the start of the season. The first date was here, just to the left of the goal.
Angela: I remember we picked up your Uncle Jim on the way.
Graham: I first came in 1950. We came by train from Clayton. That was a lovely little trip on the train – it took five to 10 minutes and we got off at Horton Park, right opposite the ground.”
This is a remarkable book that anyone interested in the history of the game, and its role in society, should take a look at.
Breaking Ground: Art, Archeology & Mythology, is published by AP Publishing.