Broadbent: The Player George Best Wanted To Be…

Everyone at the BOBBY offices was sad to hear of the passing of Wolves legend Peter Broadbent on Tuesday.

Broadbent joined Wolves for £10,000 in February of 1951. He became an integral part of a great Wolves team, winning the league three times between 1954 and 1959 as well as the FA Cup of 1960.

He is also the scorer of the club’s first ever goal in European competition, netting against Schalke in the European Cup in 1958.

In our photo from August 1960 he is jumping for the ball along with Bonetti and Bradbury of Chelsea.

Broadbent made his England debut at the 1958 World Cup against the USSR, going on to represent his country seven times and scoring twice against Wales.

At a time when internationals were played on Saturdays at the same time as League fixtures, clubs had a big say in England selection policy and there was an unofficial limit on the number of players selected from one club. Wolves were already well represented; with Billy Wright, Ron Flowers, Bill Slater and Denis Wilshaw from the club regularly in the mix for places.

It’s generally felt that this is one of the reasons why the more orthodox Johnny Haynes from the less successful Fulham was often selected instead of Broadbent.

Seven caps is criminal amount for such a gifted player; A player who George Best admired above all others when he was growing up.

Peter’s wife Shirley recalls “I remember we once bumped into George Best in Majorca. And he was just thrilled to see Peter! Like a schoolboy meeting his hero. George had supported Wolves as a boy and Peter was one of his favourite players.”

“Peter was very laid back and relaxed, but George was so excited…”

Another true legend of the game, the late great John Charles, was once asked who the finest English footballer was. “That’s easy,” the big man replied, “it’s Peter Broadbent.”

The midfielder remained with Wolves until 1965, making 497 appearances in total and scoring 145 goals.

He finally left Molineux in January 1965 to join Shrewsbury for a short period, before moving to Aston Villa where he played for three years. After a season with Stockport County, he ended his playing career with non-league Bromsgrove Rovers in 1971 before running a babywear business in Halesowen.

Peter died peacefully at Beech House nursing home at Himley early on Tuesday morning, he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for many years.

 

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