Photo courtesy of JMS Photography
Huge congratulations to the club’s all-time record goal scorer, Les Bradd, on winning a Lifetime Achievement Award, the biggest honour of the night at the annual Nottingham Sports Awards.
The presentation came last of 15 awards and the identity of the recipient had been kept a closely-guarded secret.
So it was a clearly stunned Les Bradd who made his way from his seat at the East Midlands Conference Centre on to the stage, to be greeted by prolonged applause from hundreds of guests.
It would be a massive under-statement to say he was a popular choice.
Les was accompanied at the star-studded event by his two sons, Simon and Tim, and described the Lifetime Achievement Award as greater than any honours he won as a player.
The organisers gave Colin Slater the privilege of introducing the award and paying tribute to Les.
He recalled that Les was a 19-year-old centre forward with Rotherham United when, in August, 1967 they were drawn to play at Notts in the first round of the League Cup. He scored the only goal of the tie, to put Notts out of the competition.
But the-then Notts manager, Billy Gray, had seen enough to be convinced that here was a talent that would improve his squad and persuaded his directors to pay a fee for his services. The fee was £1,000!
Les made his Notts debut at the beginning of October, 1967 and scored on his fourth appearance.
“It was the first of 125 League goals which is, and probably will forever remain, a club record, on top of which he scored a dozen more in cup competitions. His goals helped Notts to the championship of the Fourth Division in 1971 under the iconic Jimmy Sirrel – and his scoring record has made him a living legend.”
Then Colin added this personal tribute: “He remains essentially the same person I first met all those years ago. You may have your own ideas what professional footballers are like. He doesn’t fit the stereotype. Untouched by fame or status he remains an unfailingly cheerful, courteous, modest, helpful and hugely popular figure as he now carries out his duties as Notts County’s Ambassador.”
Three More Awards!
Notts carried off three other major awards to round off a very satisfactory occasion.
• The Football in the Community Scheme won the Community Award in face of stiff competition.
Before Steve Hill, the FitC director, collected the award guests were told of four programmes which help people with mental health problems, including a dementia group working alongside the Alzheimer’s Society.
These programmes are delivered by coaching staff from the FiC team, including ex-player and manager Ian Richardson, with the support of Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust and the University of Nottingham.
• The Lady Pies were named Team of the Year, recognising their achievement in becoming the first professional women’s football team to play at Wembley in the Women’s FA Cup final and in providing seven players for England in the Euro qualifiers and four for the World Cup.
• And, in the opinion of the judges, one of the stars of the Lady Pies, Ellen White, came ahead of Notts goalkeeper Roy Carroll and Mansfield midfielder Jack Thomas to gain the accolade of Nottinghamshire Professional Footballer of the Year.