DURING the second half of the 19th century Bradford established a proud reputation as a leading centre of sport and was known for the enthusiasm and prowess of its sports clubs. 
Bradford City and Bradford (Park Avenue) football clubs need no introduction, but over the years there have been a number of amateur football teams that have strived to better themselves.
In his talk The Origins of Soccer in Bradford, sports historian Rob Grillo will explore the remarkable story of the city’s sporting history. He will look at the early teams and league and cup competitions in the city, as well as early pioneers of the sport. 
The talk takes place at Bradford Local Studies Library on Saturday, June 8 and an exhibition accompanying the event will remain in the city centre venue until the end of June.
Rob is the author of several sporting histories. His new book, Late to the Game, covers the early years of association football in Bradford. 
"Late To The Game covers the introduction to and early years of the round ball game in Bradford as it took over from rugby as the number one winter sport," says Rob. "The book is the sixth in a series of volumes published by John Dewhirst's Bantamspast series. I'd planned to work on an entirely different, non-sport related book last year, but John has been gently persuading me to write for Bantamspast over the past couple of years. It's quite an honour to be asked because the series consists of some of the best, most detailed sporting histories ever written.
"The book - and talk - cover the early failed attempts to create a successful soccer team in Bradford in the late 1800s and how, with a bit more luck on occasions, Bradford's footballing history could have been very different. For instance, the current Bradford City AFC, founded in 1903, was almost formed 12 months earlier based around one of the district's leading clubs, Girlington FC."
Adds Rob: "There's a section on the women's game, and the reporting of early exhibition games before the FA banned women from playing on FA grounds in 1921. I also cover the successful Bradford Schoolboys team that were English champions in 1916 as well as some of the prominent players and the men who made it all happen in the years up to World War Two. 
"I've tried to include brief details of every team that existed and around the city, including Bingley and Shipley."
There will be chance for the audience to ask questions after the talk.
The event will be introduced by John Dewhirst, well known in the district for his interest in the history of Bradford sport, in particular football and Bradford City. He was co-founder of the City Gent fanzine and has written several books in the BantamsPast series.
Northern mill owners had a significant role to play in the founding of the Football League - a subject explored in new Netflix drama The English Game by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, which was filmed recently in Saltaire and Little Germany.

The six-part series will explore how football spanned the class divide when the ‘Beautiful Game’ was transformed from a hobby to a global sport.

The dramatic adaptation of a true story, set in 1879, centres on a young Glaswegian football player who moves to Darwen in order to play for the local team, amidst challenging industrial unrest.

The English Game, due to launch on Netflix in 2020, stars Kingsman actor Edward Holcroft, Game of Thrones actress Charlotte Hope and Kevin Guthrie who was in the movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Salts Mill provided the backdrop to scenes shot in the World Heritage Site last month. Shop fronts in the village were dressed up to resemble Victorian inns and shops, with joints of meat and fresh bread placed in some windows, and actors and extras were dressed as mill workers.

* The Origins of Soccer in Bradford is at Bradford Local Studies Library on Saturday, June 8 from 10.30am to 12noon.

For more details contact Bradford Local Studies Library on (01274) 433688 or email local.studies@bradford.gov.uk