Retro: The Worksop Town star who turned down pro contract at Sheffield Wednesday

Worksop Town historian Steve Jarvis takes a look back at some famous names from the club’s history, with this week’s focus being Paul Leadbeater.

By Steve Jarvis
Saturday, 13th June 2020, 3:42 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th June 2020, 3:43 pm
Paul Leadbeater (centre row, fourth from left) played a key role during his time at Worksop Town.
Paul Leadbeater (centre row, fourth from left) played a key role during his time at Worksop Town.

Paul joined Eckington MW football club at the tender age of just 16, after several school and youth representative honours.

It was soon clear that his skills would take him further in the game and he moved to Sheffield FC.

Sheffield FC were then an amateur club, but after representing Sheffield & Hallamshire FA in a team made up primarily of players from United and Wednesday, including Howard Wilkinson and John Hickton, Paul also joined Sheffield Wednesday.

He joined as an amateur, making a number of appearances in the Central League.

In the spring of 1962 he was selected to play for England Amateur Youth against Scotland at Peterborough United and against Wales at Swindon Town.

In the England team alongside Paul were Paul Madeley, who was a long time servant of Leeds United, and David Pleat, who played for Nottingham Forest.

On the wing was Howard Wilkinson and at centre half was Eric Winstanley, a legend at Barnsley FC.

After a full season playing with both Sheffield Club and Wednesday reserves, the summer of 1963 was decision time for Paul.

A professional contract with Wednesday was on offer, but a better offer, to go part-time pro and earn from a full time job as well, came from Worksop Town.

At that point Paul, at the age of just 18, joined Worksop for the first of three spells with the club and made an instant impact, hitting no less than three hat-tricks against Denaby United. Denaby were beaten 7-1 at Tickhill Square in a Midland League game, 5-0 at Tickhill Square just over a week later in the F A Cup and 8-0 at Central Avenue in the Boxing Day fixture.

Paul played alongside the likes of Reece Nicholson, Brian Turner, Terry Glossop and Johnny Harrison in that season and finished as top scorer with 19 goals.

The following season Paul moved to Heanor Town for a season but returned at the start of what was to be a momentous 1965/6 season for Worksop Town.

Paul continued to be a scoring half back (midfielder), and amassed 37 goals that year, but was not even top scorer as Worksop’s rampaging forward line of Brian Sawyer, Alan Vest, Ken Bell, Paul Leadbeater and Brian Jenkinson scored over 150 goals between them to win the Midland League for the first time since 1922.

Paul stayed with Worksop until 1968/9 when he joined Matlock Town, but returned for a further spell in 1972.

He was involved with the club when they won the Midland League again in 1972/3.

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