On Parade alongside Mulhall right through to Parkinson

Have your say

an association that began 35 years ago and has seen Malcolm Scott work alongside 20 Bradford City managers will today take the associate director to Wembley for a second time.

Not a third visit, as should be the case for the 75-year-old who has spent much of his time at Valley Parade as the man who guides the manager through his press duties on a match-day.

The reason why the 2013 League Two play-off final will not represent his third trip with the Bantams to the national stadium is that, much to his annoyance, Scott missed the club’s Capital One Cup appearance in February.

“We’d booked a holiday 12 months earlier,” he explains. “And because we were going with friends, there was nothing I could do so had to miss Wembley.

“I couldn’t believe it when I discovered the clash of dates. Of course, no-one expected Bradford City to get to the League Cup final. Even so, it was really strange to be thousands of miles away, watching the lads walk out at Wembley on television while I was sitting in a bar in Aruba. The commentary was in Spanish, too, which just added to the surreal feeling.”

Scott, an associate director since 1985, is a familiar face at Valley Parade but, whisper it quietly in the former ‘Wool City’, he used to be a season-ticket holder at Elland Road.

An invitation to get involved, in his guise as manager of the city’s main Yorkshire Bank branch, from then Bantams director John Garside in 1978 started an association that is as strong today as it has ever been.

Over the intervening years, Scott has fulfilled a variety of unpaid positions with his current role being a combination of assistant kit man duties and helping out press officer Mark Harrison on a match-day.

He has travelled with the team to matches since Trevor Cherry was manager in the mid-80s, and he also spent many years covering the club for BBC Radio Leeds.

“People often ask me who the best manager is that I have worked with,” says Scott of his 35-year involvement with the club. “But that is an impossible question to answer.

“I like to think I have got on brilliantly with all 20, stretching right back to the first one, George Mulhall. Phil (Parkinson) is a great guy and so dedicated. Him and Steve (Parkin, assistant) both put in such long hours to try and bring success to the club, which is something fans don’t always think about.

“As for me, there was a time when younger that I even trained with the reserves on a Tuesday and Thursday. I’d play right wing or inside-right, alongside young lads such as Mark Ellis when they were coming through. I was never very good but probably helped by making the reserves look good.”

On that fateful day in 1985 when fire ripped through the main stand at Valley Parade and 56 supporters lost their lives, Scott – and co-commentator, Maurice Lindley – were forced to join the scramble for safety via clambering over the wall and on to the pitch.

It is a day indelibly written into not just the club’s DNA but also that of the city, as was evident just last Saturday when the 28th anniversary of the disaster was commemorated in the usual dignified manner with a moving service in Centenary Square.

“This is a fantastic club,” says Scott, whose wife Margaret works as the club’s match-day steward in the Valley Parade press room at home games.

“I know the last few seasons have been difficult and no-one there that day will ever forget the fire. But I feel so fortunate to have shared in some happy times.

“Walking across the pitch at Wolves with Paul Jewell’s children after we’d won promotion in 1999 is a memory that stands out, as is going to Wembley when Chris Kamara was manager and we beat Notts County in the (Division Two) play-off final.

“The semi-final second leg against Burton earlier this month is another that stands out. It was my 75th birthday and the lads kept pouring champagne over me in the dressing room afterwards.

“It would be fantastic to experience the same thing on Saturday against Northampton.”