Valley Parade, also known as the Utilita Energy Stadium for sponsorship reasons is the 25,136 all-seater home ground of Bradford City Association Football Club.
The stadium is one of the oldest in England and it was opened in 1886, two years before the Football League was formed. It was originally the home of Manningham Rugby Football Club until 1903, when they changed code from rugby football to association football and became Bradford City as we know them today.
Famous football architect Archibald Leitch was commissioned to redevelop the ground when Bradford City were promoted to the First Division in 1908, and it is not owned by former chairman Gordon Gibb’s pension fund. Unlike the majority of football stadiums, Valley Parade is divided into five stands; the JCT600 Stand (Sunwin Main Stand), the Kop, the Midland Road Stand, the North West Corner, and the TL Dallas Stand.
The first association football game to be played at Valley Parade was a promotional fixture on 6 April 1903 between a side of West Yorkshire footballers and Sheffield United’s infamous 1903 FA Cup winning side. Following Bradford’s promotion to the top flight in 1908, Leich designed new terracing in the paddock which included a standing area in front of the 5,300-seater main stand which was built in the same year.
In addition, a Spion Kop was built at the north side of the ground, and a large 8,000-seater stand was erected at the Midland Road end opposite the main stand. The total project, including minor changes, cost almost £10,000 for the Bantams, though their new capacity was raised to 40,000 during the 1908-09 season. Floodlights were not installed at Valley Parade until 1954, and they were initially used against Hull City on 20 December which meant that night-time fixtures could now be played in darker conditions.
On 11 May 1985, one of the worst sporting disasters occurred at Valley Parade. 56 people tragically lost their lives, and a further 265 were injured when the main stand caught fire, 40 minutes into the club’s final game of the season against Lincoln City. The main stand was destroyed in just nine minutes and during the next season and a half, the Bantams had to play their home games at Elland Road, Leeds Road, and Odsal Stadium whilst Valley Parade was rebuilt.
Valley Parade has been renamed a vast number of times over the years for sponsorship reasons, though it will always be commonly referred to as Valley Parade no matter what. The ground was renamed as the Northern Commercials Stadium in July 2016, and it was re-sponsored during last summer in 2019 to Utilita Energy Stadium.
Adult ticket prices cost £20 per game, concession tickets are available for £15, under-16s from £10, and under-11s from just £5 when accompanied by an adult. Fans aged over-16, adults, seniors, and students can purchase season tickets for just £150, whereas under-16s can buy one for £100, and under-11s for just £25.
https://www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk/ – Official Website of Bradford City
https://www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk/tickets/home-tickets/ – Bradford City FC