Great Britain

Chris Kamara backs Bradford's City of Culture 2025 bid

BRADFORD has received unbelievable backing for its City of Culture 2025 bid - from former Bantams boss Chris Kamara.

The football pundit and TV presenter was a Bradford City player and manager between 1994 and 1998 and is now supporting the city's bid for the prestigious culture title.

The Bradford 2025 team is working with partners districtwide on the bid, which will be managed by Bradford Culture Company in partnership with Bradford Council and the University of Bradford.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden kicked off bidding for the title last month - and the competition to host the year-long event has begun.

Bradford-born illusionist Dynamo and England cricket star Adil Rashid have already backed the city's bid and now they are joined by TV star Kamara.

Nicknamed Kammy, he says Bradford is a lot bigger than people think and has great memories of his time with the Bantams, including with the club's fans and making his way around the city's Indian restaurants.

He is a huge fan of a Bradford curry and says that is one of the city's biggest cultural exports, along with its entertainment venues including the Alhambra Theatre and St George's Hall.

Kamara said: "Of course, I'm backing Bradford's bid. It is the curry empire of the UK. It's got to be done.

"You can't get a better curry from anywhere else but Bradford. The city does have a lot to offer.

"Someone told me Bradford was the curry capital of the UK. I used to travel to Bradford to try every Indian restaurant there and none of them fell below the high standard.

"I have so much to thank Bradford for by what has happened in my own career. I will never forget when we got promoted and there were 20,000 people turning up around the City Hall to wish us well.

"Bradford is a big city. People don't realise that until they become part of it and are in it like I was.

"When I was at Leeds United, I didn't think about the size of Bradford.

"People come from far and wide to go to the Alhambra Theatre for shows and the panto and to St George's Hall too."

Kamara also shared a memory of a night out in Bradford he had when he was Bantams manager in the 1990s. He and then City player Chris Waddle appeared on a stage version of the popular TV show Shooting Stars at St George's Hall the night before a midweek match.

After the show Kamara and Waddle went to a hotel with show presenters Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Matt 'George Dawes' Lucas and Ulrika Jonsson. Kamara recalls pub singing with Vic and Bob at the venue until late into the night. Kamara described it as 'one of those nights you could not forget'.

As part of the bid, the Bradford 2025 team has recruited a team of youth ambassadors to connect with young people, and promote Bradford as the youngest city in Europe. This includes a mural created by Leena Duong, 16, of West Bowling.

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