Peter Broadbent.

The very sad news has just come in advising us of the  death of  former County player Peter Broadbent. The blog is endebted to Ian Watts for this obituary.

Peter Broadbent was a veteran by the time he joined County during the ill-fated 1969-70 season having been born on 15 May 1933.  He started playing for Dover at aged 14 and made his Football League debut in October 1950 for Brentford. The statement in a newspaper of January 1951 that "17-year-old Peter seems destined for a fine career", was proved correct. He was on the move to Wolverhampton Wanderers before the season was out for a five figure fee.

Whilst at Wolves, Broadbent won three League Championship medals, an FA Cup Winners medal and gained seven England caps as well as playing for the Football League, England U23 and B side. He scored nearly 150 club goals in just short of 500 games and got the chance to play in the European Champions and European Cup Winners Cups.

A move to Shrewsbury Town in 1964 looked to have spelt the end of his time in top flight football but an impressive 20 month spell at Gay Meadow saw him back in the top flight with Aston Villa. He played nearly 70 matches in 3 seasons for Villa before the move to County on a free transfer; making his debut in 1-3 home defeat to Mansfield on 11 October.

The County management felt Broadbent (along with Jim Smith who joined around the same time) would help County pull out of their disastrous start to the season. The Bury programme of 1 November 1969 reported "Peter Broadbent is improving even on his high standards as he gets to know the team and tactics." In general it was felt that Broadbent gave the team some control in midfield with Smith doing the same in defence. County did have a relatively decent run of results after the two men joined - but it wasn't to last as they dropped out of Division Three breaking the club's worst records of the time. His last League appearance for County was the 0-1 defeat by Plymouth Argyle on 13 April. He missed the final two games but did help the team win the Cheshire Premier Cup on 2 May.

Peter was still under contract for the 1970-71 season but perhaps the fact he was missing on photo shoot day was a sign of what was to come. He started the season training at Aston Villa and asked to meet the directors to discuss his future. It was felt there was some bad blood after he had been the central figure in a controversial Granada TV feature on the state of the club - which led to a protest to the TV company by the County board. After a meeting with Dragan Lukic it was agreed to cancel the remainder of Broadbent's two year contract at the end of September.

Commenting on the decision the Stockport Advertiser of 1 October 1970 reported, "He was regarded as an expensive name on the payroll and wasn't even in the reserves. Although the club insisted he should train at Stockport he could not as he has a shop at Codsall. He has no plans to play for anyone else."

He did make one significant contribution to the club during his last few months under contract, recommending John Griffiths to the club, a striker who was to prove popular with the fans over the next five seasons. On retirement from the professional game Peter ran a Halesowen based baby wear shop and played briefly for Bromsgrove Rovers.

Peter, who died on 1 October 2013 aged 80 in a nursing home in Staffordshire, played 35 senior first team games for County and scored once in a 4-1 defeat at Mansfield.

Ian Watts


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