Peter Broadbent was born in Elvington on 15th May 1933. An inside-forward, he played for Dover Athletic before joining Brentford in May 1950. He only played in 16 games for the Second Division club before being signed by Stan Cullis, the manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, for a fee of £10,000. As Cullis later pointed out: "The club paid a big fee to Brentford for the transfer of Peter Broadbent, a 17-year-old inside-forward from Dover, who, I thought, could well develop into one of the outstanding inside-forwards of his day. Broadbent, in addition to the normal qualities of an inside-forward, also had considerable pace, and a flair for going past a defender in the fashion of a winger."
Broadbent made his debut against Portsmouth in March 1951. He joined a team that included Johnny Hancocks, Sammy Smyth, Jesse Pye, Jimmy Dunn, Jimmy Mullen, Billy Crook, Roy Swinbourne, Roy Pritchard, Billy Wright, Bert Williams and Bill Shorthouse. He held his place in the team for the rest of the season.
In the 1952-53 season Wolves finished in 3rd place in the First Division. Broadbent formed a great partnership with Johnny Hancocks. As the manager, Stan Cullis, pointed out in his autobiography, All For the Wolves (1960): "We often used him (Broadbent) as an advanced winger lying on the touchline twenty yards or more ahead of Hancocks. When the ball came out of defence to Hancocks, he was able to chip it accurately to Broadbent who was frequently clear on his own. This stratagem, designed to make the fullest use of the best qualities of both players, was also extremely successful, for the full-back marking Hancocks was caught between two men and played out of the game."
Wolves won the First Division championship in the 1953-54 season with four more points than their nearest challenger, West Bromwich Albion. They scored an impressive 96 goals. The top goalscorers were Johnny Hancocks (25), Dennis Wilshaw (25), Roy Swinbourne (24) and Jimmy Mullen (17). Broadbent scored 12 league goals at season.
Wolves won the First Division championship in the 1953-54 season with Johnny Hancocks as the club's top scorer. Broadbent scored 12 goals that year. The following season the club finished second to Chelsea.
In March 1956 Stan Cullis signed Harry Hooper from West Ham United for a club record fee of £25,000. Cullis wanted him as a replacement for Johnny Hancocks. Broadbent was now part of a forward line that included Hooper, Norman Deeley, Jimmy Mullen, Jimmy Murray and Bobby Mason. In the 1956-57 season Broadbent scored 19 goals.
Wolves won the First Division league title in the 1957-58 season. Broadbent scored 17 of the club's 103 goals that season. On 17th June 1958 Broadbent won his first international cap for England against the Soviet Union. England lost the game 1-0 but he kept his place for the game against Northern Ireland which was drawn 3-3. Broadbent scored both goals in the 2-2 draw with Wales on 26th November 1958.
Wolves also won the title in the 1958-59 season with 28 wins in 42 games. Once again the forwards were in great form scoring 110 goals. This was seven more than Manchester United and 22 more than third placed Arsenal. Jimmy Murray was the club's leading scorer with 21 goals in 28 games. Broadbent scored 20 league goals that season.
Broadbent kept his place in the England side appearing against Scotland (1-0), Italy (2-2) and Brazil (0-2) in 1959. Wolves continued their good run finishing 2nd to Burnley in the 1959-60 season. Broadbent was also a member of the side that won the FA Cup in 1960 with Norman Deeley scoring two of the goals in the 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers.
Broadbent won the last of his seven international caps against Scotland on 9th April 1960. Billy Wright, later recallede: "He is certainly the kingpin of the Wolves attack... He is very nearly indispensable.... but for some reasons that I cannot fathom, he fails to reproduce his club form for England." Broadbent continued to score on a regular basis for Wolves and the side finished 3rd (1960-61) and 5th (1962-63). Stan Cullis was surprisingly sacked in September 1964 after Wolves finished in 16th place in the league.
For many years Peter Broadbent ran a successful babywear shop in Halesowen. When he retired he moved to Codsall. Like many professional footballers who played before the introduction of balls coated with a special polyurethane preparation, which eliminated water absorption during games in the 1970s, he suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.
Peter Frank Broadbent died on 1st October 2013.
The club paid a big fee to Brentford for the transfer of Peter Broadbent, a 17-year-old inside-forward from Dover, who, I thought, could well develop into one of the outstanding inside-forwards of his day. Broadbent, in addition to the normal qualities of an inside-forward, also had considerable pace, and a flair for going past a defender in the fashion of a winger.
Consequently, we often used him as an advanced winger lying on the touchline twenty yards or more ahead of Hancocks. When the ball came out of defence to Hancocks, he was able to chip it accurately to Broadbent who was frequently clear on his own. This stratagem, designed to make the fullest use of the best qualities of both players, was also extremely successful, for the full-back marking Hancocks was caught between two men and played out of the game.
As we were working largely to the law of averages, determined to ensure that the ball spent a far larger proportion of each match in front of the opposition goal than in front of ours, it is a logical sequel that, once we had put the ball into the other team's danger area, we could not afford to allow them to obtain possession of it without a fight. So I needed forwards who could challenge and tackle and struggle for every loose ball.
In 1950, I was fortunate in that I had an ideal player for this type of game in Roy Swinbourne, the young Yorkshireman who came to Molineux from Wath Wanderers, the nursery team of Wolves which is run by Mark Crook, one of our old players. Tall and strong, Swinbourne could gain possession of the ball on the ground and, in the air, he could beat most defenders. As he learned, and removed the rough edges from his game, he developed into a first-class centre-forward for Wolves and was just coming to the peak of his career when he injured a knee in the last minute of a game at Preston.
This unfortunate injury happened early in the 1955-6 season and, although he tried for nearly two years to find his old speed, Swinbourne never recovered from that accident and now he has to be content to referee local games in Wolverhampton. Although the game may have found a first-rate official, football lost a potentially great centre-forward.
At the time of Swinbourne's accident, I knew that Wolves would find it very difficult to replace a key man in the tactical plan. I did not realize that, three years later, as we played in the European Cup for the first time, I would still be without an adequate substitute.
For Swinbourne was one of the few powerful forwards in the modern game who could fight and tackle for every ball in the manner of Peter Doherty, Raich Carter or Jimmy Hagan.
Before going to bed I took a walk around Wolverhampton and met Peter Broadbent, the Wolves and England inside-right, who told me I was going to "dig" with him at the house of Mrs. Long in Chester Street, Wolverhampton. "She'll look after you like a mother," was Peter's comforting tip, "and, don't forget, if I can give you any help never hesitate to ask."
The following morning Neal and I had to report to Joe Gardiner, the Wolves trainer, and George Poyser, the club coach, two men of great experience; kind-hearted fellows whose lifetime in the game has given them a human approach to young footballers which I know from experience is a most wonderful thing.
Born in Elvington, north of Dover, Kent, Broadbent was discovered as a 16-year-old by the manager of the Dover football club. The following year Broadbent joined Brentford, where he became a professional. Precociously effective, a neat ball player of constructive flair, he was soon a regular choice for the Second Division side.
He was snapped up for £10,000 for Wolves in February 1951 by Stanley Cullis, who spotted that Broadbent was having breathing problems. He secretly had photographs taken of the player and sent him to a specialist, who found that Broadbent was not inhaling and exhaling correctly. Treatment and exercises followed, so that, in Cullis's words: "It has worked wonders and Peter is a different player. We aim to play football just a little bit quicker than our opponents and Peter has fitted into our scheme of things."
That scheme of things was Wolves' famous – or notorious – long-ball game, but Broadbent was a privileged figure in being allowed somewhat more time on the ball. Though he was best known as a maker rather than a scorer of goals, he could get them too, and helped Wolves to the First Division championship in 1953-54, 1957-58 and again in 1958-59. In 1960 he added an FA Cup Final winners' medal at Wembley, when he was inside-left in the team which beat a 10-man Blackburn Rovers. He called it his greatest satisfaction.
In 1954 I saw Broadbent in England's first-ever under-23 international, and his first taste of international football, in Bologna. The team also included the versatile Duncan Edwards, but the Italians won, 3-0.
Broadbent's two full-international goals came in the same match, against Wales in November 1958 at Villa Park. Though reduced to 10 men for much of the game, a gallant Welsh side seemed in sight of victory, but twice Broadbent equalised, first with a clever lob over the head of the Welsh keeper, Jack Kelsey, then with a header. After that one full season in the England team, ending in Rio with a match against Brazil, Broadbent slipped out of international football but for the game in Glasgow the following year.
In January 1965, Broadbent was transferred to Third Division Shrewsbury Town, but he stayed only till October 1966, when he joined Aston Villa. The spark seemed, however, to have gone out of his game in this three years there, for he played mostly in the reserves. He then played a season each for Stockport County and Bromsgrove Rovers, before retiring in 1971.