“A quality player and has trained daily over the course of his career” is how chairman Phil Wallace greeted the arrival of Darren Bradshaw; the defender signing for us from Rushden & Diamonds in early 2001. Of course, it was a time when training daily was a big thing for us. The era of full time football was only just arriving at Broadhall Way. And we needed the players who could fit the mould.
Wallace also mentioned in his programme notes at the time of Bradshaw’s arrival that we were looking to “get two good years out of him”. As it turned out, however, we barely saw two months of action from him. After nine outings in the second half of our unmemorable 2000-1 campaign, the player left; moving onto Worksop Town. Belper Town would provide one last stopping point in his career, before Bradshaw retired in 2005.
Darren Bradshaw: Before Boro’
Bradshaw’s career before Broadhall Way stretched back into the mid-1980s. An England Youth international in 1984, his career started at Sheffield Wednesday. But he found that a move into non-league with Matlock Town was needed in order to kickstart his career. And that it did; the defender turning out for clubs including York City and Newcastle United as the 80s became the 90s. And still his career took him around the Football League.
It wasn’t until 1997 when Rushden came calling that he’d step back into non-league; the Diamonds obviously with grand designs on stepping up to that level themselves. But it’d seem as if an achilles injury would bring his time at Nene Park at an end. After failing to regain his place in the team, Boro’ would provide the next step on his career path.