From Bradford's Foster Square Station it's a short walk up Mannigham Lane to Valley Parade and the giant stands of Bradford City's Bradford & Bingley Stadium. Past the SAKI BABA furniture store, SURMA SAREE Centre, KHAYYAMS Carpets, AL-Mu' MIN Bookstore-(Quran story puzzles and Islamic Designs), ALADIN SWEETS, SONALI BANK (we close for 1 hour on Fridays for Jumma Prayers), AL-FALAH Superstore. MIHAJ-UL-QRNN Islamic Cultural Centre and....wait for it... COCINA Mexican Restaurant.
Bradford is about 50% ethnic mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of the sub-continent, yet I didn't see one black or brown face in the crowd of 11,000 at the stadium. There were more coloured faces on the field -7 -as Leyton Orient (THE O's) demolished an inept Bantams defence 2-0 with two quick goals at the start of the second half in front of their 1,000 plus travelling supporters in the TL DALLAS STAND 'Your insurance needs in Falkirk, Shetland Islands and Pensacola, Florida!!!' The immigrants tend to not be too keen on sport, apart from cricket, and many who play soccer play in their own ethnic leagues. They also fly in 'eligible, but poorly educated family selected brides for many of the young men. On the Leeds Road out of town most of the Pubs are closed and boarded up, with lots of shops selling beautiful sarees and many Islamic, Sikh and similar restaurants, supermarkets and cultural centres. Down town is a superb National Media Library-of film, television, radio, photography,and a statue of local wrter J.B. Priestley, and a giant hole in the ground where a regenerated city business centre will flourish.
Many, many years ago I had arrived at the same station and marched with fellow students to the MECCA Dance Palace on Manningham Road, now the Town & Country Club, to protest about racism and the denial of entry to locals from the sub-continent. Now the Lord Mayor of Bradford is a Kashmiri from Mirpur, and Bradfords City F.C. are at the centre of a KICK OUT RACISM Campaign. It was at the old Valley Parade in May 1985 that 56 fans were burned to death as the century old wooden main stand The Sopworth Camel-was consummed by flames at a season end promotion celebrating league match, and Manningham Lane was full of ambulances taking survivors to Bradford Royal Infirmary.
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM !!. That was the famous cry from the NASA Space Center in Clear Lake, outside Houston, TX during the Apollo near tragedy, made into an award winning movie. Two problems in fact a few days ago as a disgruntled engineer killed a fellow worker and himself with a gun. Of course Texas is not as violent as you may think. Of the last two US Presidents to die in the Great State of Texas, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson- only 50% of them died violently!!!
Back in London THE GOONERS- Arsenal F C also have a problem, with Vice-Chairman David Dein resigning, or more probably being 'pushed' over his idea that American investment should be encouraged. With a magnificent new EMIRATES STADIUM,(named after a successful airline from a country, UAE that is 'democracy challenged', a foreign coach, Frenchman Arsene Wenger and a team that on may occasions has had no Englishmen on the pitch, it's ridiculous for many on the board to say that they should retain their 'Britishness'. Colorado billionaire Stan Kroenke, who owns baseball. ice hockey and the Colorado Rapids in the MLS now owns 12% of Arsenal shares is probably colluding with Dein for a takeover. "We don't want his sort" claimed blue blood Peter Hill-Wood the Arsenal Chairman. "He knows sweet FA about our football". Hill-Wood was educated at prestigious private school, Eton College and owns less than 1% of the club shares anyway. This weekend outside the Dick Sporting Goods Park where the Rapids play, there is a newly built soccer complex where 240 matches were played this weekend. Go do some research Pete baby!!
Sunderland finally lost a match, 3-1 at little Colchester United, but coach Roy Keane will probably get his team promoted. He has been going 'outside the box' to make training more interesting. He told the squad that they were going on a 3 hour mountain back trip minutes before showing them their bikes, and also took them on a white-water canoeing trip for team bonding and finding out who was a leader. Meawhile, congratulations to Portmouth goalkeeper, artist,writer and fashion model DAVID JAMES for his record breaking 142 shut outs in the top flight. Well done also to Chelsea and England's dynamo Joe Cole. On hearing that ageing former Blues winger Peter Brabrook was having financial difficulties and need a new artificial knee for $40,000, he picked up the tab.