THE League Two play-offs get underway this weekend, but City will not be a part of them.

Despite a promising start under Derek Adams, with 10 points from the opening four games, City’s early spark quickly fizzled out, as too many draws put them back among the pack.

Things turned toxic quickly under the Scot, and he was let go in February, and though Mark Hughes brought some feelgood factor back, City were never really in danger of gatecrashing the play-offs, especially with only two wins in the Welshman’s opening 10 games.

So instead, it is Northampton, Port Vale, Swindon and Mansfield who will contest the end of season lottery.

In fact, it has been five years since City last had a play-off run, as we look back at how they got on in days gone by.


How different City’s recent history could have been had they not so agonisingly missed out on promotion to the Championship.

With club legend Stuart McCall at the helm, the Bantams had a particularly impressive second half of the season, winning 11 and losing just four of their games from New Year’s Day to seal fifth in League One and a place in the play-offs by a seven-point margin.

Popular defender Rory McArdle powered home a Tony McMahon corner to give City a 1-0 win over Fleetwood in their play-off semi-final first-leg, before a 0-0 draw on enemy territory booked a play-off final date with Millwall.

But Billy Clarke missed a golden opportunity at Wembley, and with the game locked at 0-0 with five minutes to go, Steve Morison popped up with a devastating winner for the Lions.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Millwall's Steve Morison breaks City hearts at Wembley. Picture: PA.Millwall's Steve Morison breaks City hearts at Wembley. Picture: PA.

McCall was gone nine months later, and within two years, City were in League Two, as they now prepare for a fourth consecutive season in there.


Fans fondly remember Phil Parkinson’s reign, and this was its final hurrah.

City went into the play-offs in incredible form, having won nine of their last 11 games, including a 1-0 victory over their eventual semi-final opponents, Millwall.

But in a precursor of the even bigger heartbreak the following year, the Lions came out on top when it mattered.

The tie was virtually over by half-time in the first leg, as despite a McMahon penalty giving City the lead at Valley Parade, Lee Gregory, Morison and Joe Martin had put the visitors 3-1 up by the break.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tony McMahon strikes home City's penalty. Picture: Tom Gadd.Tony McMahon strikes home City's penalty. Picture: Tom Gadd.

Filipe Morais missed a great chance to give the Bantams hope heading into the second leg, and Jamie Proctor’s goal in a 1-1 draw in the return fixture was a mere consolation for City.

Millwall went on to lose the play-off final against Barnsley, but made up for that against the Bantams a year later.


Parkinson’s other achievements, before reaching that play-off semi-final, saw him guide City to the FA Cup quarter-finals in 2015, and the League Cup final in 2013.

And the League Cup final appearance against Swansea, after incredible wins over Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa, was not the only thing to shout about from 2012/13.

City snuck into the play-offs thanks to only losing one of their last nine League Two games, but things looked bleak when, despite Nahki Wells and Garry Thompson netting, they lost the first leg of their semi-final against Burton 3-2 at Valley Parade.

But Wells’ brilliance in the second leg, scoring two opportunistic goals and setting up James Hanson for another, saw the Bantams win 3-1 away from home.

And they blew Northampton away in the final, with Wells, Hanson and McArdle all scoring in the opening half-hour to wrap up a 3-0 win and ensure City a spot in the third tier for the first time since 2006/07.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: City celebrate victory in the 2012/13 League Two play-off final. Picture: PA.City celebrate victory in the 2012/13 League Two play-off final. Picture: PA.


The Bantams snuck into the Division Two play-offs under Chris Kamara, who had only been appointed a few months earlier.

They won 3-2 at Hull on the final day to come just a point above Chesterfield.

But after losing 2-0 in the first leg of their play-off semi final at Valley Parade, an incredible fightback at Bloomfield Road saw City win 3-0 courtesy of Des Hamilton, Carl Shutt and Mark Stallard.

And Kamara’s side won 2-0 in the final against Notts County, with teenager Hamilton firing home via the crossbar early on, before a late volley from Stallard sealed promotion.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mark Stallard takes on the Notts County defence in the final.Mark Stallard takes on the Notts County defence in the final.

It was City’s first ever game at Wembley, and their first major final since lifting the FA Cup way back in 1911.


City had a superb decade in the 1980s, with the likes of McCall and John Hendrie making a name for themselves.

They shot up from the Fourth Division to the Second Division, and their peak came in 1987/88.

A superb start to that season saw them lose just one of their first 13 matches, before a late-season 10-game unbeaten run helped them into fourth and the play-offs.

The format back then meant they were joined by third-placed Middlesbrough and fifth-placed Blackburn, as well as fourth-bottom Chelsea from the First Division.

With Karl Goddard and McCall giving City a 2-1 win over Boro in the first leg of the semis, things looked promising, but the North-East side hit back at Ayresome Park, edging out the Bantams 2-0 after extra-time.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: John Hendrie takes on Boro defender Brian Laws in the 1987/88 play-offs.John Hendrie takes on Boro defender Brian Laws in the 1987/88 play-offs.