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Feature

Played For Both: Bradford City

24 October 2019

Almost eight years to the day since Bradford City last visited the Moss Rose to contest an EFL fixture, we welcome The Bantams back to Macclesfield Town this Saturday.

Ahead of the game, we take a look back at the players who have turned out for both sides -

 

Paul Bolland

Paul was born in Bradford and joined the youth team of his hometown club in 1994, aged 15. He was promoted to the first team at Valley Parade in 1997, remaining there for two years but making only twelve appearances. As Bradford secured promotion to the Premier League, Paul was released and left to look for pastures new.

The midfielder joined Notts County where he had initially been on loan, and it was in Nottingham that he remained for the next six years. Surprisingly, he was released in 2005 after over one-hundred and sixty appearances for The Magpies and joined Grimsby Town where he initially found success for The Mariners. However, after spending the 2008/09 season out injured, he was released by Grimsby and moved west to join Macc.

Although injury was still a factor, Paul made a valuable contribution in his first season. However he was released in the summer of 2010 and was forced to search for another opportunity, until Macc re-signed him on another one year contract.

During that season Paul was voted the Players’ Player of the Year.

Leaving the Moss in 2011, Paul joined Mansfield and then went out on loan to Harrogate. More recently, he was appointed Head of Football at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate near York.


Gareth Evans

Macc lad Gareth spent most of his youth career at Crewe Alexandra under Dario Gradi, although he played with Manchester United from the age of 8 to 15. Even though he was picked out as a future star by Sir Alex Ferguson himself, Gareth returned to Crewe and was rewarded with a first team contract in 2006.

Things didn’t work out at Crewe however, and Gareth spent much time out on loan with no first team appearances for The Railwaymen. He spent pre-season ahead of the 2007/08 season with Port Vale, but after a lack of money denied him a contract, Gareth joined hometown club Macclesfield.

Starting out from the bench, he soon impressed manager Ian Brightwell and became a regular member of the first team, aged just 20.

After finishing the 2008/09 season as top-scorer, Gareth caught the eye of Bradford City and made the move in the summer for a rumoured £30,000. Two years at Bradford saw seventy-nine appearances and fourteen goals, before a move to local rivals Rotherham beckoned.

Gareth spent two years at Rotherham and another two at Fleetwood Town.

He signed for Portsmouth in 2015, where he is still a regular feature in the first team and is also club captain.


Richard O’Donnell

Born in Sheffield, Richard chose to start his footballing career with Sheffield Wednesday. Progressing through the youth team to sign his first professional contract in 2008, he spent six years at Hillsborough, albeit most of it out on loan.

It was during one of these loan periods that Richard made his way to Macclesfield, as he was brought in for a month to cover for Jose Veiga and Steve Collis - who were both out injured.

He made eleven appearances for The Silkmen in early 2012, returning to Sheffield when Veiga made a full recovery.

Released by The Owls at the end of the 2011/12 season, he joined Chesterfield but struggled to maintain a first team place. The next few years saw Richard move around looking for opportunities. He spent time with Stockport County on loan before joining Walsall, Wigan Athletic, Bristol Rovers, Rotherham and Northampton Town.

Released by Northampton in 2018, he joined Bradford City in June. Having gained the number one shirt at Valley Parade, Richard is currently first choice keeper for The Bantams.


Isaiah Rankin

Striker Isaiah started out with Arsenal, although he made only one appearance for The Gunners before going out on loan to Colchester in 1997, aged 19.

Released by Arsene Wenger, Isaiah signed for Bradford City in 1998 for £1.3million and helped the Yorkshire side to promotion to the Premier League in his first season. Chances were scarce in the top flight however, and loan periods at Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers followed before a permanent move to Barnsley in 2004.

Isaiah spent three seasons at Barnsley, before losing his place in the team and was made available for transfer. He joined Grimsby Town on loan as part of a deal for Michael Boulding.

Scoring two goals in his first six games, Isaiah initially impressed. However, during a match against his parent club he upset Barnsley manager Gudjon Thordarson by celebrating his goal. Isaiah was released immediately and joined Grimsby permanently.

The Mariners were relegated in 2004 and Isaiah decided to look for another opportunity in League One, joining Brentford for two seasons. In 2006 he returned to Grimsby but, despite much promise, failed to make a real impact and suffered some injury problems. A change in manager saw him relegated to the bench and then sent out on loan to Macclesfield in March 2007.

Isaiah made only four appearances for The Silkmen and unfortunately failed to score.

Returning to Grimsby, he was then released in 2008 and dropped down the leagues, spending short periods with Crawley Town, Forest Green Rovers, Ashford and Hendon, where he finished his career.


Tibor Szabo

Born in Bradford to Hungarian parents, Tibor joined The Bantams as a youngster and made his first team debut in 1977. He spent two years at Valley Parade before signing for Macclesfield Town in 1979.

A skillful player with a natural eye for goal, Tibor's scoring record was impressive, averaging a goal every other game.

He amassed over fifty games for the Silkmen over a two-year period, scoring over twenty times before leaving to join Mossley in 1980.

After this he moved around a lot looking for more opportunities, including spells with Goole, Morecambe, Buxton, Harrogate, Liversedge and Eccleshill United amongst others.

Retiring from the playing side of football, Tibor moved in to coaching and experienced success at Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Leeds United, Halifax Town, back at Bradford, and also in the USA.

In 2000 he formed the Vision Coaching Academy in Bradford alongside Mark Brier.

Honourable mentions: Jon Bateson, Samuel Cheetham, Richard Edghill, Tom Gasgoine, Andy Haworth, Brian Horseman, Patrece Liburd, Harry Lovatt, Joe McGrae, Omar Mbowe, John Middleton, John Neilson, Jimmy Stevenson, George Stott, Bert Swindells, Michael Symes, Graeme Tomlinson, Mickey Walker, Spencer Weir-Daley, Bob Whittingham, Steve Williams.


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