Park Avenue Change Name For First Time In 109 Years

Football club will become first community-owned one in the region.

Bradford Park Avenue has become the first community-owned football club in West Yorkshire.

The owners, led by Texas businessman Gareth Roberts, agreed to give up their shareholdings to allow the club to convert to a Community Benefits Society owned by its members on a one-member-one-vote system. It has been re-named Bradford Park Avenue Community Football Club.

The former shareholders have automatically become the first members of the new community club but the membership scheme is being officially opened up to anyone else who supports the aims of the club. The scheme will be officially launched by Mr Roberts at an open meeting at the Midland Hotel in Bradford at 7pm on Wednesday 31 August.

The current board and management will stay in place but, over time, members will have the opportunity to vote for their own choice of candidates.

Chief Executive Gareth Roberts said, "This has been my ambition for the club for several years.  I'm originally a Bradford lad and a long-time fan of the club so I'll still be involved and am willing to put my hand in my pocket to support growth, particularly around community facilities and for initiatives to strengthen our links with the next generation of players and supporters.

"I believe though that it's really important that any club can stand on its own feet and be rooted in the community and not rely solely on the whims of a private owner.  The club will have a more sustainable future if it is owned and run by local people who are passionate about not only the football, which I hope will flourish, but also about other sports and activities and about investing in relationships with the local community, its schools and local businesses."

As part of the change in its ownership status, the club has also unveilled a new logo.

Bradford Park Avenue Community Football Club follows many others that have successfully converted to community ownership in recent years - such as FC United of Manchester - but is the first of its type in the West Riding County FA's region.

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