It was with regret that we learnt of the passing of Alan Bradshaw on the 18th October 2020 at the age of 79.
Alan was one of that rare band of footballers who enjoyed a successful playing career whilst retaining his part-time status.
Alan played schoolboy football in Blackburn before joining the youth set-up at Blackburn Rovers in the late 1950s. Alan stepped into the successful F.A. Youth Cup winning side of 1958-59 for the semi-final second-leg against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Played in front of 35,941, the team pulled off a 3-2 win over a United side that included Dave Gaskell and Nobby Stiles.
Alan played in both legs of the Youth Cup Final against a West Ham United side that included Bobby Moore. Alan scored the goal which gave the Rovers a 1-1 draw in the first-leg at Upton Park and helped the team to a narrow 1-0 win in the return leg at Ewood Park.
Alan made his debut for the Reserve team against Chesterfield on 16th January 1960 and scored a goal in a 5-1 win.
Alan’s appearances for the club at this point were limited because he was attending Loughborough University. Alan played football for the University and captained the side in the early 1960s. Some of his teammates included goalkeeper Bob Wilson, who would gain fame playing for Arsenal and Scotland, and Dario Gradi who would enjoy a long and successful coaching and managerial career with the likes of Wimbledon, Crystal Palace and Crewe Alexandra. Another member of that side, Keith Blunt, also enjoyed a successful coaching career with the likes of Malmo in Sweden, Tottenham Hotspur’s youth team and the Football Association’s Centre of Excellence. Also in the side was future novelist Barry Hines who penned ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ which was later filmed as ‘Kes’.
Alan was an inside-forward who combined being a play-maker with an eye for goal. He made his first team debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, on 1st September 1962, and although Rovers went down 4-2, Alan marked his debut with a goal.
Being a PE teacher at Shadsworth Secondary School meant Alan had to combine football with a full-time career in teaching which probably explained why he struggled to break into the team on a regular basis. In total he made 11 appearances for the first team and scored two goals before moving to Crewe Alexandra in May 1965.
Alan made his debut for Crewe against Barnsley on 21st August 1965 and went on to make 330 League & Cup appearances for the club plus a further 9 substitute outings. In total he scored 54 League goals and 2 F.A. Cup goals whilst with the Gresty Road club.
In 1967-68 he helped Crewe gain promotion to the Third Division and was a regular in their first team during his eight seasons with the club.
On 9th December 1972, Alan returned to Ewood Park with Crewe and helped pull off a shock 1-0 win in a 2nd Round F.A. Cup-tie. In the earlier round, Alan had scored the winning goal in a local derby against Stafford Rangers to set up the tie at Ewood Park.
That season proved to be Alan’s last in League football but he joined Macclesfield Town in the Summer of 1973 and played a season in the Northern Premier League making a total of 56 League and Cup appearances and scoring 10 goals for the club.
After one season with Macclesfield Town, Alan joined Great Harwood where he would become manager before coaching and playing at Chorley. In August 1979, Alan left the classroom to return to Blackburn Rovers in the role of youth development officer under Howard Kendall.
When that role ended he continued to coach and manage in local non-League circles before leaving football to take over the running of a nursing home.
The Blackburn Rovers Former Players Association wish to express their deepest sympathy to Alan’s family and friends at this sad time.