Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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Sport

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by James Oddy
by James Oddy

November 19th sees that most rare of events. Two unbeaten, elite, pound for pound contenders in the same weight class, meeting in a squared circle.

The fighters in questions are Andre ‘Son of God’ Ward, (30-0, 15 Kos) and Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs). Kovalev currently holds the WBA, IBF light heavyweight titles, whereas Ward the WBO strap, all of which will all be on the line in the T-Mobile arena on the Las Vegas strip.

The fight is a mouth-watering clash of styles. Kovalev is a brutal boxer puncher, who throws concussive straights, hooks and uppercuts. Despite carrying legitimate knock out power in both mits, he is also an accomplished boxer, although not a stylist by any means. Instead, he uses his power, basic yet effective footwork and high guard to work his opponent into corners, where he unleashes huge shots. The ‘Krusher’ also has a definite mean streak, seemingly prolonging the beating he handed out to rival Jean Pascal (36-4-1) in there 2016 rematch. Even when he can’t land those big shots, he can still win wide on the cards, as seen by his complete domination of living legend Bernard Hopkins (66-7-2) in late 2014.

untitledWard is more of a boxer than a pure puncher, but what a boxer he is. He is wonderfully athletic; a defensive wizard who can also rough house with the best if the fight goes to the trenches. His defence is similar to Floyd Mayweather’s ‘shoulder roll’, and from that he spears out jabs and back hands. Although plagued with inactivity due to promotional issues, Ward still has a superb resume, especially at previous weight of super middleweight. He won the innovative super six tournament in 2010/11, beating the likes of Mikael Kessler, Carl Froch, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham, all of whom offered different stylistic challenges. His win over Kessler, the pre-tournament favourite, was particularly impressive, and he completely nullified Froch in the final. Ward then added light heavy weight king Chad Dawson to his list of wins, although it’s worth noting he made Dawson come down in weight for the meeting. Since making the move the light-heavy after a two year layoff, he has beaten an overweight Paul Smith, an undefeated Sullivan Barrera and a solid Alexander Brand.

This is a true super fight, and unlike many we have seen lately, both are more or less at the peak of their powers. Both have some of the game’s best strategists in their corner, ex world champ John David Jackson for Kovalev and the enigmatic Virgil Hunter for Ward. It’s a very tough fight to predict. If Ward restricts Kovalev and prevents him from landing those crunching hooks, I can see him winning a fairly uneventful unanimous decision. If Kovalev lands at any point, but particularly in the early rounds, it could upset Ward’s rhythm and equilibrium and I could see the fight becoming much more open.

Ultimately, if I were forced to make a prediction, and I am, I’ll pick Ward. He is slick, still fresh and his partnership with Hunter is one of modern boxing’s best.

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Bradford Dragons’ rich vein of form continued with wins at Westminster Warriors, 87-98 and against Reading Rockets, in the Dragons’ Den, 102-96. The victories take Bradford’s winning streak to seven games, a feat that the club has not achieved since the 2013/14 season.

The Dragons made the journey to London, on Saturday, to face Westminster Warriors, just two weeks after the two had met in the reverse fixture in the Dragons’ Den, which Bradford had won comfortably, 121-93.

It was the Dragons that held a slight advantage at the end of the first quarter, ahead by a single point, 15-16, a lead which was extended to eight points, 34-42, when the teams left the court at half time.

Image courtesy of Alex Daniel Photography
Image courtesy of Alex Daniel Photography

The Dragons turned the screw in the third quarter, extending their lead to eighteen points and despite Westminster winning the final quarter, they could not prevent Bradford from taking the victory, 87-98.

Ricky Fetske led the scoring for Bradford with 21 points, ably assisted by Jason Swaine with 18 points and Marcus Gooding adding another 17 points.

Following the long journey home, on Saturday night, the Dragons faced Reading Rockets, back in the Dragons’ Den, on Sunday afternoon. In comparison to the home side, Reading had made the slightly shorter journey from Newcastle, where they had been on the wrong end of an 87-75 score-line against Team Northumbria the previous evening. Nevertheless, Reading would provide Bradford with their toughest test yet, since the opening day fixture at Derby Trailblazers, a game in which Bradford lost by a single point (83-82) against the current league leaders.

In the opening quarter of the game, it was the Rockets that had the better of the play, quickly opening a five-point lead. However, the home side kept themselves in contention and pulled the score back to within two points (25-27) at the end of the initial period.

The visiting side continued to press, however, in the second period and quickly reopened the gap to seven points. But, the hosts refused to let them get away and in the closing minutes of the half they turned the game around in their favour, going back to the locker room with a four-point lead, at 49-45.

The Dragons took control of proceedings in the third quarter and had soon extended their lead to eleven points. However, Reading refused to let go and at the end of the penultimate period of play, they had pulled the gap back to seven points (76-69), leaving their hosts still will with plenty of work to be done in the final ten minutes.

As hard as Reading tried, they just couldn’t get within reach of the home side and with less than 90 seconds remaining on the clock, Bradford were ahead by nine (98-89). Rihards Sulcs stepped up to the free throw line, but couldn’t sink both shots, leaving his team one point short of the ton, however Gooding put that right, taking Bradford over the one-hundred-point mark for the sixth time in seven games. The contest ended with a seventh straight victory for the Dragons, 102-96.

Gooding capped a fine shooting performance, by topping the home sides scorers with 29 points, whilst Sulcs contributed 25 points to the cause and Fetske a further 23 points.

The victory sees Bradford move up a place, to fourth, in the National Basketball League Division One table, just one victory behind leaders Derby Trailblazers.

Dragons’ head coach, Chris Mellor commented on the weekends action, saying, “Westminster are always dangerous, especially at home and it took us ‘til midway in the third before we got any kind of grip of the game, but it was another good collective effort.”

“Against Reading, once again it was another even game and, like Saturday, we just managed to put four or five stops together in the third and convert at the other end to get a double figure lead, which was the telling run in the game.”

Bradford face a tough away trip to Team Northumbria next weekend, a side that currently sit second in the table and the Dragons will be keen to make amends for the defeat in the National Trophy earlier, in the season.

The action returns to the Dragon’s Den for another double header weekend on the 19th and 20th of November, when the Dragons take on newly promoted Team Solent Kestrels on the Saturday evening (6:15pm) followed by a National Cup quarter final fixture against Team Northumbria the following day (4:15pm).

Dragons’ under 18s travelled to Durham Wildcats on Saturday, taking a heavy defeat, 82-46. On Sunday, the under 16’s also lost at neighbouring Leeds Force, 104-85, whilst the under 14’s beat Stockport Falcons II, 45-41, at Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College.

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Bradford based MJK Sports are proud to bring you an audience with boxing great SUGAR RAY LEONARD at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre, Bradford on November 28.

Regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Sugar Ray competed from 1977 to 1997, winning world titles in five weight divisions, the lineal championship in three weight divisions; as well as the undisputed welterweight title.

image1Along with Roberto Duran, Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns, and ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler, Leonard was part of “The Fabulous Four”, a group of elite fighters who all boxed each other during one of the sport’s greatest eras.

At this unique sporting event in Bradford, you will hear all about the rivalries from SUGAR RAY, the man who was at the forefront of it all.

On the night you will see highlights from all of the legendary fights on our giant screens and hear from the man himself about what it was like starting at the Montreal Olympics right the way through to the golden era of boxing.

VIP guests are guaranteed to meet the man himself and have a picture with the boxer, who is arguably second only to Muhammad Ali on the list of history’s greatest pugilists.

Tickets are available from just £20 per person

Avoid online booking fees by calling 07414 960 956

 

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Bradford Dragons travelled to Newcastle’s Sport Central for the second of their three National Trophy pool games. This weekend’s opponents, Team Northumbria, took the spoils with a convincing 80-66 victory in front of their home crowd, leaving Bradford with little other than Yorkshire pride to play for in their final Trophy game, next weekend.

sdfBradford just held the edge at the end of the first quarter, leading by a single basket, 17-19, but it didn’t take long before the home side took control of the game. Only five minutes into the second period and they had turned the scores around to lead by five, 30-25, a lead which they extended to twelve points (45-33) by the time the two sides went back to their locker rooms for the half time interval. For the second successive weekend Bradford faced an uphill struggle in the second half of the game.

Struggle they did and despite marginally reducing the deficit to nine points (57-46) at the mid-point of the third quarter, it was the hosts who extended their lead, ending the penultimate period of the game in the ascendancy, with the scores at 65-51.

It was game over for the Dragons as the final quarter followed a similar pattern to the previous two. At the final buzzer, Team Northumbria took the plaudits, whilst any hope of Bradford reaching the semi-final stage of the National Trophy was put on ice for another year.

Once again, it was Bradford’s two American imports that topped the scoring for the Dragons. Marcus Gooding bagged 19 points to finish as the games top scorer, closely followed by Ricky Fetske, who added 18 points of his own. Fetske just missed out on a double-double, collecting a total of nine rebounds.

For Team Northumbia, Blayne Freckleton put down 17 points and Siman Stewart contributed a further 13 points.

Reflecting on the defeat, Dragons’ head coach, Chris Mellor mused, “We rebounded the ball very poorly and our lack of ball movement offensively contributed to too many low percentage opportunities. Their defence was good and overall they played with more intensity than we did.”

Bradford now face a final Trophy fixture against rivals from across the Pennines, Lancashire Spinners. Like the Dragons, Spinners have also gone 0/2 in their opening pool games and therefore both teams will be playing to avoid finishing at the foot of their group. The game takes place on Saturday, 1st October, at the Dragons Den (6:15pm). Discounted tickets for the game are available online via the Dragon’s website (www.bradforddragons.co.uk).

Team Northumbria will now travel to Manchester Magic to determine which of the two will make it through to the semi-final stage of the competition.

Bradford Dragons Under 16’s started their league campaign with an 81-57 victory against Sheffield Junior Sharks II, at Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College on Sunday Morning. Joe Barrett impressed for Bradford, top scoring with 23 points.

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Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Leeds tonight to welcome home in style their amazing Yorkshire Olympic and Paralympic Rio Heroes.

800_homecomingSet in a sea of colour, music and entertainment, Yorkshire’s athletes received a reception never to be forgotten as they toured the city centre on open top buses with coaches, supporters and family members. Accompanying the buses included a DJ and dancers from the West Indian Carnival, the Band of the King’s Division, West Yorkshire Police Band and the Handmade Samba Band, which helped ensure that the parade had a real Rio flavour.

Present at the parade included:

•Triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee who earned gold and silver medals respectively.

•World, European and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft MBE who won three golds in Rio.

•Diver and gold medallist, Jack Laugher.

•Paralympic Cycling Pilot double gold medallist, Adam Duggleby.

•Paralympic swimmer, Jonathan Booth.

•Bronze medal gymnast, Nile Wilson.

•Rowing silver medallist, Zoe Lee.

•Vicky Holland who won bronze in the triathlon.

•Rowers Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom Ransley and Paul Bennett who all claimed gold.

•Double Paralympic gold medallist, Kadeena Cox

•Paralympic gold and silver medal cyclist David Stone MBE

Organised in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire, the main event sponsor of the parade was Clipper Logistics with partner support from Slingsby Gin, Radio Aire, Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Tea and Vale of Mowbray.

Afterwards, all of the athletes received an invite to a special civic reception held at Leeds Civic Hall.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake, said:

“We have been extremely fortunate to host some truly memorable occasions in Leeds, but to see so many people of all ages line the streets of the city centre to welcome home our Yorkshire Olympic and Paralympic Heroes tonight took the breath away!

“It really was fantastic to see the county’s athletes get the recognition they so fully deserve for their phenomenal success in Rio. I would like to thank all of them for finding the time in their extremely demanding and hectic schedules to attend the parade and of course the Yorkshire public, who once again proved why their support is amongst the very best in the world.”

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Sir Gary Verity, said:

“Wow what a welcome for our Yorkshire Rio Heroes. Tens of thousands of people lined the route around the city centre to cheer on our athletes and it really has been an event to go down in history. Yorkshire you really know how to party.”

Double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee, said:

“We can’t believe how many people are here! It’s great being in our home city and we’re very proud to be from Leeds and Yorkshire. What a welcome home!”

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Gerry Harper, said:

“To be given the chance as a city to host the Yorkshire Rio Heroes parade was an extremely proud moment for us, and it was amazing to see so many people from the county and beyond cheering the outstanding achievements of all our local Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”

 

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by James Oddy
by James Oddy

Boxing’s new meme is ‘dare to be great’. Bernard Hopkins, one of the game’s most eloquent and occasionally bizarre figures, popularised the term during the run up to Amir Khan’s fight against ‘Canelo’ Alverez. Canelo, of course, is a middleweight, and Khan is a welter, two weight classes lower. It seemed an absurd fight to make, with a forgone conclusion, which proved spot on – Khan, would outbox the bigger man until he ate a huge shot, and he’d be done.

But it was made because two fights, which make much more sense, couldn’t be made – Canelo fighting fellow middleweight Gennadey ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Khan fighting fellow Brit welterweight Kell Brook. Why they couldn’t be made, well, that depends on whom you talk to.

Off the back of Khan vs Canelo, we now have the equivalent fight. Golovkin taking on Brook at the 02 arena. It makes just as much sense as Amir Khan’s futile challenge.

Brook has loudly stated since the fight was announced that he is a ‘beast’ at 160 (the middleweight limit), and that he actually wants to feel the power of Golovkin. Golovkin, for those who don’t know, is a knockout artist who has brutalised the rest of the division, and had the biggest names running scared.

It’s audacious and brave of Brook, just like it was of Khan. And I can only see one outcome.

GGGI could almost make a case for Khan gaining a victory – he has blistering speed and he has been in with some huge names, even if it’s often in losing efforts. With Brook, I find it even harder to see how he can win. He is undefeated, but aside from his razor thin world title win over Shawn Porter, his resume is rather lacking. Brook is athletic, seems to possess a reasonable chin (Carson Jones can hit) and is technically superb. But so is Golovkin, and the Kazakh monster is bigger and has the greatest KO streak in middleweight history.

Golovkin also seems to possess an iron chin, brushing off shots from opponents who he has little respect for. Yet he can box when needed. When in a unification against heavy-handed David Lemuix, Golovkin worked behind a beautiful jab, breaking his opponent down with movement and pure boxing.

Can Brook out box Golovkin? Possibly. Can Brook take Golovkin’s power for 12 rounds? I doubt it. I think Brook will make Golovkin work and give him some problems in the early going. But as the fight progresses, I just don’t see how ‘GGG’ wont back Brook into the ropes or corner and unleash shots to the body and head, walking into whatever Brook tries to counter with.

Hopefully, following the conclusion of this fight, we can get the match ups which make the most sense. A middleweight showdown and a welterweight showndown. Khan vs Brook is still huge domestically. Canelo vs Golovkin is huge internationally.

It’s going to be a wild few months, that’s for sure.

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Bradford is one of only nine cities across the country being launched as an official Team GB FanZone.

And Bradford schoolchildren are celebrating the fact that they can share in the experience of watching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games live on the Big Screen.

The children from Clayton Village Primary School are waving their Brazilian flags in support of the host country after taking part in a project on Rio at their school.

Bradford Council is also working with sport national governing bodies, Team GB and local sporting groups to bring sporting activities to City Park so people can try out sports that Team GB will be competing in.

There will be two full size table tennis tables throughout the whole period of the Olympics 5 – 21 August. Bats and balls will be supplied to anyone interested in taking part, with members of local clubs offering encouragement and tips.

Volleyball England are setting up a “come and try” court and a “Go Spike” cage on certain days for people to have a go at this popular sport in a 8 metre x 8 metre cage that will keep the ball within a certain perimter.

A “Go spike” campaign was launched five years ago to get more adults playing volleyball.

Live action and highlights of the Olympics Games will be shown from midday until early evening. The UK is four hours behind Brazil so people will have to check out the schedule carefully if there are certain events they want to see.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “We’re proud to be chosen as one of nine cities as an Official Team GB FanZone.

“It will be great for local people to come down to City Park and share in any Team GB successes.

“I would also like to encourage people to ‘have a go’ at the sporting activities we are bringing along with Team GB to feel a part of the action.”

Vicky Drake from Clayton Village Primary School said: “The children have been talking about the Olympics in relation to their own sports day and they are so excited about coming down to City Park and showing their enthusiasm and support for the world’s greatest sporting spectacle.”

Former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle said: “Team GB fans are so passionate and it was fantastic in 2012 to get everyone together at locations across the country.

“There is something very special about everyone coming together to support Team GB. I’d encourage fans around the UK to visit a FanZone during the Olympic Games and show the athletes in Rio that they are behind them.

“It is great to see Bradford backing Team GB ahead of another exciting Olympic Games and they’d love as many fans as possible to visit.”

 

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by James Oddy
by James Oddy

A lot has rightly been written about Muhammad Ali as a cultural icon. He was certainly that, as it is part of his greatness. However, his legacy was first built on his sparkling ring career. It’s in my humble opinion that he is the greatest heavyweight of all time, and a top five pound for pound fighter in the history of the sport.

Even if he had taken on largely poor opposition, his physical attributes alone put him up there, at least in his prime. He grew up idolizing the greatest pound for pounder of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson. Ali danced and boxed with all of Ray’s elegance, but Ray was a welterweight and middleweight. To be able to replicate that at heavyweight was something else. The speed of foot and fist was unlike anything seen previously at heavyweight. His punching power wasn’t exactly bad, either.

825fea7ac6c6e52c3cb15cf19897e44cThe 1960’s Ali (formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr), coming off the back of winning an Olympic gold medal, beat some sterling names. Sonny Liston was the Mike Tyson of his day and Ali beat him twice, with relative ease, even though there were some doubts about Liston’s legitimacy. Add to that, a comprehensive win over Floyd Patterson, almost a proto type version of Ali. Furthermore, he defeated durable and skilled opponents such as Ernie Terrell, Henry Cooper, George Chuvalo and Archie Moore. But the best was yet to come.

What really solidifies his greatness is the 1970’s incarnation. He was no longer the fleet footed young champ. He was the slower challenger. In his years out, a young, exciting new breed of America heavyweights had arrived on the scene. Despite his primary physical advantage having left him, Ali managed to chop down George Foreman in arguably the most famous fight of all time. Foreman was a buzz saw who had decimated the division, yet Ali out thought and out fought ‘Big George’. He then defeated arch rival Joe Frazier in perhaps the most brutal fight of all time in Manila. Add in wins over Ernie Shavers, considered by many to be the hardest hitter ever in boxing, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, Jimmy Young and Jimmy Ellis, and it is frightening how good he was. The fact he avenged all his defats in his prime, to Spinks, Frazier and Norton, also speaks volumes.

Ali_vs_Norton_1973_a_hThe unfortunate epitaph is the beatings he took in the 1980’s. Larry Holmes isn’t the best know heavyweight champ, but skills wise, he is up there with the best. He and Trevor Berbick, no slouch himself, physically outclassed the shell of Ali in fights which were a travesty.

The world has seen some great heavyweight champs. Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson. Yet, purely based on athletic achievements, I’d still put Ali at the top. Add in his significant cultural achievements spoken about in the rest of this issue, he truly was ‘The Greatest’.

 

England cricketers Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid owe part of their success to early Asian migrants who played in local parks and set up teams and leagues over four decades ago. Now, a new project, ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to document the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire.

Press Image - From Parks to Pavilions - Courtesy of John Bolloten
From Parks to Pavilions – Image courtesy of John Bolloten

The AYA Foundation, a community organisation specialising in promoting minority heritage, arts and culture, has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with young people from across West Yorkshire to record interviews and collect memorabilia from the founders of one of the oldest Asian led cricket leagues in Britain, the Bradford based Quaid-e Azam Sunday Cricket League.

Mobeen Butt, Projects Director at the AYA Foundation said: “The Quaid-e Azam League has been running for nearly four decades. Players from these Asian cricket leagues are now being scouted by county cricket clubs and have even gone on to play for England. I believe the way Black and mixed-race players and audiences have changed the face of football, Asian players and supporters could go on to change the face of cricket – and when this happens the material that a project like this collects will be vital to help tell a wider story of cricket in Britain.”

Thanks to National Lottery players the project will work with over twenty young people and include trips to museums and archives, as well as, visits to Headingley and Lords. The project will produce a documentary and exhibit at this summer’s England versus Pakistan one day international at Headingley.

Mr Butt added: “It’s very important that minority ethnic communities start writing their own history. Recording first-hand the voices of the pioneers and collecting primary source material is invaluable. We have already started losing some of our ‘founding-fathers’, those that arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. It is imperative that we empower the second, third and now fourth generations by giving them the resources and skills necessary to capture their own histories; before they are lost forever.

He went on the say: “This project is important on so many levels and without the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund a project like this wouldn’t be possible. Young people will be taught how to conduct oral history interviews; how archives and museums work; how to produce documentaries;  how to develop exhibitions; how to conserve fragile objects; and hopefully one day in the not too distance future they will start to develop their own heritage projects.”

Nasser Hanif, a BBC Radio journalist and Project Manager of the From Parks to Pavilions project, commented: “This project has been developed to coincide with this summer’s Pakistan tour of England. Older members of the Quaid-e Azam League say that it was when Pakistan toured England in the 70s that their passion for cricket was ignited and they would grab a bat and ball and start playing in the streets, alley ways and parks.

“Asian men came to England to work in the 60s and 70s. They worked unsociable hours, did the night shifts and many worked six days a week. The only day they had off was Sundays, and as cricket was traditionally played during the week and Saturdays, the Asian cricketers didn’t get a chance to play with the established teams. Asian cricketers ended up playing in the streets, in carparks and play grounds. They started their own teams and competitions, and eventually their own Sunday leagues. The investment the Asian cricketing pioneers put in nearly four decades ago is now reaping rewards as theirs sons, nephews and grandchildren are now starting to break into the highest levels of English cricket.”

Mark Arthur, Chief Executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, noted: “Yorkshire Cricket has a rich history and heritage and Asian cricket plays a major part in this. The Quaid-e Azam League is a very strong and well respected league, not just in Yorkshire, but nationally. This project will be fantastic in documenting how the clubs and league have developed over the years as well as providing many people with fond memories.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “It’s important to record the rich history of our South Asian communities participating in one of our great national sports. Cricket is still close to the hearts of local people and is a significant factor in community cohesion. We’re pleased to see the Heritage Lottery Fund get behind this as we have an enormous passion for sport across the Yorkshire region and it is a great unifier.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “South Asian communities have contributed to cricket across the UK for many years, and we are delighted to fund this fascinating project looking back at the grassroots origins of so many successful players. We are particularly pleased to see young people getting the opportunity to explore an area of their community’s heritage with particular relevance to them”.

Mr Hanif adds: ‘We are looking for enthusiastic and energetic young people, 14 to 24 year olds, from across West Yorkshire to help with the project. So please do come forward if you are a young person or know a young person that would benefit from taking part.’

Anyone interested in finding out more should email info@asianyouthalliance.co.uk or phone 07764 335 879.

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Following the announcement on Sunday that Bradford City Football Club has been sold, the new owners Stefan Rupp and Edin Rahic are now in full control of the club marking a new chapter in its history.

The joint owners have been friends and business associates for a number of years and see their investment as a long term commitment to the club.

Edin (Chairman/Chief Executive) will move to the UK with his family and base himself permanently at the Coral Windows Stadium working alongside Chief Operating Officer James Mason to maintain the continuity of relationship between the board of directors, the fans and players.

Stefan is expected to stay in Germany in the immediate future but will make regular visits to the UK and be fully involved in club affairs.

Speaking yesterday, Edin explained the reasons behind the investment, ‘Both myself and Stefan have a background in business and sport, and after looking at a number of clubs in England, Bradford City had the potential and fan base that interested us most. We do not have plans to make big changes but to work with the existing structure. We have seen the way the club and fans interact and the model of affordable football is very important to us. I met with Phil (Parkinson) this morning and we had a very encouraging discussion about the future.’

‘We understand there is a lot to do over the summer and we must manage expectations of the fans in the short term. We agreed the season ticket prices before we took over because we fully support the idea of cheaper ticketing and having witnessed games here at the stadium we know how passionate the fans are. We are looking forward to working with everyone associated with the club and respect its traditions.’

James Mason added, ‘This is a new era in the history of Bradford City Football Club. Both my team and I will be giving our new owners all the support the club needs to succeed. I’m sure the fans will do the same. It’s a testimony to how we have developed over recent years under the stewardship of both Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn that the club is an attractive business proposition.’

‘Our aim is to continue to grow the fan base and develop the club commercially to support Phil and the players. We know we have built a unique bond with the club and its supporters at the heart of the community. We are a very special club with undeniable potential.’

It was agreed that the announcement of the club’s sale would be postponed until after the play offs concluded so as not to be a distraction at a crucial time of the season. Attention now focuses on preparing the playing squad for next season and on selling season tickets (which are now on sale at £149.00).

The club’s new kit will also be launched later this week.

Source: Bradford City AFC

 

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