Bradford Park Avenue

Horsfall Stadium

Capacity: 3,500 (Seats 1,800)
Address: Cemetery Road, Bradford, BD6 2NG
Telephone: 0791 2271498
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: Avenue
Year Ground Opened: 1931*
Home Kit: Green and White

Main Stand
Main Stand
Looking Towards The East End
Looking Towards The East End
South Side and Cemetery End
South Side and Cemetery End
A Closer Look At The Main Stand
A Closer Look At The Main Stand

Horsfall Stadium is primarily a council owned athletics facility which is also used for football. It is dominated by one large seated stand on one side. This Main Stand which has 1,800 seats, is mostly covered but does have some portions of open seating to either side. It has a number of supporting pillars running across the front of it. which may impede your view. An interesting fact is that the seats in the Main Stand came from Lord's Cricket Ground. Although the open areas each side of this stand may appear to be for standing, in fact, supporters are not allowed to stand but must sit on the concrete. There are large notices saying 'No Standing.' At the Cemetery End situated directly behind the goal, the Club have erected a very small covered terrace. Comprising seven steps, the stand is not much taller than the goal itself and is around twice as wide. This stand is for home supporters only and has been christened the 'Bus Shelter Terrace' by the Park Avenue faithful. Otherwise, the rest of the stadium is primarily open with just a small flat standing area around the perimeter.

One of the main features of this ground is the brick built structure on the south side of the pitch. This actually resembles a house, but it contains the team dressing rooms, P.A. announcer and the Press. On the front of this structure there is an engraving in the wall which says: City of Bradford Horsfall Playing Fields. These grounds were opened on the 5th day of September 1931 by Alderman S Horsfall JP Chairman of the parks and cemeteries committee from 1913. On the same side of the pitch as this structure is probably the smallest stand you will ever see! It has 29 new plastic tip up seats. However this is where is gets even stranger - there is no access to the stand! It has perspex to each side and the front is completely closed in with a strong metal grill. I have been informed that the stand was built a few years ago to comply with ground regulations should the club be promoted to the next league up, where they must have two stands. It is never or very rarely used. To the East End the ground is overlooked by a number of houses that are set into the hill side above. As the stadium has an athletics track then fans are mostly set well back from the action.
There are four floodlight pylons on each side which do not get in the way.

There is a bar at the stadium itself, which welcomes away fans. Inside this club house bar you will find on display a fantastic model of the old Park Avenue ground. You can see some photos of it on John Rhodes Google Album.

Ben Hache adds; 'There are three pubs within five minutes walk of the stadium. On Huddersfield Road there are two pubs. One is called the 'Drop Kick' and then the 'British Queen' pub,  both of which show both BT Sky Sports. Fans using the Drop Kick pub can also leave their vehicles in the pub car park for the duration of the game. On Halifax Road there is the Northern pub which also has Sky television'.

If you require hotel accommodation in Bradford then first try a hotel booking service provided by Booking.com. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will help towards the running costs of keeping this Guide going. 

Access their Bradford Hotels pages.

Remember that you can use the above link to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, at home or abroad.

Booking.com

Leave the M62 at Junction 26 and take the M606 towards Bradford. Just before the end of the M606 take the left hand slip road signposted Ring Road West A6177. At the top of the slip road you will reach a roundabout at which you take the second exit towards Halifax (A6036). You will pass Odsal Stadium on your left and at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit continuing on the A6036 towards Halifax. Horsfall Stadium is signposted from this roundabout. After one mile and immediately before the Childrens Nursery, turn a sharp left into Cemetery Road. The stadium entrance is down on the left. There is a car park at the stadium which is free, otherwise there is street parking available along Cemetery Road.

The nearest railway station to the Horsfall Stadium is Low Moor which is located on the Bradford Interchange to Halifax line. An hourly service is in operation each way along the line. Low Moor station is located 1.3 miles away from the Horsfall Stadium and it is a steady uphill walk to the ground, which will take around 30 minutes (but much less going back down after the match!). As you come out of the station turn left and proceed along New Works Road through the Industrial Estate. Continue past the Royal Pub on your left. On reaching the end of New Works Road, turn right and then immediately turn left onto Abb Scott Lane. On reaching a mini roundabout bear left continuing along Abb Scott Lane. Then take the second right into Cemetery Road. The entrance to the Horsfall Stadium is further up on the right, after the park. 

The two main railway stations in Bradford are Bradford Forster Square and Bradford Interchange. Forster Square is served by trains from Skipton, Ilkley and Leeds, whilst the Interchange is served by trains from Rochdale, York and also Leeds. Both these stations are around three miles away from Horsfall Stadium, which is really too far to walk. Outside Interchange station there is a taxi rank and housed above the station is the bus station. 

From the Bus Station you can get a bus number 681 to Halifax which runs every 30 minutes on Saturdays  (05 & 35 minutes past each hour, with a journey time of 15 minutes). This runs along Halifax Road, past Cemetery Road which leads down to the stadium. On weekday evenings bus number 682 runs along the same route, departing at 18:05, 18:40 and 19:10. It may be an idea to ask the driver to let you off at the nearest stop. You can view a timetable on the First Bus website. There is also a free regular bus service from Bradford Forster Square to the Interchange called 'Free City Bus.'

John Thornton adds; 'If you arrive at Forster Square station, then on Saturdays you can get the bus number 613 service to Buttershaw. Leave the station via the cobbled ramp exit and pass the Midland Hotel. Cross over the road into Market Street, then cross to stop M3. Bus 613 is every 20 minutes, with a journey time of 25 minutes. If journeying in from outside West Yorkshire, then savings can be made by purchasing a 'plusbus' ticket with your rail ticket'.  

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Adult £11 
Senior Citizens £7
Students (with current NUS card) £7
Under-16s Free
Armed forces personnel (with warrant card) Free

Official Programme £2.

Bradford Park Avenue FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

Bradford City, FC Halifax Town and Guiseley.

Record Attendance: To be advised

Average Attendance
2016-2017: 454 (National League North)
2015-2016: 366 (National League North) 
2014-2015: 365 (National League North)

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

Bradford Park Avenue v Southport
National League North
Monday 7th August 2017, 7.45pm
Brian Scott (Neutral Ipswich Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Horsfall Stadium?
 
By some careful planning I had worked out that I could watch a match in the National League North on three consecutive nights, and this was the first on the Monday evening.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
When I was planning this visit I was expecting to have to catch a bus from Bradford Interchange and was concerned that there might not be one suitable at the end of the match. However, I was delighted to find that there is a new railway station at Low Moor which I used. From there it is a steady walk uphill all the way to the ground. Great coming back though!
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
I travelled up from Stowmarket by train and had booked into the Premier Inn not too far from Bradford Interchange station. I had a meal in the Wetherspoons not too far from the station. Then caught an early train to Low Moor to give me time to explore the ground before kick off.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Horsfall Stadium?
 
I had my usual wander around the whole ground enjoying its many quirky features. After reading about it in this guide, I had a look in the club bar at the model of the old Park Avenue ground and the photograph to put it into context. Very interesting. I spent some time trying to find out more information about the 'house' type structure on one side of the ground which is now houses the dressing rooms, press and PA announcer etc. There is an engraving on the front wall which says, "City of Bradford, Horsfall Playing Fields, These grounds were opened on the 5th day of September 1931 by Alderman S Horsfall JP. Chairman of the Parks and Cemeteries Committee from 1913." In my quest for more information, I ended up, (by mistake) talking to the Bradford manager! I was also asking about the very strange stand that is on this side of the pitch. This contains only 29 new tip-up seats and is impossible to get in! It has perspex at each end and a metal grill across the front. I was reliably informed that it was built a few years ago to comply with ground regulations should Bradford Park Avenue ever be promoted to the next league as they must have two sections of seats. I was informed that it is never, or very rarely used! I also asked a senior looking man on the main car park gate who was checking in people from a list. A smart man gave me his name assuming I was in charge as I had paper and pen in hand!
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
Bradford Park Avenue scored in the 9th minute, but the equaliser came twenty minutes later. This was after several goalmouth clearances until it eventually went in. In the 58th minute, Bradford had a player sent off for a bad tackle. It was all square until the final minutes of play when Southport managed to get the winner. For such an open ground the atmosphere was quite good with either side having a drummer. The Southport drummer was a young lad aged about 8 and his drum was nearly as big as he was. Having said that he was good. The home drummer had a smaller drum, but his actually made more noise especially when he was in the small stand right behind the goal. Incidentally, when I was having my walk around the ground I was told that I had to have a ticket to stand there. I was allowed a quick look to enable me to count the number of steps. I had quite a chat with a local who was very friendly. He turned out to be a volunteer groundsman and he said that he could get me into the little stand should I wish.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
It was a relatively easy walk downhill to the Low Moor station and then back into Bradford Interchange and the Premier Inn. The next day onto Whitley Bay for my hotel and then bus to Blyth, to watch my next game at Blyth Spartans.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
It was a very relaxed atmosphere and all in all, it turned out to be the best of my three visits that week.

Bradford Park Avenue v Gloucester City
National League North
Saturday 4th March 2017, 3pm
Anthony Hanley (Neutral Fan) 

The Journey.
It is a bit of a hike from my home in North London. At Bradford Interchange station you get the escalator upstairs to the spacious and smart bus station and head for Bus Stand F to catch the No. 681 to Halifax. (It makes sense to buy a Plusbus ticket with your rail ticket as its only £3 for unlimited bus travel). This service runs every 30 minutes and I caught the 2:05 pm bus. I timed the journey at 14 minutes. Once you pass the rugby ground at the roundabout on your left you are only 2 or 3 stops from your destination. Get off at Cemetery Road. If you pass a nursery on your left you’ve gone past it! However on my bus I counted eight Avenue fans, most wearing the green and white, and I simply followed them. From the bus stop it’s a short walk down the narrow Cemetery Road to the Horsfall Stadium at the bottom.

The Location
I like Bradford. Money and effort has been put into making it a smart and worthwhile place to visit. I was going to re-visit the National Media Museum which is close to the station and has free admission. Previously I’d found it a bit dog-eared and uncared for but unfortunately time was tight so I skipped it.

The Ground
No football club would choose to move to an athletics stadium, it’s a ‘needs must’ decision. Mostly it doesn’t really work (e.g. the Withdean Stadium, The Don Valley) and impairs the spectator experience. But sometimes it is a success (Gateshead Stadium) and the Horsfall Stadium is a case in point. Bradford Park Avenue have inherited a Main Stand which suits their needs admirably. Large and capacious it extends along most of the length of one touchline with terracing either side of it. The seating is at quite a steep angle and the running track is a narrow affair of six lanes so you are not far from the pitch and have an excellent view of the action. 90% of the crowd gathered here. Behind one goal is one of the smallest stands I’ve ever seen outside of a Subbuteo set. This was where the vocal fans from either side stood when their team were attacking that goal. Apart from a few fans scattered around the perimeter near the club house facing the Main Stand (reminiscent of and old pub or hotel) that was it.

Programmes were only on sale inside the club shop close to the turnstiles (lack of volunteers I assume). Go to the club shop of most big league teams and you are confronted by an antiseptically clean, soulless and dull place flogging over-priced trash. At Bradford Park Avenue it was cramped, cluttered, a bit chaotic – and fantastic. There was a big selection of old programmes from many clubs and eras. They had an impressive selection of FA.Cup Final programmes which were reasonably priced (I picked up a copy of Everton v West Brom from 1968 for £4).In addition there was an array of specialist and unusual books, enamel badges and more besides. It was heart-warming to find such a place.

I popped into the club bar at half-time to catch the current scores. Seemed to have an interesting selection of beers on sale.

The Match
The pitch was a little heavy with moisture and cut up easily. One of the penalty areas was quite heavily sanded which is something you don’t see too often nowadays. Interestingly Avenue sport shirts and shorts more commonly associated with Glasgow Celtic (or should that be the other way round?). The first 45 minutes were utterly unmemorable. I can’t recall any goal attempts or incidents. In fact I was distracted by the tiny ball boy working in front of the Main Stand who covered acres of ground scampering around retrieving loose balls. The second half was an improvement. Within ten minutes of the re-start Gloucester City had worked the ball to Zack Kotwica directly in front of goal who had the easy task of putting them one up. Naturally Avenue responded but the visitors were comfortable in repelling their unimaginative attacks. In fact Gloucester looked the more likely to score on the break and held on for a regulation three points. The defeat ended struggling Bradford’s season-best run of three wins on the trot.

Getting Away
The return bus stop is directly across the road from where I’d arrived and the bus came precisely as scheduled at 5:12pm. Only 11 minutes to get back to Bradford Interchange. I decided to head early back to Leeds to pick up my connecting train to Kings Cross. Now if you want a night out, or even a few drinks, you might wish to linger in Leeds which was absolutely swarming with people out for a good time.

Final Thoughts
I was interested to see how the former League club was getting on nowadays and I enjoyed my trip to Bradford Park Avenue more than I thought I would. It’s not swish and swanky but there were plenty of smiles, jokes and good-natured joshing among these friendly, stalwart and heroic fans to make a visit worthwhile.

Why not write your own review of the Horsfall Stadium Bradford Park Avenue and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 16th August 2017

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