Valley Parade has undergone a number of changes since the fire back in 1985 that claimed 56 lives. It has an all seated capacity in excess of 25,000 which is well advanced from the needs of a side as far down the league rankings as they are. Both the Carlsberg Kop and the Main Stand are huge builds and are joined together with the corner filled in. The Midland Rd stand offers unrestricted views but the TL Dallas stand behind the goal has a number of supporting posts.
Visiting supporters are once again accommodated within the TL Dallas Stand behind one of the goals. Up to 1,850 can be catered for, although given the opportunity, I would choose to sit in the upper tier of this stand rather than the lower, as the view of the action is significantly better. The facilities are generally very good although there are a couple of supporting pillars that may impede your view.
Northern Commercials Stadium seating plan:
Pubs that are safe to drink in for away fans with children welcome close to the ground are the Oakleigh and Park Hotel (both off Manningham Lane towards Shipley), the New Beehive in Westgate at the top end of town, Haigy's (a little closer as you walk to the ground from Westgate), and The Bolton, Goldsbourgh, and Corn Dolly which are to the east of the ground.
Parking is limited around the stadium on match days and local supporters suggest parking up and getting a bus to the stadium from one of the local routes. However, if you arrive early, you may find street parking nearby.
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The nearest / closest train station to Bradford City's Northern Commercials Stadium is Bradford Forster Square. Services are operated by northern rail. Bradford interchange also connects with Leeds city station for national express east coast and cross country services.
For more information telephone national rail enquiries on 08457 484950
Rivals - Leeds, Huddersfield
Travel: I arrived by train at Bradford Interchange, which is nearest to the city centre. Bradford Forster Square is nearer to the ground, but I didn't mind the walk, although it is uphill.
Refreshments: I met my friends in the Shoulder of Mutton on Kirkgate, which is close to Forster Square. A great little pub comprising several small rooms and a bit outside area at the back. It's a Sam Smith's pub so drinks prices are cheap. We then walked towards the ground, calling in the Record Café on North Parade on the way. A good choice of real ales on offer. Both pubs are away fans friendly and had a mix of home and away fans. There is usually a good rapport between the fans.
Impressions: I was familiar with the ground from previous visits. To get a better view I sat in the Main Stand with my Bantam's supporting friends. The view from the away end isn't the best.
Atmosphere: Bradford have a good noisy support, particularly on the Kop End. Fans in the Main Stand are a bit more reserved. Barnsley had sold their full allocation of tickets and the fans were in good voice, especially after taking an early lead. Barnsley scored a second goal very late on to win 2-0. The scoreline flattered Bradford, who didn't manage a shot on target. No problems with stewarding, which was low key as I was with the home fans. Toilet facilities are better than at many grounds.
Exit: We walked back into the city centre and called for a post-match beer in the Sunbridge Wells underground quarter, which is a quirky complex of shops, bars and restaurants. Worth a visit. I then walked to Bradford Interchange to get my train home via Leeds.
Enjoy: I always enjoy trips to Valley Parade. It's an easy journey by train. There are plenty of good pubs. Fans are generally friendly. It's interesting to sit with home fans and hear their views on your team.
Ground Name: Northern Commercials Stadium
Capacity: 25,136 (all seated)
Address: Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD8 7DY
Main Tel No.: 01274 773 355
Team Nickname: The Bantams
Year Ground Opened: 1903