Player Profile - Les Bradd
Born Buxton, November 6, 1947
Les Bradd, the leading goalscorer in Notts County's history, is a good example of the wonderful club servant formerly commonplace in English football but now an extremely rare breed.
Having started his career with a brief spell at Rotherham United, who plucked him from non league East Sterndale, Bradd spent eleven seasons at Meadow Lane, barely missing a game and offering sterling service as the club climbed steadily away from the lower reaches of the fourth division into a comfortable second division position.
He was the kind of player whose identity becomes synonymous with that of his club. Through the 1970's if you thought of Bradd you would think Notts County and if you thought of Notts County you would probably think of Bradd. He was a man opposing fans knew, feared and probably respected.
Could he have made it in the top flight if a first division side had took a chance? It is hard to say, his skills were not flambouyant but they were sufficient to make him a highly effective forward.
Powerfully built, Bradd bustled rather than burst but knew how to finish chances with head and feet and was adept at leading the line in the old fashioned manner. He was a target man who scored his fair share of goals but also made it easier for his partners to contribute their own.
Having done the running for Tony Hateley in his early days he used the know how gained in the process to bring the best out of sharp partners like Kevin Randall and Mick Vinter later on.
Inevitably there was interest in Bradd as both he and his club progressed but, despite rumours involving Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion, nothing concrete ever developed and Bradd remained to play out the greater part of his career with County. You sensed he was not the type to ponder over what might have beens.
Bradd only managed one goal for Rotherham during his short time at Millmoor but it could hardly have been a more defining one. The League Cup winner he put past Notts County must have had something to do with their signing him shortly afterwards.
Seldom can a club have been done so much good by a goal putting them out of the cup.
At the time of Bradd's arrival County were a struggling side and this trend was not instantly reversed by the new signing, despite the ten goals which made him the clubs' top scorer for the season.
It was not until the arrival of another new face at Meadow Lane, Don Masson, that the clubs' fortunes would improve but once the upward trend had started it would continue for over a decade.
In 1971 the club stormed out of the fourth division, champions by nine clear points, the team spearheaded by Bradd and Hateley and driven by Masson.
Twenty one goals from Bradd helped County to fourth place in the third division the following year and then the club enjoyed a wonderful season in 1972/3, winning another promotion and enjoying a fine run in the League Cup which only ended in the quarter finals with defeat at Chelsea.
Along the way County dumped two first division sides out of the competition, Southampton and the holders Stoke City, with Bradd notching in both games.
For five further seasons Bradd was a regular as County established themselves in the second division.
1975/76 provided the club with another memorable League Cup run to the quarter finals. This time they dumped out Sunderland, with Bradd scoring the winner, Leeds United and verton.
It needed a replay at Meadow Lane to see off the Toffees with Bradd enjoying one of his greatest nights with both goals in the 2-1 victory, before a single goal defeat at Newcastle United finally ended the run.
At the start of the 1978 season, at almost thirty one years of age, Bradd's services were no longer wanted by County and the experienced striker returned to the fourth division with Stockport County.
It is surprising that a better team than Stockport, habitual strugglers at that time, did not fancy taking Bradd but for three years he continued to offer consistently good service to the team both up front and at centre half where he was now deployed at times.
The highlights of his time at Edgeley Park came in the form of a League Cup goal against Arsenal at Highbury, albeit in defeat, and, amazingly, his only ever hat trick.
A long time coming, Bradd's treble was certainly worth the wait. Trailing 4-1 to promotion chasing Barnsley , Bradd banged home three goals in the final ten minutes to rescue a point and claim his only ever match ball, assuming the club were in a position to let him keep it.
Freed by Stockport at the end of the 1981 season Bradd was astutely snapped up by Wigan Athletic, the league's babies, guided by Larry Lloyd.
Playing in a robust side containing the likes of Graham Barrow, Mickey Quinn, Peter Houghton, Lloyd himself and latterly Eamon O'Keefe, Bradd once more proved his worth with nineteen league goals as the club registered its first ever promotion.
He also netted one last, memorable League Cup goal against Chelsea in a stirring match which saw the Latics prevail 4-2.
The following season Bradd made another twenty two third division appearances for Wigan as well as one on loan for Bristol Rovers, fittingly marking the occassion with a goal, before finally, at the age of thirty five, calling it a day.
Without ever really forcing himself into the nations' consciousness Bradd left behind a career of outstanding consistency and honesty which, while being confined to the lower divisions, was one of immense personal credit.