Valley Parade, known as the Utilita Energy Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is an all-seater football stadium in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Built in 1886, it was the home of Manningham Rugby Football Club until 1903, when they changed code from rugby football to association football and became Bradford City.
It has been Bradford City's home since, although it is now owned by former chairman Gordon Gibb's pension fund. It has also been home to Bradford (Park Avenue) for one season, and Bradford Bulls rugby league side for two seasons, as well as host to a number of England youth team fixtures.
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. 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.
The Northern Commercials Stadium is technically a five-sided ground with a ‘Bowl Style’ feel to some of it, despite the fact that it is built in very much an ‘English Style’. This is because the corner stand gives the impression that two of the stands are joined together. Here’s a brief bit of information about each of the four main stands:
The West Stand Main Stand - This stand has two tiers that are separated by a row of executive boxes. Randomly the tiers only run alongside two thirds of the pitch, making the corner look a bit weird.
The South Stand - Housing the away supporters, this stand is the oldest part of the stadium. It has two tiers, with the upper tier supporting by standing beams that restrict views from some seats.
The Midland Road East Stand - Named because of the road that runs alongside it, this stand stretches the length of the pitch and is single-tiered.
The Kop North Stand - Unlike most Kop Grandstands that tend to be a single bank of seating, Bradford’s Kop is two-tiered and is linked to The Main Stand by the North-West Corner Stand.
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.
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.
There is no parking at the stadium itself and on-street parking is also extremely limited. Your best bet might well be to park in the centre of Bradford at one of the public car parks and then walk to the stadium from there.
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