Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
New stand is grrrr-eat addition to Bradford Park Avenue furniture
Bradford Park Avenue’s most memorable supporter has been immortalised after the Bradford club renamed the main stand at their Horsfall Stadium home 'The Ronnie Bottomley Memorial Stand'.
The board of directors had planned the tribute as part of their summer upgrade of the ground and facilities as they look forward to the coming season in the Blue Square Bet North Division, following promotion through the play-offs last term.
Finance director Kevin Hainsworth made the announcement today. He said: “Ronnie was a legend throughout non-league football, with his numerous catch phrases being imitated by Avenue and opposing fans alike.
“Folklore has it that when he was a young supporter the opponents’ keeper mis-kicked a goal kick after Ronnie shouted his famous “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”
The fact that it did not happen again would have put lesser fans off - but not Ronnie. His Grrrrrrrrr’s continued until his last game.
“Ref, you’re a penguin. Come on Avenoooooo, stick it in the onion bag and - perhaps his most famous shout - mark ‘em tighter, him, him, him in the red' were all belted out at maximum volume throughout the game, whatever the score.
“He attended every game home or away and never had to buy a drink as everyone was always willing to buy him a half at the bar. It is a great shame he missed the team’s promotion as he would have been very proud.”
The club’s chief executive officer Bob Blackburn added: “I remember when I first came to the club, Ronnie’s phrases totally fascinated me.
"With his dedication and enthusiasm for all that was Bradford Park Avenue, deep down it was people like Ronnie that enticed me to get involved.
“Real people that wanted Bradford Park Avenue to live again, and live again it certainly is.
"Starting the new season in the Football Conference League, it’s just a real shame that Ronnie is no longer with here to set the scene and give the match officials a rendition of his famous quotations.”
When Blackburn took over the club from outgoing owner Frank Thornton, the club was in UniBond Division One and in danger of tumbling even further.
Needing to get to away games was a problem, so Blackburn purchased two mini-buses and had them painted in the traditional club colours of green and white.
The club’s name was emblazoned down both sides of both vehicles but Blackburn still wanted to add another touch. He had Ronnie’s well known and often heard sound bites sign written over both busses.