|Full name||Geoffrey Reginald William Bradford|
|Caps (goals)||1 (1)|
|Rovers apps (goals)a||462 (242)|
|Date of birth||18 July 1927|
|a League appearances and goals only|
Last updated by 188.8.131.52 on 25/07/2013
Geoff Bradford spent his entire footballing career with Rovers making over 625 appearances and scoring 355 goals. He remains Rovers' record goalscorer.
He was first spotted playing aged 18 playing for Soundwell in Bristol. He made his debut for Rovers on September 24th 1949 in a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. In the 1952/53 season, Bradford scored 33 goals during a season in which Rovers won promotion from Division Three South (the modern day equivalent of League One). During Rovers' first season in Division Two (the modern day equivalent of the Championship) Bradford suffered a serious knee injury that would keep him out for six months and many felt his ability as a great goalscorer would be seriously affected.
He defied the odds when he return the following season scoring 27 goals to help establish Rovers in Division Two. During this period of the 50s, fierce rivals Bristol City also had player who had an eye for goal by the name of John Atyeo. Rovers and City fans would debate day and night about who's striker was better. Both players would go on to achieve great success with their clubs.
He began to form a superb partnership with Alfie Biggs and in the 1955/56 season, fans were optimistic that Rovers could push for promotion to Division One (now the Premier League). His good form during the start of this season led to an England call up for a friendly against Denmark. He was to line up alongside legendary players such as Billy Wright, Jackie Milburn, Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney. England won the game 5-1 with Bradford scoring a goal. He remains the only Rovers player to receive an England call up whilst on the books with Rovers.
During this season, Rovers proved their credentials in what is perhaps the finest moment in Bristol Rovers history. On January 7th 1956 in a FA Cup Third Round tie, Rovers hosted Matt Busby's Manchester United, a team who had already gained the nickname "The Busby Babes". Rovers won the game 4-0, Bradford scoring a penalty. Five players from the United side that played that day died just over two years later in the Munich Air Disaster.
With Rovers in the thick of the promotion chase, Rovers took on Doncaster Rovers in a FA Cup Fourth Round Replay. Bradford again suffered a serious knee injury that would keep him for a long time once again. Rovers crashed out of the cup, losing the Doncaster game 1-0 and their promotion hopes soon diminished.
Bradford battled back from the injury to return for Rovers against Stoke City at Eastville. With a few minutes remaining Rovers were 2-1 down but Bradford scored two late headers to hand Rovers the win and achieve his fifth hat trick of the season. Rovers finished just four points off promotion to Division One, something many fans felt they would have achieved had Bradford not been injured.
Bradford continued to score goals on a regular basis and while their were a few more highlights, such as reaching the FA Cup Quarter-Finals in 1958, Rovers were relegated back to Division Three South in 1962. Bradford remained at the club he loved , despite an offer from Bill Shankley to join Liverpool in 1961.
- N.B. England score listed first (source: englandstats.com)
|2 October 1955||Denmark||5–1||Idrætsparken, Copenhagen||Friendly|
Bradford retired from football in 1964 and went to live a quiet life in Bristol while working as a petrol tanker driver. He died on December 30th 1994 aged 67.