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Bradford Park Avenue legend Jeff Suddards dies aged 83
The older supporters of Bradford Park Avenue were saddened this week when news of Jeff Suddards' passing reached Horsfall Stadium on Wednesday.
The former player died at his home in Norfolk aged 83 and the club’s historian Tim Clapham and local journalist David Markham - for many years the T&A’s Bradford City reporter - both fondly remembered Suddards.
Clapham said: “Jeff was one of Avenue’s best known post-war players.
“He was a model of consistency and played all his league football with Bradford, making 327 appearances in a career spanning ten seasons from 1949 to 1959.
“He went to Hull as an amateur and travelled there each week to play for the Tigers’ junior side until he went into the RAF in 1947.
"Stationed at Yeadon Aerodrome during the latter part of his training, Avenue were able to keep him under review, and the day after he was demobbed he signed for the club.
“He appeared in the Yorkshire League side as a centre half but later settled at full back in the reserve team. He made his Football League debut in April 1950 in a Second Division match at Elland Road.
“Jeff became the only the fourth Bradford player to make 300 Football League appearances for the club when Barrow visited Park Avenue in October 1958.
"Not retained at the end of the 1958-59 season, Jeff received a joint benefit match with the retiring Willie Robb of Bradford City when the teams met at Valley Parade.
“Jeff ended his career with Cambridge City. He moved to the then Southern League outfit after leaving Park Avenue.”
Markham added: “He succeeded Jimmy Stephen at right back when Stephen moved to Portsmouth. He was Bradford born and lived for many years in the city after his retirement from professional football and was a popular and dependable player. He was also a keen golfer.”
* Bradford Park Avenue Ladies held their player awards ceremony for 2011-12 at the Top House.
Winners were: Nic Chamberlain (top scorer and players’ player), Sarah Huby (most assists), Annie Roberts (manager’s player) and Beth Walton (most improved player).
The teams will also meet on two other occasions this month - in the West Riding League (County Premier) and the Women's FA Cup first qualifier.
In the recent friendly against Northowram Ladies, Shannon Doherty scored for Bradford to make it 1-1 but it finished 4-1 to the County Second Division side.