Christmas books - Putting some colour into those old Bradford City v Park Avenue rivalries

UNTIL now, the rich football history from the city of Bradford had largely been confined to black and white.
The old Bradford Park Avenue ground.The old Bradford Park Avenue ground.
The old Bradford Park Avenue ground.

Wool City Rivals: A History in Colour (Bantams Past, £33.50) brings the monochrome images of the past to life by colourising historical footballing images, a number of which are over 100 years old.

As suggested by the title, the project focuses on the rivalry between Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue, with the old foes enjoying many battles throughout the years.

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It is the colourisation that really gives this book its unique feel. The reader is able to be in the moment and grasp the experience of those who were there when the photographs were snapped.

Looking at monochrome images makes the moment feel as if it is in the distant, untouchable past but the colourisation helps to connect the reader with photographs that were taken decades before they were born.

Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue have had their rivalry confined to the history pages with the sides last playing each other in the Football League in 1969.

It was January 25 when the rivals met in what was then known as the Fourth Division, playing out a 0-0 draw.

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Of the 52 derby games between the clubs, City took the derby spoils 20 times compared to Bradford’s 21 victories.

The sides would not meet again as Bradford Park Avenue lost their Football League membership.

You do not need to support Bradford City or Bradford Park Avenue to enjoy this book, such is the captivating nature of the images which have been brought to life.

The prelude takes the reader through the ‘Wool City’ rivalry between Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue. The cover image gives a taste of the rivalry from 70 years ago, as it presents action from the Bradford derby at Valley Parade in February, 1951. The pictures take you through the history of football in Bradford, from when Manningham FC became a football team in 1903, becoming Bradford City AFC.

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It reveals fascinating images from Bradford City’s 1911 FA Cup victory, from the semi-final win over Blackburn Rovers at Bramall Lane, to the final at The Crystal Palace in 1911.

The game finished 0-0, with a replay held at Old Trafford four days later.

It continues to move through the years from World War One through to the end of the Second World War, with more than 170 colourised photographs.

Each image is able to provide a distinctive look at the heritage of both clubs.

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Even viewing team photos in their varying coloured kits, helps to bring the players who have represented the clubs closer to the modern day.

The book has been produced by George Chilvers, who is a leading colouriser of archive football photographs, and Bradford football historian John Dewhirst.

This is Dewhirst’s fifth book about professional football in Bradford, its origins and development.

He has also co-authored three and been involved with production of five other titles.

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