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Bradford Park Avenue v Chasetown FC - The Horsfall Stadium August 2010

On Saturday 21st August I made the relatively short journey up the M1 to watch a famous old club called Bradford Park Avenue open their 2010/11 Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign.

The visitors were Chasetown FC from the Midlands who had that fantastic cup run back in the 07/08 season when they became the first club from the 8th level of the English football pyramid to reach the 3rd round proper. Their cup run coming to an end with a 3-1 home defeat to eventual finalists Cardiff City. This game at Bradford was their first ever at level 7 of the pyramid so something of a historic match for them.

It was a lovely sunny day and the ground is in quite a nice semi-rural suburban setting. There’s a clubhouse inside the ground but we decided to have a walk up the road to have a look round. We walked up past a cricket pitch with a game in full flow. There’s something rather civilised about a small local cricket macth in the sun and it added to the rather nice ambiance of the day so far. A much different matchday experience than I’m used to when watching the Blades. No massed ranks of riot-suited robocops for starters or police horses trampling folk and leaving big piles of sh|t all over the place.

We found a boozer and settled down for a couple of pints. Got chatting to some Chasetown fans who were mingling quite happily and safely with the BPA fans. Not a hint of trouble, how very refreshing. Eventually we made our back to the ground paid our eight quid to get, bought a programme (£2) and had a couple of nicker on the raffle and headed for the club shop.

The BPA club shop is a football memorabilia shangri-la. There’s boxes of stuff brimming with old programmes, photos and all sorts of other stuff. I had a good old rummage for about 15 minutes before deciding on further refreshment from the club bar. It is here in the BPA clubhouse that you really get a feel for the history of this grand old club. The walls are adorned with various displays depicting events from the club’s history.

There’s a big display all about Len Shackleton who is BPA’s all-time leading goalscorer. The England shirt he wore, as a Bradford Park Avenue player, in the 1946 Victory International against Scotland at Hampden Park takes pride of place.

Another display which caught my eye is a plaque commemorating the first floodlit match at Avenue’s old ground against the Czechoslovakian national team. I’ve got the programme from this game in my collection and you can have a gander at it here on footysphere together with a couple of newspaper reports of the day.

The photos I took which are shown above aren’t the best quality. My camera is busted so had to rely on my mobile phone so apologies for that. They show the BPA club crest as it appears on the green and white home kit, the entrance gate to the Horsfall Stadium, a shot of the main stand and running track that surrounds the pitch, a jumble of stuff from the club shop, the best pie and peas I’ve ever had at a football match, and a couple of flags brought by the visitors.

The game ended 2-1 to BPA with the winner coming in the last minute. The attendance was 448 with about 40 to 50 of those following The Scholars. More shots of the ground and action from the match are available on the Chasetown FC website. Click the link to the photo gallery below.

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  1. footysphere posted this