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‘.
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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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