Currently reading : City ’til I Die

City ’til I Die

18 March 2010

Author : adrian-wilson

Some recent work by photographer and Bradford City supporter Neil Bedford.
‘These were shot during 2009. The project was for the MA I was studying at the London College of Fashion and started with a portrait of my Uncle, who has the City Gent tattooed on his left arm. I found most sitters during the summer months at Valley Parade when their tattoos were visible. Others came from football forums and friends of friends‘.

Probably the most iconic image associated with Bradford City is the City Gent character introduced in 1966 at a time when English football clubs attempted to emulate the example of World Cup Willie and launched their own characters to present a more modern face to the sport. In the case of Bradford City, the City Gent was a cartoon of then chairman Stafford Heginbotham.
For the generation of supporters who followed the club between 1966 and 1974 the City Gent character had a great appeal and was THE choice of tattoo on the Valley Parade terraces for much of the seventies. There was a story that a certain tattooist on Manchester Road ‘did the best City Gent’ and certainly, as I recall from a fair number of dubious versions, not all tattooists could do justice to the original.
Since then it would appear that the club crest has assumed a comparable level of popularity, if not become the prime choice. Having never had a tattoo I won’t pretend to be an expert but my own choice would have been a City Gent on the forearm. In my view this would have been eminently preferable to resorting simply to B-C-F-C (although I recall a fair number of such examples on knuckles!).

John Dewhirst
Co-founder of The City Gent in 1984, former editor and author of club histories.

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