Bradford City have enjoyed a remarkable upturn in fortunes during the last seven years and once again find themselves as part of a huge promotion push.
When ex-Bantams manager Phil Parkinson took over at Valley Parade, the now League One promotion contenders were languishing down in 17th place in League Two. Since Parkinson took charge at Valley Parade he helped to stabilize and improve the West-Yorkshire side guiding them to an 18th place finish in League Two in the 2011/12 season.
In his second season at Valley Parade, Parkinson led the club through what was described as a ‘history-making’ season. That season saw the Bantams gain promotion to League One through the Football League Play-Offs with a 3-0 victory over Northampton Town at Wembley. Somewhat more impressively though, they made a shock appearance in the League Cup final during the same season. This was after beating the then Premier League clubs Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa alongside current Premier League giants Arsenal on their road to Wembley. A feat which made their playoff promotion even more remarkable.
Since then, Bradford have consistently improved their league placing season upon season, finishing 11th in the clubs first season back in League One in the 2013/14 campaign.
The clubs 2014/15 season was an incredibly successful one and saw the West-Yorkshire side finish 7th in League One alongside enjoying one of the greatest shocks in the clubs history. This was during a trip to the FA Cup Quarter Finals after the Bantams famously dumped eventual Premier League champions Chelsea out of the cup in a shock 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge from being 2-0 down.
The following 2015/16 season somewhat incredibly brought Parkinson more success but the Bantams ultimately were to lose out to Millwall in a Play-Off Semi Final defeat after a strong 5th place finish in the league.
Parkinson left in the summer of 2016 to take the managerial job at Bolton Wanderers, following a change of ownership at Valley Parade that saw German businessmen Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp become the new owners of Bradford City. Despite a turbulent summer that initially left incoming manager (and club legend) Stuart McCall had a squad of just eight senior professionals at his disposal. Somehow though, McCall remarkably led the Bantams to another 5th place finish and subsequently, a late play-off final loss to Millwall at Wembley – one step further than Parkinson had managed the previous season.
This season, the Bantams appear once again to be a strong outfit in League One and have cemented their place as one of the toughest sides in the division – despite them loosing some of their key players over last summer. One of the clubs key losses Rory McArdle who was part of that ‘history making’ side in 2012/13. The Northern Irish international became a real fans favourite at Valley Parade and his transfer to the Bantams rivals Scunthorpe United raised a number of questions before this season started. There were a number of other key departures during last summer including last year’s Player of the Season Mark Marshall, who left for Charlton Athletic with ex-Bantams striker Billy Clarke.