Bradford City FA Cup Winners 1911 Centenary Celebration Dinner

On the evening of 26 April 1911 Bradford City’s FA Cup winning team arrived back in the city following their 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in a replayed FA Cup Final at Old Trafford, Manchester. The scenes which greeted their arrival in Bradford were unprecedented. An estimated 100,000 people were on the streets to welcome their heroes; an incredible third of the entire population of the city.

The team arrived at Bradford Exchange station. Two horse-drawn charabancs took the players across the city centre to the Midland Hotel where they were to celebrate their famous victory. Sat alongside the driver of the first charabanc was Bradford City’s captain, and goalscorer in the FA Cup final Jimmy Speirs. On his lap was the brand new Bradford designed FA Cup. In an astonishing coincidence 1911 was the first year the current FA Cup was used. It had been designed by the Bradford jewellers Fattorini’s. Thanks to a first half header by Jimmy Speirs the FA Cup made a rapid return to the city of its birth.

Speirs held the cup aloft to deafening cheers as the charabancs crawled through the packed streets. Down Bridge Street, around Town Hall Square and along Market Street should have taken only a matter of minutes – the journey took over three quarters of an hour. When the players arrived in the sanctuary of the Midland Hotel, a mass of humanity crammed themselves into the streets outside the hotel. Speirs appeared at an upper window of the hotel to give the crowds a final glimpse of the silver trophy. Speirs must have looked down on a sea of cheering faces. What a moment it must have been. Without doubt the biggest celebration in the city of Bradford’s history.

Exactly one hundred years since those momentous events the FA Cup itself will return to Bradford will be in pride of place during a centenary celebration dinner which will take place at the Midland Hotel. One hundred years to the very hour when Speirs and his players arrived at the Midland Hotel in triumph diners will be raising a glass to their remarkable triumph. During the three course meal speeches made on that unforgettable night will be recreated and a brass band will play tunes from the Edwardian era. The Saltaire Brewery is producing a batch of Glorious 1911 vintage ale based on the same recipe that was drunk by the players in 1911. The real ale will be on sale in the Midland’s bar during the course of the evening.

The event has been organised by the bantamspast team at Valley Parade comprising Dave Pendleton, John Dewhirst and John Ashton. During the last year there has been fund raising through the sale of enamel badges and a cheque for £5,000 will be formally presented to Professor David Sharpe and his staff from the Burns Unit.

On the night diners will have the opportunity to purchase a number of limited edition collectibles which are being produced to commemorate the evening including a programme, rosette and enamel badges with proceeds donated to the Bradford Burns Unit. Copies of David Pendleton’s book Glorious 1911 will be on sale and the author will be on hand to sign copies. Directors of Bradford City AFC have been invited and several former players have promised to attend.

The evening is close to being a sell out but a few tickets are still available. They are £25 a head and can be ordered by sending a cheque payable to: BANTAMSPAST, PO BOX 307, Shipley, BD18 9BT. Dress: jacket and tie for gentlemen, dress for ladies.

Further details from John Dewhirst, email glorious1911@paraders.co.uk and/or from the websites www.paraders.co.uk or www.bantamspast.co.uk or by asking one of the the bantamspast team in bantamspast museum above the club shop before kick off on match days.

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