Matt Healey continues the series.

Russell Bradley was born in Dudley on the 28th March 1966, he was signed from non league Kidderminster Harriers by Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest. Ian Bowyer was a former two time European Cup winner at Forest and after departing the City Ground became Hereford United manager in 1987.

Bowyer had a habit of returning to his former club to sign players on loan. The likes of Brett Williams, Alan Lamb and Darren Wassall had all made the journey from Nottingham Forest down to Edgar Street and following them Bowyer also signed a tall centre half by the name of Russell Bradley.

He joined Hereford on loan for a couple of spells during the 1988/1989 season. Bradley told us “I had quite a bad injury at Forest and needed some playing time and to gain a bit of first team experience I joined Hereford initially on loan” the following season he made the move permanent when Bowyer spent ¬£15,000 to bring him back to Edgar Street.

“When i signed permanently I moved to Hereford to live, the club was a well run family club, and had a great set of lads” Bradley was a member of the Welsh Cup winning team in 1990. His knock down from a Steve Devine cross set up Ian Benbow for the winning goal. Bradley speaks fondly of that afternoon in Cardiff “It was a very big stadium, great experience, and a well deserved victory in the end”

Jon Narbett was a little bit younger than Russell but knew of him around the Birmingham football scene “We played for the same boys club in Birmingham, we used to go away in the summer together on tours. When we signed for Hereford we lived together in a house near the old SAS camp, , he was a great player, very brave, he wasnt afraid to put his foot in”

During the 1990/1991 season Colin Addison took charge and this was Russell’s best season and saw him end the campaign crowned player of the year. Darren Peacock had departed to QPR a few months earlier, and Russell was the first choice centre half alongside the ever reliable club legend Mel Pejic.

Russell Bradley 1991 (c) MH Archive

John Sillett then took over as manager, and Russell departed to Halifax Town after only a few games in to the 1991-1992 season. Halifax were in the same league as Hereford, and both teams were similar in size.

The move was met with a bit of ridicule from Hereford fans when Russell at the time was quoted as saying “It was to further his career”. Russell though told us why he ended up moving to Yorkshire.

“I felt at the time Hereford was a bit of a footballing outpost, I had been player of the year the previous season and i didn’t feel the contract I had been offered was much of an improvement. There was a lot more financial gain moving up north”

Bradley became a Shayman and moved to Halifax Town for £45,000. A decent profit after being signed for £15,000. My own personal views on this are that I always find it strange when supporters criticise players for moving for more money. Football is a very precarious business and careers have ended in an instant, and to be honest would we turn down a pay rise at work? Bradley made over 100 appearances for Hereford United, and some of his goals you can view below.

Bradley spent two seasons at Halifax Town, and was part of the team that was sadly relegated to the Football League in 1993. Ironically it was Hereford who defeated them 1-0 in the final game, but due to Northampton beating Shrewsbury 3-2 at Gay Meadow the result was irrelevant to Halifax’s survival.

Bradley then moved to Scunthorpe and stayed at Glandford Park for four seasons. He even managed to score a couple of goals in front of the Meadow End when the Iron played at Edgar Street.

Departing Scunthorpe in 1997. Bradley then signed for Hartlepool United on loan, before signing for good during the 1997/1998 season.

He then moved back to the Midlands for the start of the 1998/1999 season, and played in the GM Vauxhall Conference for Hednesford Town, where he linked up with his old Hereford colleague Steve Devine.

After retiring from Football in the early 2000’s. Bradley now works in Derby as the Managing Director for a company called Global Energy Efficiency.