THEY say that you should never go back – not that Stuart McCall has ever listened.

The City legend is currently in his fifth spell at Valley Parade as player and manager.

His is the extreme case when it comes to examples of those coming back for more with the Bantams.

But Billy Clarke could be catching up if he agrees to a deal to re-join the club for a third time.

The Irishman had previous stints from 2014 to Wembley in 2017 and then a short stay in the second half of City’s relegation season from League One in 2019.

That proved less than successful but there are others who have fared better when they have returned to the club in recent years.


Colin Todd first took Doyle from Derby on loan in August 2006 and the teenager quickly established a regular spot in City’s midfield.

He played 33 games before being recalled by his parent club in January and sold to Hull. Doyle was still voted City’s player of the season.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Having been released by Barnsley in the summer of 2012, Phil Parkinson brought him back on an initial one-year deal and Doyle’s partnership with Gary Jones proved the fulcrum of the “history-making” campaign.

Doyle started at Wembley in both the Capital One Cup and League Two play-off finals and set up Rory McArdle’s goal in the 3-0 win over Northampton that clinched promotion.


Phil Parkinson’s first signing as City boss in August 2011, the winger went on to make 110 appearances in three years at the club.

Reid’s ability to take the team up the pitch with his direct running was a major asset and he also chipped in with 13 goals, including a blinding long-range strike against Walsall.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kyel Reid dribbles his way through the Notts County defenceKyel Reid dribbles his way through the Notts County defence

He returned on loan from Preston in October 2015 after City had made a poor start to the season. Parkinson had seemed initially reluctant to bring him back but that soon disappeared when Reid’s return inspired a 3-1 win at Rochdale.

Reid was a fixture in the side that reached the League One play-offs with 40 appearances.


West Ham midfielder Cullen proved the talisman of the charge to the play-off semi-finals in 2016 after his arrival on loan at the start of February.

His City debut at Peterborough was his first start in senior football – and he impressed in a 4-0 romp that set the tone for the rest of that season.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Josh Cullen spent two loan spells with City from West HamJosh Cullen spent two loan spells with City from West Ham

Cullen only finished on the losing side three times in 15 league outings before City were knocked out by Millwall.

But he was back in Bantam colours the following season under Stuart McCall as they secured a second season-long loan from the Hammers.

His assured presence was again a key factor in the side’s regular presence in the play-off places, appearing 46 times including the Wembley defeat to Millwall in May 2017.


Nicky Law has enjoyed three periods as a City player, all under Stuart McCall who also managed him at Motherwell.

The son of the former Bantams boss first joined in McCall’s debut year as manager in 2007, scoring twice in 10 appearances in a two-month loan stay from Sheffield United.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Nicky Law has had three different spells playing for Stuart McCall at CityNicky Law has had three different spells playing for Stuart McCall at City

The midfielder was back for the full season in 2008-2009 and played 35 games as City fell away in their bid for promotion from League Two.

McCall’s return to Valley Parade in 2016 saw Law come back after a seven-year absence. He played 90 times in two seasons, scoring five goals, as the Bantams were pipped up at Wembley by Millwall.


Paul Jewell splashed out £950,000 to secure Windass from Oxford in March 1999 to reinforce City’s push to the Premiership.

The striker scored 10 goals in City’s first top-flight season for 77 years – and the club’s first hat-trick of the new millennium against Derby on Good Friday.

He was on target in the Valley Parade victory over Chelsea at the start of the following season but would be off to Middlesbrough for £600,000 in March 2001 after catching Terry Venables’ eye with his display in an FA Cup tie between the teams.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dean Windass scored 87 goals in two periods with CityDean Windass scored 87 goals in two periods with City

Windass returned to Valley Parade when Colin Todd took over in the summer of 2004 after City’s second administration.

He scored 27 league goals that season to share the golden boot in the third tier and scored another hat-trick against Bournemouth.

Two more followed in the next campaign as Windass again hit the 20 mark. In 2006-2007, he had scored 12 by the end of January when City’s struggling finances saw them send him back to first club Hull.

The move to get Windass off the wage bill backfired on the pitch with relegation to the bottom division.

Windass scored 87 goals in total for City, which put him third on the all-time scoring list at the time behind Bobby Campbell and Frank O’Rourke.