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Former Shrewsbury Town and Wolves star Peter Broadbent dies, aged 80

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[gallery] Former Shrewsbury Town, Wolves and England great Peter Broadbent died today at the age of 80.

Peter Broadbent leads Shrewsbury Town out at Chelsea

The former inside forward, who joined Town from Wolves in January 1965, died peacefully at a nursing home in Staffordshire.

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Mr Broadbent had been suffering from Alzheimer's for many years and had been cared for by staff at the home. His devoted wife Shirley had visited him at the home every day.

The former England international played 84 league and cup games for Shrewsbury, scoring 11 goals.

Shrewsbury Town manager Graham Turner today praised Mr Broadbent's skill and called him a 'terrific player'.

Mr Turner said: "I got to know him at my time at Wolves in particular. He was part of the team and the club that I supported as a boy he was a terrific player who graced the football field with his style and his ability.

"I can remember going to Molineux to the Hall Of Fame dinner. Both of us were elected there on the same night. His wife was there to collect it, he was unwell. But they did a link with Alex Ferguson on video and he was saying that when he was growing up Peter Broadbent was his favourite player. He loved the player for what he was and I think that is testament to the high esteem in which he is held and the ability he had.

"He was a graceful player and I'm sure there are a lot of older Shrewsbury fans who remember what a terrific player he was. He was one of my favourites. He was a terrific creative player.

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"It's difficult off the top of my head to liken him to any player today. I think he was more creative than the majority of the England players we've got now but I would probably liken him to Glenn Hoddle. He was a magnificent passer of the ball and it was that style of play that he played. He really did well for Wolves and it was a great coup when Shrewsbury signed him."

Such was his impact at the Gay Meadow playing under Arthur Rowley, that Mr Broadbent joined Aston Villa in October 1966.

A Shrewsbury Town statement said: "Shrewsbury Town extend their sincere condolences to Peter's wife Shirley and all of his family and friends."

Former team-mate Ron Flowers, a former Telford United player manager, described him as a "quiet man" who kept himself to himself.

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Broadbent's arrival at Wolves made huge headlines back in February 1951, when he signed from Brentford, aged 17.

Flowers signed just over a year later and Broadbent was the first player he met when he arrived at the club.

The pair lived together during their formative years at the club and he said today: "I remember Peter being a big signing for the club then. He was very much the boy wonder when he arrived. He was a huge signing and a very gifted player.

"Peter was the first person I met when I arrived at the club, we were in digs together as 17-year-olds,"

"We were very close. We were both young lads. He was a quiet bloke really. Very much kept himself to himself."

Former Wolves' goalkeeper Malcolm Finlayson added: "It is very sad. He was such a great player and that Wolves side was such a great team and to be honest, those players have never been replaced.

"He is irreplaceable. He had no weakness at all."

Broadbent is the latest of Wolves' all-conquering golden team of the 1950s to pass away.

For many, the unassuming inside forward from Dover was the most skilful player in that great team put together by legendary manager Stan Cullis.

Finlayson, aged 83 and winner of two League titles and the FA Cup in 1960, all in the same team as Broadbent, added: "He'd got this silky movement and ball control and was a great player.

"You could compare him to the other great players at other clubs, but he was better than most of them.

"Every club had its share of great players in those days – when you look at the fact we were facing Nat Lofthouse, Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews every week – but Peter stands alongside the greatest players I played with or against."

Finlayson's memories of Broadbent go back to when the pair were young players together and serving in the RAF together. Finlayson the then Millwall goalkeeper and Broadbent the emerging young star at Wolves.

"I first met him in the RAF when Peter, myself and Ron Flowers were all serving our national service together," he said.

"We played for the RAF national team against the Army and Navy and the French, so I saw quite of bit of him during my time at Millwall earlier in my career.

"That young RAF team was like a young England and Scotland team, but there was definitely a recognition of Peter even at that time, because he stood out for his ability."

Ex-Wolves and England boss Graham Taylor also joined the tributes, describing Broadbent as one of football's first TV stars.

"I supported Scunthorpe growing up but Wolves were always my second team because we could watch them on television," he said.

"It was the same for a lot of people. We all followed Wolves because of the exposure they had.

"Nowadays there are games on television all the time, you can watch as many as you like.

"But back then they were rare, they were special. They were a fantastic team and Peter played a huge part. He was one of the best players in the country at the time.

"To me, as a young boy, to watch such great players in action meant such a lot. It made such an impression and I've no doubt they influenced a lot of people."

And Peter Knowles, who made 191 appearances and scored 64 goals for Wolves, called Broadbent a true Wolves legend.

"Without a shadow of a doubt – Peter Broadbent and Bert Williams these are what you call legends," said Knowles who played for Wolves between 1963 and 1969. "He was such a nice fellow, he was always laughing, he never stopped. He was my role model.

"Our temperaments were different – I could be a nasty piece of work – but Peter was such a lovely man.

"I was cleaning the stadium out, the South Bank, and the first team was on the pitch training. That's when I first saw him. It was like watching a skater on ice. He must have flowed over the pitch."

A statement from Wolves said: "Peter Broadbent was regarded as one of the finest ever players to grace a Wolves shirt.

"Sincere condolences from everyone at Wolves to Peter's wife Shirley and all of his family and friends."

Mr Broadbent, who was one of the first inductees into the Wolves Hall of Fame, is ranked alongside Bert Williams, Billy Wright, Ron Flowers and Bill Slater as one of the Wolves' greatest players of all time.

He was part of Stan Cullis's all-conquering team that won the Football League title three times, in 1954, 1958 and 1959 and the FA Cup in 1960 and embarking on a series of trailblazing European floodlit friendlies which captured the nation's hearts in the 1950s and were a forerunner of what is now the Champions League.

Part of England's 1958 World Cup squad, Dover-born Mr Broadbent, who also scored Wolves' first goal in Europe, netted 145 times in 497 games after arriving as a club-record signing from Brentford for £10,000 in 1951.

Mr Broadbent was known for his legendary body swerve which bamboozled opponents.

  • See also: Tributes as Peter Broadbent remembered
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