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The voice of Bantam Progressivism.

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What is The City Gent Magazine?

In re-writing this opening page I must now look back almost 30 years to the early part of the 1984/85 season when The City Gent was amongst a handful of football fanzines that appeared on the terraces of mainly lower league club grounds. The City Gent was very much a part of the revival spirit at Bradford City that could be traced to the dark days of the summer of 1983 when the club went into receivership and supporters raised money to help save the football club.  John Dewhirst’s phrase 'Bantam Progressivism' just about summed it the feeling about how the fans felt about the club once liquidation was averted. Through necessity a young team (with a few experienced ‘old heads’) emerged. Players such as Stuart McCall, John Hendrie, Peter Jackson and Greg Abbott to mention just four up gave Bradford City fans hope for the future and the 1984/85 division three championship winning season was a truly remarkable one. But it also was a season of triumph and tragedy following the events on Saturday May 11th 1985 at Valley Parade when fire engulfed the Main Stand and 56 football fans from both Bradford and Lincoln lost their lives.

The very early issues of The City Gent containing 16 pages of the best drivel available for the princely sum of 20 pence soon grew into 100 pages for 100 pence and before long The City Gent was gaining a nationwide following and won national fanzine awards. The City Gent was at the cutting edge, if that’s what you could call it, of the fanzine movement being one of the very first half dozen or so titles that were furtively sold on the terraces of football league clubs up and down the land. Those other early titles such as Terrace Talk (York City) Leyton Orienteer (Leyton Orient) The Oatcake (Stoke City) have long since ceased publication, but The City Gent soldiers on, by popular will of those on the Kop, the Main Stand, the Midland Road, the Bradford End and the many exiled Bradford City fans around the UK and the rest of the world. The City Gent can rightfully lay claim to be the longest running football fanzine in the country.

In the early days The City Gent provided news and comment about City at a time when there were few other options. The original significance of The City Gent was the spirit of positive thinking about how the club could be rebuilt in the mid to late eighties. Without a doubt Bradford City - and indeed Bradford - needs a repeat of that sort of thinking now. Current editor Mike Harrison fervently hopes that the original spirit of The City Gent lives on in the current issues which appear 7 to 8 times a season. He hopes that there still is a balance of hard hitting comment, irreverent drivel, nostalgia and humour within The City Gent. Content is purely driven by what is sent in for publication. If a Bradford City fan has something to say, then The City Gent is a place where Bradford City fans know it’ll be published. 

Dave Robinson cartoon which celebrated The City Gent's 25th birthday issue in 2009

Back issues of The City Gent offer a unique insight into the life of a club that has been eventful to say the least; especially it would seem in the past 27 years. Sixteen managers have come and gone within the lifetime of The City Gent and we’ve seen the Bantams rise to the dizzy heights of The Premier League and the adventure of playing in Europe in the Inter Toto cup, followed by the tumbling down the leagues into league two where the club currently resides.

The City Gent originally represented an imaginative response by Bradford City supporters to help rebuild their club and sense of community in the mid 1980s. Now 27 years on, the mass media world of the internet and instantly available news have undoubtedly been the death knell of many a publication. But the fact remains that for many fans of Bradford City The City Gent is still a must buy purchase when attending a game at Valley Parade. Its longevity is testament not only of the various editors and contributors who have served the fanzine so well down the years, but also the Bradford City fans that look forward to each and every new issue going out on sale.

All that can be said is long may The City Gent continue and Long Live Bantam Progressivism!!!!

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