Bradford City Away: Saturday 17th September 2016

Bradford City Away: Saturday 17th September 2016

Or: A Birthday weekend stroll about town.

The Journey

Sunday was my 58th Birthday. Not a  greatly significant number but it did merit a weekend away. Rose and I hit the route north around 3 aiming to be in Bradford early evening and in the pub (Fighting Cock) before 8. Our route became a glorious tribute to the quality of routes available once you give up on motorways. So we visited the following towns:- Chepstow, Monmouth, Ross on Wye, Alcester, Stratford, Coventry before joining the now free from traffic M69 and M1 North.  It was well after 9 when we arrived so it was a whisky and room service sort of Friday night.  There was a full contingent of play mates arriving for the next day. Many were staying at the New Beehive, more locals by train from Leeds. We were in the Jury’s Hotel, where they have rubber breakfast eggs, hidden parking charges and very comfortable rooms.


The plan was to meet the arriving car load of Marcus Bob, Ronnie, John and the Lord at the New Beehive when they arrived to check in at 12. We had time for a leisurely carve of the chicken egg and hack at the cardboard toast before strolling up to the Bradford Brewery for 11 o clock opening. Don’t you just hate it when you prepare so thoroughly only to find someone else hasn’t done their homework? It wasn’t open at 11. We then went for a stroll around the market area in search of a paper shop. Does nobody buy a paper in Bradford? We eventually found a small kiosk with a paper stand and returned to pub hunting with 12 faster approaching. A sit in the park was required to fill the final minutes and we arrived bang on 12, just as Marcus disgorged the team in to the pub Car park. Marcus duly apologised for being a couple of minutes late. Apparently they had to wait for Tardy Ron to walk the two minutes from home to pick up point, thus setting them all off schedule. I was beginning to wonder if we also had a Northern time zone issue as by five past the hour there was still no sign of the pub being ready to open.

“Move on then?” was the cry.

“Where to?”

“The  Bradford Brewery?”

“Where’s that to? “

“Over there under that gert big sign that says Bradford Brewery.”

Pre match Pubs

The Bradford Brewery (11)


Made 4 Bradford

Beer Bradford Northern Lights (7)

We settled to the back bar. It has the feel of the Crofters Rights back in Bristol i.e. a work in progress with chipboard walls and food being sourced from street vendors. The Pie and Peas special attracted attention as did the prospect of the others catching us up very soon. By the others I mean Mumbles and Random Tim who were miraculously taking the train from Bristol to arrive in time for the fun. The had gone via the Corn Dolly on arrival where they joined with the Northern Gas in coming on to the Brewery after instructions from the Ronster. As we left so those two plus Craig, Paul, Roger Right-Hand and Clive appeared at the door. Nothing was stopping us now, the roll around had begun and this juggernaut was not for stopping. Rose and I went off at a pace. The others eventually followed. Roger was also gathering various friends and work colleagues before the game and so for once we had two Pied Pipers being reluctant guides. This number was to grow during the day as Glyn eventually joined us and took up the mantle of tour guide. More of that later.

The Record Café (12.5)


The Record List

Beer Wishbone Abyss (8)

To say I like this place is a bit of an understatement. It was relaxed, busy, well organised and had excellent beer. We found space to sit together at a window table that encouraged my feeling of better being. Rose was soon to depart and better enjoy her afternoon at the hotel (she has been feeling rather unwell for a while) leaving me to concentrate fully on beer and football. Messages were flying between friends as to where we could finally join together.  What the Sparrow started across the road has taken off big time in North Parade. The street and its bars were buzzing in a thoroughly good way. The Bradford fans come out in their colours and offer a friendship not found among their comparative neighbours down the road in Leeds. We pondered as to whether we might have difficult the next time we came should Geoff spend all the time browsing the record store upstairs. As it was we crawled across the road for the next port of call.

The Sparrow Beer Café (12)


The Sparrow Beer Board

Beer: Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild (5)

By now we had reached full team membership. I was able to sell Rose’s, now not needed, ticket, to our North-Walian Gashead friend. Roger’s crew had Bradford fans and youngsters as members of the party. A quick chat at the bar revealed that Glyn had been in here earlier, no doubt looking for us and had moved on. As if by magic, Glyn then texted to say he was in the Beehive that was open at 12.43. As was the consequence of the pub being full it was a bit like being in a pre-kick off handshaking line as new friends arrived to greetings and passing to get to the bar. The next text was more ominous. Good friends Clive and Anne had been cornered in the Beehive by Glyn. I did worry for their sanity but they did have their parents with them to offer some Northern perspective to his potential ranting. Like the little Beer Heads we were, Bob and myself noted the Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild. Reputations sold the beer to us. In reflection I have had better versions of this classic.

The choice was now whether to go via the Beehive or sample the pub next door. Marcus was in volunteering mode and came back with a report of good beer, (Naylor’s beer?) space and interest to be had. With this excellent sort of recceing, we had little difficulty in moving next door.

The Beer House (11)


Space to chat in the busy Beer House

Beer Naylor Toffee Mild (7)

This tour was getting better by the minute. We were faced with a good beer list, room to get to the bar and ample space to stand and chat. I quite like a four beer list, it sort of guaranteed the condition will be good if the pub is busy enough. Of course I had to have the Naylor’s beer. This was a bit experimental for how I remember their beers but the boys did well again. They never let me down and oh how I wish I could drink their stuff further south.

It was a twenty minute stroll to the ground at my pace.

The Match

Bradford City 1 Bristol Rovers 1 Attendance: 17.489 (approx. 500 – 600 Gasheads)

Such is the level of expectation with the Rovers nowadays that we are sometimes disappointed by an excellent away draw. If we were seriously thinking of automatic promotion then draw away and win at home is usually the mantra to execute. When we were drawing at half time then a good tight performance should be lauded as such and we might have the confidence to think we could nick a result in the final minutes. My half time thought was that I honestly couldn’t expect Braford to be quite so poor in the second half and we needed to be careful that the referee could be sending people off for fun by the end. Bradford did improve considerably. In doing so the game opened up for us as well. They appeared to commit more players to wide areas. When they did eventually score I thought we might have been on the end of a drubbing. But they then sat back and allowed us to get in the game. Our subs made a difference and we deservedly equalised. A great save by Roos was matched by a similar one by the Bradford keeper and we all trotted off content with a 1-1.

The game will be remembered in history for the three minute stoppage for a drone to be escorted away from the air space above the game. I had only been reading earlier about how birds of prey were being employed to take them out. If only those in charge of the non-existent half time entertainment could have sent a team of hawks to intercept this one. Better still, get a crack rifle squad to fire it out of the sky. That would teach the probable spotty youth playing with his new toy from a Bradford window, not to do it again. Talking of entertainment. Why is it with a 17,000 crowd do the Bradford fans need a drummer AND then music playing after they score?

Rovers Ratings: /10. New for this season. Players with more than 7 or less than 5 will get a comment as to why.

Roos 8, Leadbitter 6, Lockyer 7, Hartley 5, Brown 6, H Boeteng 5, Bodin 6, Sinclair 6, Moore 6, Taylor 6. Harrison 5 Subs Colkett 6 4, James 6, Lines 7

The laudable

Roos. – Just for the last minute save to keep the point

Entertainment Value 3

Man of the Match: Kelle Roos

Post-Match pubs

I walked the lower route and beat the main group to the door of….

The New Beehive (8)

Beer: Titanic Iceberg (8) and Saltaire Blonde (8)

Remember that statement above this entry because it was fully 12 minutes before I got served. All the others were safely supping in the back room, even Glyn had arrived, chatted to the bar staff and got served before eyes caught my ever desperate stare. Finally a mini rant got the attention of the barman and a place in the ever changing queue.


Glyn a.k.a. Bradwan in his Glyn-made Guide T shirt. I gave mine away as a prize a long time ago

It is time to explain Glyn. As if that could be done in a paragraph? When I wrote the guides. Do you remember the guides that I go on and on about all the time? Glyn helped me by writing the Cultural guides to the towns and organising many a radio, newspaper or television interview. We had plenty of fun and many beers along the way but since the guides ended he has gone back to his Bradfordian ways and I have retired deeply south. Today Glyn was with a mate, Chris Armstrong as shown in this none to complimentary post on Facebook from Glyn.

in the Beehive.jpg

Apparently I’m texting about a dodgy ref in the New Beehive

We stayed for two as is the way when we get into beer chat here. Craig came to join us for a while before we all made for different paths either home or the next pub. The Landord had given Roger a list of options. Glyn and Chris me a similar list. We agreed on the next stop as meeting our criteria and left at different times planning to meet again soon. It was back to North Parade and …….

The Peacock (12)


The Leeds contingent with The Lord in sampling mode.

Beer Ossett Silver King (7)

We picked up where we left off opposite the Beer House and in this excellent bar. It has taken on the bar style with split level drinking and simple food such as the spicy chicken livers in a box. Ossett Silver King did its usual. It always plays very hard to get when pouring and goes flat as a pancake before the beer gets to the table. It tastes divine and again it hit the Stedders Sweet Spot. The conversation was now all about the game and the beer.

It was now time to rely on local knowledge to eek out the best from the rest. We decided to let Chris and Glyn show the way. We had forgotten that time and direction is distorted in the north but at least the end result would be good.

Twenty minutes of urban slog led us to ….

Jacobs Beer House (12)

Beers. Springhead Maid Marian (7), Saltaire #256 (9)

The landlady didn’t know that we knew she was related to the boss at the New Beehive. It was he who recommended going here, such was the love of our custom. The pub is a throwback to Bradford of old, Glyn asserting it was the second oldest in town. I made sure I didn’t fall for the obvious and ask of the older. We joined a couple of Rugby league fans in the snug and Ronnie took up bar propping duties that involved organising conversation. I didn’t say that Marcus didn’t go to the game. He had been Ground hopping at nearby Campion V Ollerton Town (Result 1-1). By now the landlord of the Beehive had arrived and pennies were dropped about their clients at the pub for the night. This left Marcus so happy we had our usual Rovers V City baiting session, during which he declared his love for Mangotsfield above that of the Reds. Ronnie just about kept himself awake by singing at the bar. That means for the very first, and probably last time video evidence comes to this missive. It had to be done, just to stop him getting too enthusiastic.

It won’t upload directly to here so you may need to follow the link Ronnie Singing in the Jacob’s to get the full glory. If it doesn’t work please don’t worry too much. You have probably just dodged a musical nasty

All the while the Lord just sat in the corner of the room smiling to himself. The poor chap was not feeling too well and we had not an ounce of sympathy.

It was now fast approaching Curry time. The chaps were heading back to the hotel and a local option. The prospect of my bed in the nearby Jury’s was more welcoming.

Best Pub: The Record Café

This was a very difficult choice. The North Parade area is one of the best in the country for such a day as this and within it the choice is spectacular. I am going to plump for the mist comfortable and interesting and say that The Record café did it best on the day.

As Best Pub for the day it scored 12.5

Beer choice 5 (out of 5) 4

Beer Quality 5 (average score of beers chosen, out of 5) 4

Staff and service 3 (Out of 5) 4.5

Total 12.5 out of 15

It is now the best of the year so far.

Best Beer: Saltaire #256 in the Jacob’s Beer House

I have to say that on many a day I struggle to get beer I really like that is consistently good. Today was beer brilliant. Good traditional golden ales without the need for over hopping. A stout and a Mild that added a bit of variety in the middle and the best being the last. How often in a long session does the last beer record as the best. Not in my world it seems.

Next up: Swindon Away Tuesday 20th September

1 Comment

  1. I love Bradford, having spent 3 very happy years living nearby (Ilkley) in the early 80’s and doing a lot of socialising in Bradford (and Leeds).
    Very acceptable roast lamb lunch in the Northgate café – 10 mins. walk from Valley Parade.


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