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The best Bradford City XI since the Millennium – Goalkeepers



Bradford City have had a lot going on since the turn of the millennium, with a lot of their more glorious moments coming during the recent lows of their Football League history.

The Bantams started the millennium in the Premier League but their status in the top flight was hanging by a thread as they walked a very wobbly financial tightrope, and the 2000/01 season saw them slip out of the top tier and into the First Division, to which their issues didn’t relent.

Having been placed under administration, Bradford fell further down the league to the point where they are now teetering between League One and League Two, with promotions and relegations.

Amidst all the turmoil of slipping to the fourth tier in the past decade, Bradford have enjoyed some memorable nights down at Valley Parade, including a League Cup run all the way to Wembley, toppling Premier League outfits Wigan Athletic, Arsenal, and Aston Villa along the way.

There’ve been some other memorable performances, including a play-off final triumph at Wembley, to then later notch a home victory over Leeds United and wins against Sunderland and Chelsea in 2014/15.

Can you name the first goalscorer from Bradford’s last 16 seasons?

1 of 16

Who scored Bradford City's first goal of the 2004-2005 season in the 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool United?

With Bradford sampling football from all four tiers of the English league, they’ve seen a number of names come and go.

Here, we take a look at four of the best ‘keepers to play for the Bantams since the year 2000…

Paul Henderson

The Australian stopper arrived in West Yorkshire without much expectation on his shoulders when he came in on trial as potential backup for Donovan Ricketts, however, he made a very strong impact in his one season at Valley Parade.

Coming straight into the lineup for his debut against Doncaster Rovers three games into the season, he started as he meant to go on with a clean sheet, and then made it three in his first four appearances for the club.

His excellent shot-stopping ability saw him keep 10 clean sheets in the league to boost the sides prospects of the play-offs in the 2004/05 League One campaign.

Towards the back end of the season, interest was rife from the division above and he eventually rejected a contract to seek pastures new, but left having built a strong reputation from just one season.

Jordan Pickford

The now-England international took advantage of a series of loans to the lower leagues whilst at Sunderland to help his development, with one of the beneficiaries being the Bantams.

A poor start to life at Bradford against Coventry City was quickly put to the back of his mind with some very accomplished all-round performances at a very young age, as he arrived with very little optimism thrown behind him from fans, after the departure of Jon McLaughlin.

Great shot-stopping, command of his area and stunning distribution have always been staples of the England number one’s game and his time at Valley Parade was almost a coming of age for him.

He only spent one season with Bradford but made it worthwhile as his development skyrocketed, and he can certainly have a lot to be thankful for after his stint with the Bantams.

Who gets your vote?

The best Bradford City XI since the Millennium - Goalkeepers

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson

Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford

Gary Walsh

Gary Walsh

Matt Duke

Matt Duke

Gary Walsh

The earliest entry into this list is Gary Walsh, who spent five years with the club heading towards the back end of his career after an unfortunate spell with giants Manchester United and then Middlesbrough.

Arriving in 1997, Walsh was a vital part of the side as they climbed into the Premier League at the turn of the millennium and continued his strong form after that as they strived to stay in the division.

While Walsh’s efforts weren’t enough to keep the Bantams in the top flight, his solo heroics caught a lot of eyes with stunning attempts to keep the scoreline from embarrassing them away to a prime-Arsene Wenger-managed Arsenal side.

Injuries weren’t kind to Walsh in the back end of his time at Bradford but his efforts can be heralded as awesome in both the First Division and the Premier League.

Matt Duke

After a forgettable start to life under Phil Parkinson, Duke’s Bradford career was handed a lifeline when Jon McLaughlin was handed a red card in a brawl away to Crawley, which he took with both hands.

His great performances in the back end of the 2011/12 season helped retain Bradford’s Football League status before he became a mainstay during their historic 2012/13 campaign.

Home clashes against Arsenal and Aston Villa saw Duke butt heads with some serious attacking talent, with the likes of Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Christian Benteke the standouts.

Not only was Duke in goal for the successful penalty shootout over the Gunners, in which he thwarted Cazorla, he was also part of their promotion-winning league campaign where they overcame Northampton 3-0 at Wembley.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: The best Bradford City XI since the Millennium – Goalkeepers

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