Bygones – When the FA Cup made in Bradford returned to the city

“Yours shall be the first name on the new cup.”

Bradford City players line up for the presentation of the FA Cup after the replay in 1911. Pictures: Getty Images

Those were the words declared by the vice-president of the Football Association, Charles Crump, at Old Trafford 109 years ago as Bradford City beat Newcastle United 1-0 in the FA Cup final replay in what remains the club’s greatest achievement.

April 26, 1911 is one of the most significant dates in the club’s history as a goal from captain Jimmy Speirs was enough to clinch the Cup for City after the original final at Crystal Palace ended 0-0.

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The first FA Cup final was played in 1872 but the original trophy was stolen from a Birmingham shop window in 1895 after Aston Villa had beaten West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in the final.

A replica was used for 15 years until a new design was created by Bradford-based jewellers Fattorini and Sons and hallmarked in Sheffield for the 1911 final, which was incredibly won by the Paraders, now more commonly nicknamed the Bantams.

Company owner Antonio Fattorini was a watchmaker, chess enthusiast, a well-known local sportsman and a timekeeper at the 1908 Olympics in London.

He was a founding member of Bradford City Association Football Club and was also a board member of the club when the FA Cup trophy was brought back to were it originated.

Fattorini served on the board at Manningham FC, a rugby club who occupied Valley Parade before it converted to association football as Bradford City AFC in 1903. The club had previously seceded from the Rugby Union and been the winners of the inaugural Northern Union championship. Fattorini had been present at the formation of the Northern Union in 1895 and his firm also designed the Challenge Cup of that code.

My ball: Bradford City goalkeeper Mark Mellors takes possession.

The first FA Cup trophy was made for £20 while Villa were fined £25 by the FA for the trophy being stolen while under their care. The FA commissioned a new trophy after the 1910 final as they did not own the copyright for the design of the original cup.

That is when Fattorini and Sons were tasked with designing a new trophy, the one that we are familiar with today. The Cup won by Bradford City was used for 81 years, until it was retired in 1992.

An exact replica of Fattorini’s design was made in 1992, in order to protect the original 1911 Cup and to allow fans more access to the new trophy, which was used for just 22 years before being replaced.

In 2014, a heavier version of the Cup, with the same dimensions and design, was introduced to make it sturdier against wear and tear.

Cup maker: Antonio Fattorini, whose company Fattorini and Sons designed the 1911 FA Cup trophy won by Bradford City.

In the 1911 final, Newcastle went into the game as the holders and the favourites after beating Barnsley to the trophy the previous year. After a 1-1 draw in the 1910 final, the Magpies won the replay 2-0 at Goodison Park.

Barnsley would win the cup in 1912, however, defeating West Brom 1-0 in a final replay at Bramall Lane. In 1911, Spiers’s winning goal at Old Trafford came 15 minutes into the contest as his header was fumbled into the net by the goalkeeper.

“It is my privilege to hand to Bradford City the Cup they have so well won today, after a strenuous struggle,” declared Crump.

“I consider it a very wonderful thing that the West Riding of Yorkshire, where Association football was scarcely known 10 years ago, should for two years in succession have a team in the final tie – a great testimony to the determination of the Yorkshire people.”

Newcastle had dominated the original final at Crystal Palace but were unable to make their possession count with the Paraders rarely troubled as the replay was taken to Old Trafford four days later. A total of 64 clubs entered the 1910-11 FA Cup as Bradford beat Gillingham, who were known as New Brompton at the time, 1-0 away from home in mid-January in the first round proper.

They met Norwich City at Valley Parade in the second round in early February, triumphing 2-1 before a third-round encounter with Grimsby Town followed at the end of February, a tie which Bradford edged 1-0. Another 1-0 success followed in the quarter-finals as City defeated Lancashire outfit Burnley.

That set up a semi-final tie with Blackburn Rovers on March 25, 1911 at Bramall Lane.

Bradford cruised to a 3-0 win and Newcastle defeated Chelsea by the same scoreline at St Andrew’s. The imagination of the Bradford public was captured in the weeks leading up to the final and it remains City’s only appearance in an FA Cup final.

Several large companies across Bradford closed to allow their employees to make the trip to Crystal Palace, with 69,068 fans packed in to witness the match. The replay was just as well attended as 66,646 supporters made their way into Old Trafford to watch Speirs etch his name into Bradford legend.

The Paraders’ triumph was built on defensive solidity as they conceded only one goal throughout their entire Cup run.

That came in their second-round win against Norwich, meaning their defence was breached just once in 630 minutes of action.

Keeping Newcastle at bay for two matches was all the more impressive, considering the north-east outfit had netted 18 goals en route to the final compared to City’s eight.

Both clubs were in the First Division, with Bradford City earning their highest finish of fifth during in the 1910-11 campaign.

They won the Division Two title in 1907-08 and with it promotion to Division One and narrowly avoided relegation in their first top-flight campaign. Bradford City and Newcastle met twice in league competition in 1910-11.

The beaten FA Cup finalists won 6-1 at St James Park in December but Bradford won the reverse 1-0 at Valley Parade just two weeks before the first final at Crystal Palace.

A real physiological boost if ever there was one.

In the Bradford City official programme, the West Yorkshire club was described as “playing dashing football in all departments” in the replay at Old Trafford as the City team were welcomed as heroes on their return to Bradford.

They were given a civic reception by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Mr Jacob Moser, and were cheered through the densely-packed streets by delighted supporters, it was claimed that as many as a hundred thousand people greeted the victorious team.

Bradford got the defence of their trophy off to an ideal start in 1912, winning a first-round replay 4-0 against Queens Park Rangers at Valley Parade.

A 2-0 home win over Chelsea followed before they defeated rivals Bradford Park Avenue at Valley Parade in the third round.

They met Barnsley in the fourth round, with the match played three times after the first two meetings ended 0-0.

The second replay and third meeting at Bramall Lane turned out to be a five-goal thriller and although Bradford City were beaten 3-2, Barnsley made sure the trophy was kept in its home county with a dramatic 1-0 extra-time victory over West Brom in a final replay in Sheffield.

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