It is an unusual link-up to say the least.

But Bantams fans have found a new band of fanatical supporters in the Eastern European republic of the Ukraine.

The fans of the Ukrainian second division outfit of Zirka Kirovograd have taken the city to their hearts - and are willing them to survive in the Premiership.

Zirka (meaning Star) has a small but passionate fan base who, surprisingly, adopted City as their English side, perhaps because of the city's large Ukrainian population.

One of Zirka's fans, Alex Ivashura, even writes long distance articles for the City Gent fanzine.

Alex has never been to Bradford, and the Bantams have never yet played at Zirka, but this has not dulled his passion for the Claret and Amber.

But their passion could be a costly affair. A City shirt would cost a Zirka fan two weeks' wages.

Admission to Zirka's games costs only 8p - comapred to an average City ticket price of £23.

The pre-match bite to eat is a little different at Zirka compared to City - the Ukrainian fans tend to snack on pancakes stuffed with mashed potato and cabbage, costing them the equivalent of 3p.

But they still opt for beer, although a bottle of the local brew costs just 12p.

Replica shirts are unheard of, but Zirka fans produce a fanzine/programme which costs only 5p.

City Gent editor David Pendleton, pictured fourth from right with members of Bradford's Ukranian Club in Legrams Lane, said: "We see a great potential for the sale of Ukrainian goods at VP. We urge Geoffrey Richmond to stock Ukrainian beer at 12p a bottle. I'm certain it would be hugely popular."

More seriously, the City fans hope to help by making links with their opposite numbers in Kirovograd.

At the annual City Gent end- of-season party, at the Goldsborough public house on Sunday May 27, they will ask City supporters to bring replica shirts to donate to Kirovograd, which is in central Ukraine and has a population of 260,000.

The football club was formed by Englishmen working at the Agricultural Machinery Works in the 1920s. Now, the club's average attendance is around 3,500, which is good for the second division.

Mr Ivashura wrote: "Now, that the Ukrainian Championship is enjoying a winter break I can abstract myself from the heat of local battles, and switch on to full winter-time supporting the Bantams. Back in November I had a unique opportunity to see City v Leeds on TV.

"I saw passionate City supporters, though a little bit chilled by heavy rain, and glimpses of Valley Parade with my own eyes for the first time.

"I savoured the high-quality performance where City fought like lions and had an edge for the most part of the game, Leeds having a close shave.

"The game made me sure that the Premiership is the place that City belong. "

Today Zen Lastowiescki, of the Ukranian Club in Legrams Lane in Bradford, said: "The Ukranian community in Bradford is one of the biggest in the UK. A lot of people came here because of the jobs in textiles. We are keen on football and have a team in the Bradford Sunday Alliance."