Don’t patronise Bradford with faint praise and sentiment

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FROM: Alan K Biggin FCA, director, Bradford City Football Club.

HAVING read Lizzie Murphy’s article on Bradford in Yorkshire Vision, I would congratulate her on her informative article on Bradford’s economy.

However, she, like many others, seems determined to patronise, maybe even unwittingly, and falls prey to the notion that Bradford only exists to make Leeds look better.

Possibly as a Bradfordian, I am more easily susceptible to paranoia about my city (and I suppose ironically that puts me in the same bracket) but she damns with faint praise and refers to Bradford being the 14th most populated settlement in the UK.

Since when have we described our cities or towns for that matter as settlements? Is this latterday eurospeak?

Just for the record, Bradford Metropolitan District is the fourth largest in the UK with a population of just short of 500,000.

The old City of Bradford is the eighth largest city in England, excluding London, with a population as correctly stated of about 300,000 which exceeds cities such as Nottingham and Newcastle. We do not need to be described as a settlement and we do not need the condescending status of “the Yorkshire economy’s best kept secret”.

To quote Priestley’s novel, Angel Pavement, “Bradford has been to the ends of the earth and the ends of the earth have been back here an’ all”.

Your football correspondent, Richard Sutcliffe, also falls under the spell of “poor old Bradford” with his sentimental tilt at a “shocking day for the old wool city”, which it undoubtedly was.

The Bulls were under the intense glare of potential administration and City were shell-shocked by the bruising encounter with Crawley Town leaving the club with some real work to maintain football league status, but that has nothing to do with our staple industry or our admirable past.

In similar vein, as part of the Leeds City region (a title that inspires no confidence whatsoever) Bradford appears to have been subsumed by a Leedscentric hierarchy who would be quite happy with a few soothing words for the city to disappear up its own dale and bolt down the doors behind it.

Even the local diocese seems about to be merged with a greater Leeds Diocese and this with a city neighbour that doesn’t even have an Anglican Cathedral, notwithstanding it has managed independently for over a 100 years.

Of course, no one can legislate for opinions genuinely held good or bad, and it should be ever thus, but I think we would like to lose that “pity poor Bradford” tag first coined in the 17th century and used far too often in the 21st.

We are quite used to more than our fair share of disappointment in Bradford but bathing us in liberal balm is not something we entertain or care to know.

Just leave us alone and don’t be sorry. We’ll manage.