Manningham Mills

Secretary: Yasir Iqbal
League Representative: Michael Kaye
1st Team Captain: Mahboob Hussain
2nd Team Captain: TBC

Joined League: 1903 rejoined 1996
Division Two Champions: 1984 1986
Second Teams Division Two: 1986
Priestley Cup winners: 1977
Priestley Cup runners-up: 1975 1979


Manningham Mills were established as a branch of Listers Mill Sports and Social Club in 1865. Between 6,000 and 7,000 employees of the mills made weekly contributions from their wages towards their recreational club which provided them with facilities to take part in various activities, including football, cricket, tennis, table tennis, snooker, bowls and ballroom dancing!

The cricket team were founder members of the Bradford League in 1903, but after the Second World War they played in the Bradford Central League until 1972 when their higher ambition was revived.

The club expanded their social facilities beyond an ageing pavilion by opening a new club and successfully applied to rejoin the Bradford League for the 1974 season. The next ten years or so were the club’s heyday.

They made an early impression in both league and Priestley Cup, assembling a formidable side, including former Yorkshire players, England batsman and ace slip fielder Phil Sharpe, slow left arm bowler Don Wilson and England rugby union star Peter Squires. Reaching the Priestley Cup final in 1975 they were beaten by the mighty Undercliffe team, but made the breakthrough to the First Division in 1977 when they were promoted. Sharpe topped the batting averages with 65.50. He became only the fifth batsman in the history of the league to reach the coveted 1,000 runs mark, with 1,048 runs in 22 innings. Jackie Heron was second in the batting averages while Wilson was runner-up in the bowling averages with 64 wickets at 10.51.

Mills also won the cup in 1977, beating Lightcliffe by four wickets. Sharpe led the way with 97 as they overhauled Lightcliffe’s score of 192 with four wickets in hand. Mills reached their third final in five years in 1979 when they lost to Bingley. They were sunk by the combined talents of centurion Neil Hartley and spinner David Batty (7-57).

They stayed in the First Division until 1983 when they were relegated. This started a remarkable spell of successive promotions and relegations. Returning to Division One as Second Division champions in 1984, relegated again the following season only to go back as champions again in 1986 when they completed a remarkable double. The first team won the Division Two championship with a record 125 points while the second team won the second team title with 120.

Many fine players have played at Mills, among them Mike Valetta, who won the league averages in 1982 before going on to play for Australia. Iain Priestley, the former skipper of Pudsey St Lawrence, had a successful spell with the club early in his career and was given a couple of outings by the Yorkshire county side on the strength of his performances.

No one has played a bigger part in their modern history than Jeff Slater, a player and official at the club for well over 30 years. As the wool industry waned Listers began restructuring and local membership fell as former employees moved out of the district. The Heaton area also changed in nature and both the cricket and football sections began to tighten their belts. Football eventually lost its Lister connection and amalgamated with the cricket club.

In the early 1990s the club experienced a series of damaging attacks on its premises, including arson attempts, which nearly brought its demise. Fortunately, the membership rallied round and refurbished the premises enabling the club to continue its activities.

The 1995 season was spent playing in the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League after the club was voted out of the Bradford League for ‘team irregularities’ during the previous season. The following year they rejoined the Bradford League and fortunately have not experienced any further serious attacks on their premises although occasional ‘unsocial behaviour’ is still encountered.

Campion football club have taken up the cause by occupying the pitch vacated by the defunct Manningham Mills football section, all serious contact with Listers has terminated since the company went into receivership.
The club will unveil their long-awaited new facilities in 2006 and hope it will herald a bright new dawn for Manningham Mills.

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