Club Classics: The Beaver Among the Bantams!

Bradford City’s Claret and Amber stripes have rarely looked better than they did for this mid-1990s club classic by Beaver International.

Worn by the Bantams for their first trip to Wembley back in 1996, this vintage design has become a real fan’s favourite at Valley Parade.

But first, here’s the history bit!

Bradford City, Beaver, Diamond Seal, Bantams,1996
The very friendly looking Beaver logo

Bradford City were founded in 1903 when Rugby League side Manningham Football Club decided to switch codes to the kicking version of the game.

That decision came after a series of meetings between club officials, representatives of the Bradford Observer, and the Football League who invited the team to join their 2nd Division before they had even kicked a ball.

Tasked with promoting the game in the Rugby League stronghold of West Yorkshire and the new football club adopted the name “Bradford City” and kept Manningham’s Claret and Amber colours.

Bradford City, Beaver International, 1996, shirt, Play-Off final
The claret and amber stripes of Bradford City

However, rather than continue with the broad, imposing hoops of the rugby side; they elected to play in the more athletic and slimming stripes we know as the Bantams’ kit today.

It’s believed that Manningham’s combination of claret and amber originally came from The Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment who’s barracks were close to Valley Parade.

The Beaver among the Bantams

The story goes that Motherwell adopted the same scheme having been influenced by City’s 1911 FA Cup success, but there’s sadly no truth in the rumours that Harry Potter is a regular visitor to Valley Parade in his Gryffindor scarf.

Back to that Beaver then . . .

The two shirts we can show you here come courtesy of City fan and friend of Sartorial.Soccer, Brian Allison (make sure you follow @shirts_original on Twitter).

What a Diamond! Behold this Bradford City shirt worn by Lee Duxbury
Back of Duxbury’s shirt with visible Football League patches on the sleeves

Instantly associated with the 1996 Second Division Play-Off final and promotion back to the 2nd tier of English football under the management of national treasure Chris Kamara; Bantams fans list this design, along with Admiral’s “Bradford Great City” shirts among their favourites and its easy to see why.

One of these shirts is a replica, the other is a long-sleeved shirt worn by Keighley born midfielder Lee Duxbury, and whilst it’s unclear whether this is from the Wembley final itself; he did play under the Twin Towers that day.

The replica version of Beaver’s Bantams home shirt
Nice clear stripes

This was Bradford’s first trip to Wembley and Kammy’s boys rose to the occasion, beating Notts County 2-0 with goals from Bradford born teenager Des Hamilton and recent signing Mark Stallard sealing promotion.

City’s Claret and Amber colours were weaved into this club classic shirt by Leeds based Beaver International who also made kits for Huddersfield Town, Scarborough, Halifax Town, Barnsley as well as Barnet, Southend and Exeter City.

Vintage Football League sleeve badge from the match-worn version of the shirt

Sponsored by Diamond Seal, the replica version of the design was originally released with the pressed-on badge seen on Duxbury’s match-worn shirt, but later versions carried a far more luxurious embroidered crest.

Embroidered Bantams badge from the replica shirt

Memories are made of Polyester and the associations we have with football shirts are often influenced by the feelings they stir in us.

Put simply, there is a link between a winning team and a winning football shirt.

The players’ shirts featured this pressed-on crest

So for the simplicity of design and that Wembley stardust, this Bradford City shirt is rightly regarded as a fans’ favourite shirt.

And after all, everyone loves a dam’ good Beaver!

We turned to Bantams fan Brian Allison (follow @shirts_original on Twitter) for guidance on which of his incredible collection of Bradford City shirts we should cover.

If you have a football shirt story you think we should feature then please let us know in the comments section below!

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