OBITUARIES : Geoff Bradford
Monday 02 January 1995
When Bradford was in his bountiful 1950s prime, he was accorded a sporting celebrity in the West Country exceeded only by that of his close friend and rival the late John Atyeo of Bristol City; meanwhile at grounds around the country, he was often the only Rovers player of whom supporters had heard. The acclaim, however, never turned his head, and when the two men were together at a function, invariably Bradford would ask the more outgoing (though also modest) Atyeo to deal with the demands of press andpublic.
Bradford's impressive record - 260 goals in 511 senior outings - owed much to a sharp-edged technical talent which contrasted vividly with his unthrusting personality. He was as clean, accurate and powerful a striker of the ball with either foot as couldbe found outside the game's top division (in which, sadly, he never played), his touch was subtle and certain, his timing in the air was intuitive.
To these gifts were added a natural resilience which saw him return in triumph from two fearful leg injuries which might have put him out of football for good. His critics called him lazy, but Bradford, known as "Rip" (Van Winkle) to team-mates because of his knack for sleeping before a match, could justifiably refer them to his goal tally. His England chance came in October 1955, against Denmark in Copenhagen, when he scored once and made another for Tom Finney in a 5-1 victory. It seemed enough to warrant a second call but this never arrived and Bradford returned uncomplainingly to bread-and-butter duty with Rovers, who had plucked him from local amateur ranks in 1949 and who remained his only professional club.
The highlight of Bradford's 15 years at Eastville - the much-loved home of the Pirates until a controversial move to Bath in 1986 - came in 1952-53 when his club record of 33 goals did much to secure the Division III (South) Championship. Had his peak years not coincided with football's maximum-wage restriction, it is reasonable to suppose that such a talent would have moved on to more lucrative fields, but all who revelled in his exploits as a Rover would find it hard to imagine their faithful spearhead in the colours of another club.
After his retirement in 1964, Bradford became a petrol tanker driver, continuing to live quietly in the city of his birth.
Ivan Ponting Geoffrey Reginald William Bradford, footballer: born Bristol 18 July 1927; played for Bristol Rovers 1949-64; capped once for England 1955; died Bristol 30 December 1994.
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 4 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
MH17 crash: Black boxes show plane suffered 'massive explosive decompression' following shrapnel hit
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...
Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...