GERMANS have a reputation for thoroughness and Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp carried out extensive due diligence before splashing out on City.

But however intensive their research, it still came as a pleasant surprise to find that they weren't the first from their country to head up the club.

Rahic only found out about William Pollack on his first full day at Valley Parade.

A broad smile broke out when he was also reminded that City's previous stint under German chairmanship had coincided with their one and only FA Cup win in 1911. "No pressure on me then!" he laughed.

The Pollack story is a fascinating chapter in the club's early history and is covered extensively in the latest books from the bantamspast series.

Until the arrival of Rahic and Rupp, many fans would have been unaware that a century ago there was similar talk of German money sustaining the club.

Thanks to research from keen fan Ian Hemmens, author John Dewhirst tells the tale of how German wool merchants became involved in financing City – an increasingly awkward situation as the 'Great War' unfolded in Europe.

Pollack was believed to have been born in Baden-Wurttemberg – the same area of Germany as both Rahic and Rupp – in 1865 before relocating in Bradford.

He became a naturalised British citizen 30 years later and then married the sister of Manningham FC committee member Antonio Fattorini from the city's famed jewellery and trophy-making company.

That was his introduction to football and the soon-to-be-formed Bradford City.

Germany's link with Bradford as a whole had been well established by that point.

Manningham was the home to wool merchants of German origin – the birth of the Little Germany district – and Dewhirst revealed how second and third generation immigrants would often play for local teams in the early history of rugby in the area, Bradford FC included.

Dewhirst said: "Men of German extraction were also influential in the launch of soccer at Valley Parade in 1903 and the financing and management of the club before World War One.

"German immigrants played a crucial role in the economic development of Bradford. They were cultured, economically active and assimilated into the wider community.

"They added considerably to the civic life of Bradford. So too, they played a part at Valley Parade – a number of key individuals were influential in safeguarding the future of Bradford City during the first decade of existence."

Pollack was initially club treasurer on the committee before becoming chairman. But three years after Jimmy Speirs had lifted the FA Cup following City's victory over Newcastle, the advent of war with Germany 'moved the goal posts'.

Many in the German community headed for home. Those who remained were ostracised and chose to be anonymous. Pollack, in his position of local prominence, was singled out for abuse.

There was a growing suggestion among the Bradford public that it was "unpatriotic" and almost an act of "treachery" for City to be dependent on funding derived from German roots.

Pollack not only had to cope with the stress of keeping the club solvent during the war but he also had to deal with being the victim of personal attacks because of his ancestry.

It affected him greatly and was believed to be a factor in his premature death in 1916, aged 51.

In his research for 'Room at the Top', Hemmens wrote: "Pollack was said to be a person of a nervous disposition. His death was attributed to worry over his German roots during World War One and the worry of being interned."

The rivalry with Bradford FC at Park Avenue at the time was likened to a blood feud by Dewhirst, who claimed it was a "fair bet" many of the jibes that City were being kept afloat by money "from the enemy" came from that grudge.

Pollack was buried at Scholemoor and left a will worth £25,000 – a considerable sum. The wool business he had set up would run until 1981.

The full story of the first Germans at Valley Parade and the bitter struggle between the city's two football clubs is told in great detail in 'Room at the Top'.

It is being published at the end of the month, with a follow-up book 'Life at the Top' – outlining the earliest roots of Bradford sport – due to come out later this summer.