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Remembering ‘Ivor’ Broadis

The recent death of footballer Ivor Broadis made the news in a number of ways, although always associated with the north he was actually born on the 18th December 1922 in the Isle of Dogs.

When I was reading his obituaries, it became obvious he was a remarkable character who lived most of life in the North of England but never lost his Cockney accent. Although he was known as ‘Ivor’, his name was actually Ivan Arthur Broadis and he developed his considerable football skills at Glengall Road School in the Isle of Dogs and St. Paul’s Way School, Coopers Company School, in Bow. He began to play amateur football for Finchley in north London, Northfleet in Kent and then Finchley again before joining Spurs.

He became known as ‘Ivor’ after an administrative error while playing as an amateur for Tottenham Hotspur during the war, he also played for Millwall on an amateur basis.

After the family home was bombed out in the Blitz, Broadis joined the RAF as a navigator and did his training in America near to New York. He became a Flight Lieutenant and completed 500 flying hours on Lancasters and Wellingtons. After the war he was posted to Crosby-on-Eden, near Carlisle, where he met his future wife.

The local team, Carlisle United asked Broadis if wanted to manage the team although he was only 23 and that was how he became the youngest player-manager in Football League history. What he did not know at the time was the club was having financial difficulties, but Broadis came up with a novel solution.

In 1949, Broadis became the only manager in Football League history to sell himself, joining Sunderland for £18,000. This large amount of money at the time saved Carlisle and Broadis joined a club who were nicknamed the ‘Bank of England Club’ because of their high spending. Carlisle appointed another manager by the name of Bill Shankly who would later become a legend at Liverpool.

Sunderland nearly won the First Division championship in 1950, but the talents of Broadis were noticed by England when he was picked for the match against Austria in 1951. His international career would bring 14 caps and eight goals and he became famous as the first man to score twice in a World Cup game for England in the 1954 World Cup.

Broadis was sold to Manchester City for a fee of £25,000, then moved to the north east with a move to Newcastle. Towards the end of his playing career he returned to Carlisle as player-coach before finally finishing his playing days with Queen of the South in Scotland.

When he finally finished his football career, he began another one with a career in journalism, reporting for the Carlisle Evening News and Star and the Observer for over 40 years. Broadis had a flair for the written word and was very popular amongst ex footballers and journalists in his long career in journalism.

Just before his death in April, Broadis had the distinction at the age of 96 years of being England’s oldest living player.

The Isle of Dogs and Poplar have produced a number of footballers and sports people, however few have had a career as remarkable as Ivor Broadis.