By Tony Dewhurst

The splendid gold coloured cup, inscribed with the words, West Riding County FA, Ability Counts League Division One winners, takes pride of place in Bradford City's football museum.

It is squeezed in between the original ball used from the 1911 FA Cup final, when the Bantams lifted the only major trophy in their history, and a Daily Mirror back page splash charting Bradford's great escape, after beating Liverpool 1-0 at Valley Parade on May 12, 2000 to retain their Premier League status.

The Bradford City Disability Football Club provides football coaching to children and adults who have physical and learning difficulties, but for some this trailblazing project has become a way of life.

"It is Bradford City's most successful community project, I think it is the best thing we do," said Bradford City's Football in the Community Officer, Ian Ormondroyd.

"We've 80 members of all ages, plus several teams playing to their own level of ability. There's a young lad of seven and a 56-year-old guy called Kenny Littler - and for many of them it is at the heart of their social life.

"You see that when they come down to train and play, because there's a massive social element to it in terms of their friendship with each other and the special camaraderie.

"The whole city of Bradford is proud of what they have achieved with the club."

Twice a season Bradford City's Disability squad stages an exhibition match on the Valley Parade pitch at half time.

"The supporters usually nip behind the stand for a pie and a pint at half-time - but nobody moves out of their seats - and the fans go mad for it," added Ormondroyd.

"They get a rousing reception, the crowd clapping and cheering, and things like that make my job worthwhile.

"That's the most special thing about it - they have embraced it as their own club."

There could be no finer ambassador for Bradford City than Ormondroyd, who started his professional career with the npower League 2 club.

Many supporters will remember the tall striker from his spells at Aston Villa, Derby County and Leicester City.

The transition from talented footballer to overwhelmingly successful manager has been effected swiftly and smoothly and he draws on a lifetime's experience in the game each day.

"It was a bit daunting at first, any player will tell you that when their career ends," he said.

"We've all seen the issues surrounding one of Bradford's old players, Dean Windass, and the problems many retired professionals have to adapting to life outside the cosseted world of football.

"It was over for me at 32. I've been lucky, though, the work with the community is so diverse and we are evolving all the time.

"I feel fortunate that I've a job that I like and can control.

"I like being able to shape the way the Community Foundation goes forward."

Ormondroyd has seen football change beyond recognition since retiring from the professional game over a decade ago.

"It disappoints me, though, when I see the incredible money paid out in wages to the elite players, especially when it can be hand to mouth at this level of the game.

"There needs to be a balance, and more money given to grass roots, where the game grows. I think there will have to be a maximum wage or a ceiling on the player budget that a club has.

"The community scheme is such a valuable tool, though. It can really make a huge difference to people's lives because Bradford, like many cities in England is quite a poor city.

"We work with under-privileged and deprived areas of the community - the homeless, ethic minorities, the old and disabled - and the foundation has probably trebled in size since we got charitable status over four years ago.

"As a non-profit organization, we can work with the right people and for the right reasons."

Ormondroyd smiles when he recalls signing for Bradford, while working at a catalogue factory in the city.

"Bradford played at Barnet in a friendly and I scored twice. On the way back Trevor Cherry [then manager] said, 'What do you get at the factory?

"'I just blurted out £100 a week and he told me if I signed for Bradford I'd get an extra £10.

"I just wanted to play for Bradford, and with some of the guys I'd watched from the terraces as a teenager.

"With Bradford being my hometown club and the team I had supported since the 1970s, it was a huge thrill to play for them.

"I've been involved in four Wembley finals and I played at the San Siro Stadium for Aston Villa, but this job as Bradford City's Football in the Community Officer brings me as much job satisfaction because we are helping so many people."

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