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Peter was the Ronaldo of his day... but Alzheimer's has robbed him of every memory; NEW BOOK REVEALS SAD DAYS OF FOOTBALL HERO.

Byline: BY LORNE JACKSON

FOOTBALLERS who graced the pitch during the game's golden era never bagged big bucks.

But at least they were left with a blaze of dazzling memories.

That isn't the case for one of the Midland's finest.

Wolverhampton Wanderers star Peter Broadbent is suffering from Alzheimer's.

Fans continue to talk in awed whispers about his feats on the pitch.

But, for the man himself, a mist has descended over all those memories of the magic of Molineux.

The tragic irony is that the cult of Peter The Great is set for a boost, courtesy of a new book out this week.

Peter Broadbent A Biography is written by long-time Wolves fan, Steve Gordos.

"He was definitely one of England's greatest ever players," says Steve.

"I remember watching him play in the '50s and '60s. When he got the ball a genuine feeling of expectation ran round the ground.

"You would actually here people whispering 'Ooooh'.

"With just a drop of his shoulder, he could beat his man. And his passes were as accurate as David Beckham while he had all the tricks of a Joe Cole.

"But he was also very commanding on the pitch. "

Last week, it was announced that Manchester United superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, is to stay with the club for the incredible sum of pounds 31 million over five years.

Midfielder Peter was the Ronaldo of his day.

He certainly had the creativity but not the cash.

"When Peter started playing the maximum wage was pounds 20," said Steve.

"By the end of his career he would probably have been receiving about pounds 40 or pounds 50 a week.

"But he was an intelligent man, and did well in business outside of his career, opening a baby wear shop and a grocers."

The new book covers all of Peter's glory years, which included three championships and an FA Cup victory in 1960

It is also packed with stunning photographs of him in action.

Unfortunately these days, Peter, who is now 73, is in a care home just outside Wolverhampton.

His wife Shirley, 72, visits him every day. "It's very sad to see him like he is now," she told the Sunday Mercury.

"He doesn't speak now, just makes noises. I know that he can't get any better, but I just love to see him.

"I took the book down for him to look at. He looked at the cover and it didn't seem to register.

"But then he wouldn't let it go. He just carried it about with him."

Shirley is now reading the book herself and thinks it is a fitting tribute to the footballing life of her husband.

"I think it is lovely," she says.

"Peter really is a great man. There isn't one person I know who has a bad thing to say about him.

"I still get fans coming up and talking to me all the time.

"His old team mates also visit him, but I think it is very hard for them to see him this way."

Unlike today's pound pummelled professionals, Peter never became a millionaire playing the game that he loved.

Shirley explained why that never made the couple bitter.

"We had a wonderful life through football," she says. "It really was. Life isn't just about money.

"I remember we once bumped into George Best in Majorca. And he was just thrilled to see Peter! Like a schoolboy meeting his hero. George had supported Wolves as a boy and Peter was one of his favourite players.

"Peter was very laid back and relaxed, but George was so excited."

And Steve hopes his new book will guarantee that nobody forgets the incredible skills that made Peter Broadbent one of the greatest players of all time.

Or the solid character which made him so many friends on and off the pitch.

Steve said: "He was always a modest bloke. And everyone who knew him before the Alzheimer's set in said that he was a lovely fellow.

"Hopefully this book will help to keep that memory alive. But it would also be nice if the club could name something after Peter, commemorate his career.

"Because, for a whole generation of Wolves fans, he really was the greatest player on the planet."

Peter Broadbent A Biography is published by Breedon Books and is priced at pounds 12.99.

lornejackson @mrn.co.uk

BROADBENT FACTFILE:

Born: Elvington, Kent, May 15, 1933.

Professional career: Signed for Brentford aged 17 and joined Wolves in 1951 for pounds 10,000.

Within a month was in the first team and stayed with the club until 1965. Won six caps for England.

Wolves highlights: In 1953/54, Wolves won first of three league titles with Peter in team and he netted 12 goals in that season.

Goals scored: 121 in the league; 10 in the FA Cup; seven in the European Cup.

Other teams: Also played for Aston Villa, Stockport and Bromsgrove Rovers, before finally retiring in 1 971.

CAPTION(S):

ALZHEIMER'S: Wolves legend Peter Broadbent now lives in a care home, remembering little if anything of his glorious career; FAN... author Steve Gordos rates Broadbent as one of England's finest-ever players
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2007
Words:865
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