Are you ready to Rock n’ Roll Gooners?
Because it’s back, yes, It’s the League Cup again tonight and on the menu are Bradford City, a team that Arsenal have never faced in this competition. In fact, the Bantam’s are a club who Arsenal have faced on very few occasions and only ever in three previous cup-ties which were all FA Cup…
We have to go back some 110 years to the very first time these two clubs faced each other and in that League Division Two fixture, Harry Bradshaw’s Woolwich Arsenal beat Bradford City 4-1 at the Manor Ground, in front of a crowd of 18,000.
Four month’s later, the Gunners travelled to Valley Parade in Yorkshire, which has been Bradford’s ground for the clubs entire history, which at that time was quite a short, as they were formed in 1903! Woolwich Arsenal duly won their first visit to Valley Parade 3-0 on the way to being promoted to the First Division during that memorable 1903-04 season.
Five years later, a newly promoted Bradford City joined a mid-table Woolwich Arsenal in Division One. Harry Bradshaw had left, Phil Kelso had been and gone and George Morrell was trying manfully and ultimately unsuccessfully, to keep Woolwich Arsenal in the top division.
During those five struggling seasons Woolwich Arsenal’s record vs Bradford City was quite mixed P 10 W 3 D 3 L 4 F 8 A 13.
Arsenal’s best result against tonight’s opposition was a 2-0 victory during the 1911-12 season, the goalscorers were Alf Common and the jewel in Arsenal’s crown, Andy Ducat, the Cesc Fabregas of his day. He was eventually sold to Aston Villa to help clear debt’s.
Some thing’s never change at Arsenal it seems!
Woolwich Arsenal were relegated for their one and only time at the end of the 1912-13 season and duly moved to Highbury, eventually changing their name to Arsenal in 1914. During that brief sojourn in Division Two, prior to the Great War of 1914-18, the Gunners faced the Bantam’s in their first ever cup-tie and that was in the 1913-14 FA Cup, 1st Round. (know today as the 3rd Round) Bradford City of Division One, entertained Woolwich Arsenal of Division Two at Valley Parade and there would be no giant-killing as an 18,000 crowd roared the Bantam’s to a 2-0 victory.
Following the First World War, Arsenal found themselves elected back to the First Division at the expense of some unimportant club called Tottenham Hotspurs.
Whatever happened to them?
Then, for the next three seasons Arsenal vs Bradford City was again on the fixture list. The 1919-20 and 1920-21 saw Bradford win three and draw once as Leslie Knighton’s team struggled to maintain their status in England’s top division.
The Gunners got the upper hand in 1921-22 with a 2-0 win at Valley Parade and the clubs first ever victory over the Bantam’s at Highbury by 1-0, a goal scored by Billy Blyth and witnessed by 32,000 spectator’s. Bradford City were relegated at the end of that season.
It took 40 years (1961-62) before these two clubs would be paired again. This time 40,232 watched Mel Charles (2) and an own goal, put pay to Bradford City in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup at Highbury, the Arsenal manager was Bradford born George Swindin.
Another 10 years later, (1971-72) the Bantam’s visit Highbury again, this time in the FA Cup, 4th Round. 40,407 watched on as Bertie Mee’s side won 2-0 with Charlie George and Alan Ball getting the goals.
Valley Parade is still synonymous with that terrible fire that killed and maimed many fans during the mid 1980’s but with a new stand replacing the old wooden one, Bradford City returned to the big time., by winning promotion to the EPL in 1999 after 75 years of lower division obscurity.
1999-2001 saw two 2-0 victories for Arsenal at Highbury, whilst at Valley Parade the Gunners suffered a 2-1 defeat in Bradford’s first season back followed by a 1-1 draw, before Bradford City were relegated.
Bit of injury news for us:
Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, Ignasi Miquel, Nico Yennaris and of course, Abou Diaby are all out for tonight but surely we should still have enough to get a result.
This season, Bradford are currently 4th in Division Two (Division Four in old money) and have lost twice at home this season, 0-1 to both Port Vale and Exeter .
They have accounted for Notts County (a), Watford (a) and Burton Albion (h), so far in the League Cup. That run was expected to end at the JJB against Wigan in the last round, but the Bantam’s pulled off a memorable 0-0 draw before beating Martinez’s team 4-2 on penalties…
So we better not underestimate Phil Parkinson’s team, or we’ll come a cropper.
Their danger man is 22 year old Bermuda striker Nahki Wells whose scored 14 goals in 26 appearances.
Wenger has said he wants to win this one, so do we Arsene!
Written by Birthday Boy Allezkev…..