Ivor Broadis may not be a household name, but his contributions to English football cannot be overlooked. Revered in Wearside and the North East, Broadis enjoyed a stellar 19-year career, representing England 14 times. However, his footballing journey began after serving in the Royal Air Force during World War Two, where he completed hundreds of flying hours aboard Wellingtons and Lancasters.
After the war, Broadis found himself in Cumberland, where he caught the attention of Carlisle United and other prominent clubs, such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, as an amateur player. Grounded in his footballing ability, Carlisle offered him a groundbreaking position as player/manager at the tender age of 23, a record that still stands in the Football League.
During his three years at Carlisle, playing in the Third Division North, Broadis proved his worth, scoring an impressive 52 goals in 91 games. In 1949, he made history once more by exercising his right as player/manager to sell himself. Sunderland, known as the 'Bank of England Club' due to their significant spending power, eventually won the race for his signature, paying a staggering £18,000 for the forward.
The substantial fee not only secured a talented player for Sunderland but also helped Carlisle stay afloat during a financially challenging period. Broadis spoke about the pivotal transfer years later, noting the amount as "incredible" at the time. Despite earning £12 a week during his time at Sunderland, Broadis made a significant impact on the pitch, scoring 25 goals in 79 games.
Despite his contributions, Sunderland narrowly missed out on the title in 1950, finishing just one point behind winners Portsmouth. While Broadis may not be a household name today, his storied career and trailblazing accomplishments deserve recognition. English football owes a debt of gratitude to this unsung legend, who left an indelible mark on both Carlisle United and Sunderland.