Manchester City FC

Lee Bradbury - Manchester City FC - Biography at Man City.

Photo/Foto: Dave Pinegar

Date: 22 August 1997

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      Thursday, 03 July 1975
      Isle of Wight, England.
  • Manchester City FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 9th August 1997 in a 2-2 draw at home to Portsmouth (Aged: 22)
    • Club Career
      34 League apps (+6 as sub), 10 goals
  • Portsmouth FC
    • Club Career Dates
      1995-1997, 1999-2004
    • League Debut
      Wednesday, 30th August 1995 in a 4-2 defeat at Leicester City (Aged: 20)
    • Club Career
      (During two spells)
      131 League apps (+22 as sub), 43 goals
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Lee BRADBURY - Manchester City FC - Biography at Man City.


 Isle of Wight-born striker Lee Bradbury's entrance into professional football was by anything but the conventional route, the 20 year-old being bought by Portsmouth in 1995 for just £500 from his local non-league club Cowes only two years after buying himself out of the British Army. After a successful 1996/97 season, during which he scored 15 league goals and appeared for the England Under-21 team, Bradbury had a host of clubs on his trail but eventually decided to move north to join Division One Manchester City, whose manager Frank Clark decided to break the club's transfer record when he forked out £3 million to secure his services.


Ironically he made his debut on the opening day of the 1997/98 season against his old club Portsmouth in a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Maine Road, but with no wins in the first four league games and a League Cup exit on penalties at the hands of Blackpool the early-season optimism was beginning to evaporate. With the burden of a large fee on his shoulders Bradbury had to wait until mid-September to get his first goal for the Blues, notching the opening goal of the game in a 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City which sent the team perilously close to the relegation zone. Things did improve the following week when Bradbury was on target once again in a 6-0 home romp against Swindon Town, but the very next game he suffered a back strain in a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich Town which was to keep him out for almost four months as he struggled to return to full fitness. By the time he made his comeback in a 2-2 draw at home to Charlton Athletic at the end of January the team sat one place above the relegation zone and had been knocked out of the FA Cup in a 2-1 loss at home to West Ham.


Three weeks later, after goalless draws with Tranmere Rovers and Norwich City were followed by a 1-0 loss at home to Bury, manager Frank Clark was sacked and replaced by ex-Everton and Oldham boss Joe Royle. Three wins from four games ensued, with Bradbury on the mark in a 3-1 win at Swindon Town, and the club climbed to seventeenth place in the table. A disastrous March, however, saw them return into the bottom three and on the last day of the season they needed to win at Stoke City and have the other results go their way to avoid the drop. Despite a 5-2 victory, with Bradbury grabbing one of the goals, it was not enough to save them as the club were relegated into the third-tier of English football for the first time in it's history, Lee having scored 7 goals from 27 appearances in an injury-ravaged season. The fans had become understandably frustrated and Bradbury was the object of some derision, the general feeling being that it was not a satisfactory goal return for the amount of money which had been spent.



The 1998/99 Division Two season got underway with Lee immediately on the scoresheet on the very first day in a 3-0 home win over Blackpool, but the rest of the month of August remained winless as the team were struggling to adapt to the more robust football of the lower divisions. Three straight wins over Walsall (3-1), Bournemouth (2-1) and Macclesfield Town (1-0) took them into the the top six, but although Bradbury got City's goals to secure 1-1 draws with both Chesterfield and Millwall it was in the middle of a five-game run without a win which left the team outside the play-off places. After playing in a 2-1 away loss at Lincoln City on October 20th manager Royle received a bid of £1.5 million for Bradbury from Crystal Palace, which he decided to accept in order to strengthen his squad, and the player left Maine Road having made 46 appearances (including 6 as a substitute) and scoring 11 goals in a disappointing fourteen months with the club.



Less than a year later Bradbury returned to his former club Portsmouth and subsequently went on to play for a number of clubs. He had loan spells with Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County and also penned permanent deals at Walsall, Oxford United, Southend United and Bournemouth. (David Redshaw)