Heritage Bradford City Football Club Badges in classic designs
Bradford City AFC Club Crests
 
 
A brief history of Bradford City badges
and a selection of classic designs
 
  Is this the oldest Bradford City badge in existence?
This is a one inch diameter button badge featuring team players from the 1907/08 Division Two Championship winning side. It would appear to have been derived from the photo (right) of the team stood in front of the old main stand then still under construction. The badge has reference to a London photographer on its reverse and clearly it was sold to capitalise on the success and popularity of the club.
 
 
 
             
 

Bradford City players featured in a large number of cigarette card releases before World War One including the club colours on the card right. This card was published by Ogden’s Tobacco Co in 1908 and would have provided a cheap and accessible way to wear the colours of your favourite club. One must assume that because City attracted relatively high crowds that these cards were printed in large numbers. Certainly this example is relatively easy to obtain nowadays and much more commonplace than the button badge above.

Until the mid 80’s there were few Bradford City enamel badges in existence and it was not until Stafford Heginbotham’s first chairmanship from 1965 that the club gave much thought to badge releases or merchandise / souvenirs in general. Historically most badges had been released by supporter groups, including for example the Bradford City Shareholder and Supporters’ Association under the chairmanship of Sam Firth in the 1950’s. A copy of the then newly formed supporters' club badge introduced in 1921 has been re-released in range of PARADERS badges (refer #0803).

 

The badge above was released in the early ‘60s by the BCSSA and featured a bantam cockerel in a cut-out design. Notwithstanding that white Pekin bantams are impressive birds it is a tad ironic that the bantam design was not in claret and amber as the original club character from 1909. At least it was a cockerel and not the hen design that features on the current crest.

Heginbotham introduced the City Gent character in March, 1966. This was supposedly a caricature of himself. The button badge above left is an original from 1972 and features the CG that appeared on the club programme between 1966-72. The CG badge above right was the original enamel badge of this character and possibly the most popular. Before the days of ebay it was surprisingly hard to get hold of and a Halifax trader in the Piece Hall took advantage of this in the mid eighties by releasing multiple copies.

 

 

A number of City Gent variants have appeared in the last 25 years including the two above that were sold through the City Gent (which was originally the magazine of City Travel Club ’73) in 1985 and 1986 respectively. The character left was something of a design disaster whilst the design right appeared in four different kits (71/72; 76/77; 77/78 and 85-87). The gold versions are particularly rare.

Although he was from Oldham, Stafford Heginbotham was proud of his adopted Bradford and retained a civic identity in his new club crest in 1966.  Despite this being a distinctive design it was never released as an enamel badge at the time. The version left is actually an unofficial, post-dated release from about ten years’ ago but an excellent rendition, albeit only 20mm in height. The badge right was an unofficial version from around 1970 – it is hardly likely that Stafford Heginbotham would have endorsed ‘Bradford FC’ on a City badge! At the time this could be purchased in sports shops in Bradford – the era of street based badge hawkers in Bradford did not commence until the late 80’s – and this example was purchased in Carter’s.
 
 
 
             
 

The classic badge of the 1970’s was undoubtedly the BC logo with the polished silver background from around 1976 (although it is rare to find one that has avoided scratching).

By the late 70’s it became commonplace for souvenir badges to have printed plastic inserts and these were promoted by a Northampton business, Coffers. Numerous versions of City badges were produced in this way as above right.

 

Another common badge from the 70’s and early 80’s was the City Travel Club ’73 (Bradford) button badge.

City re-introduced the bantams identity in 1981 with a simple design as shown above. The reference to BRADFORD CITY AFC (1983) is a subtle reminder that the old 1908 company was swept away in the club’s insolvency crisis and subsequent receivership of 1983.
 

City supporter and badge collector, Richard Holden was responsible for a number of excellent releases in the late 80’s including the later version of the boar’s head crest (re-introduced by Stafford Heginbotham in 1985) and badges for the revived Bradford City Supporters’ Club (including its Saltaire and Australian branches).

The boar’s head badge above left was a limited edition to raise money for the Bradford Burns Appeal with a second version released in claret. Note that the PARADERS releases of the two different boar’s head badges are the first to include coloured enamel letters to provide a multi-colour version consistent with the original crests.

 
             
 
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In the opinion of the writer official club badge releases over the last twenty years have been of weak design and limited originality. The quality has arguably been poor arising from the choice of cheap imported products. Two other factors have conspired to the situation. The first being the fact that other forms of merchandise are more profitable and the second being that those managing the club shop have been neither longstanding supporters nor had an interest in badges (contrast this to the traditional state of affairs when supporters’ club members would manage football club shops) .

 
     
 
Higher crowds at Valley Parade attracted a number of street vendors in the late 90’s and the early part of the last decade. Although there was a selection of some commendable designs, in the main most releases have been relatively poor and somewhat formulaic. A notable release was the badge right based on an original postcard commemorating the 1911 FA Cup winning team. However it is questionable whether an attempt to include lots of historic and/or statistical text detail on a badge actually detracts from the core appeal of a simple and more traditional enamel badge that is based around club identity. Given the wealth of historic iconography associated with Bradford City it seems remarkable that modern releases have had to be so unimaginative and design poor.   1
 
     
 

A more recent trend has been the popularity of fixture badges and it is a tad unfortunate that at Valley Parade the timing of their release has been such that they have served only to commemorate a series of instantly forgettable games. First there was the match programme, then the team sheet and now the enamel badge for each fixture but it obviously has an appeal.

The driver behind the PARADERS badge releases has been to return to basics, revive historically authentic designs and hopefully provide some new collectible design classics. Each badge design is guaranteed to be historically authentic and verified to historic sources. The manufacture is by traditional process in the UK and the badges are made from hard enamel – contrast these with the quality and soft enamel of cheap Chinese imports that remain commonplace. The PARADERS range of badges are all deliberately at minimal production runs and when sold will not be repeated. Hopefully the range of badges on the rest of this website will become classic City collectibles of the future!

 
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