It all adds up to success for maths wizard Peter Suddaby


From Shoot! magazine in the summer of 1980:

When a player is given a free transfer by a Third Division club, it invariably signals the end of the soccer road. For Peter Suddaby, the ‘free” handed to him by Blackpool last season meant the start of a new career in Division One with Brighton.

Peter’s been around the League scene for quite a while, but mainly in Division Two and Three with the Tangerines. At 30, he had no right to expect he’d be playing at Anfield and Old Trafford, apart from the odd ‘dream” Cup-tie.

Brighton manager Alan Mullery struggles for superlatives when speaking of Suddaby. “‘He may not be a big name,” says the Seagulls boss, “But Peter does it for me week in, week out. I know I can rely on him to turn in a good performance.”

For Suddaby, the First Division is a long way from the days of ten years ago when he wondered whether to make soccer his career or pursue and academic career.

He says: “‘1 hadn’t really thought too much about becoming a professional. Although I was born in England, most of my schooldays were in Wales and I spent three years at Swansea University. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics.

“I’d virtually decided that my future was as a teacher and I attended training college in Oxford for a year. During that spell I played as an amateur for Wycombe Wanderers in the Isthmian League.

“Wycombe are one of the top non-League clubs and scouts from the Football League are always at their games. I played for England as an amateur and I was obviously aware that I was under the spotlight.

“Brian Lee, Wycombe’s manager, kept me informed and told me Blackpool were interested. I signed for them as an amateur in the summer of 1970 and played a few games towards the end of 1970/71 when they were relegated from Division One.

“Looking back, I have no regrets apart, possibly, that I didn’t join a League club a couple of years earlier. On the other hand, I am happy that I finished my education. University life taught me a lot and developed my character.

“I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish playing. At the moment I’m just happy to be back in the First Division.”

Suddaby is just one of an evergrowing number of players who have been snapped up from non-League teams. Even his Brighton team~mate, Peter Ward, was bought from Burton Albion after being spotted by Peter Taylor during his spell at the Goldstone Ground,

The former Blackpool skipper was a major factor in Brighton establishing themselves in the First Division after a shaky start.

“We have enough good players to build on what we did last season,” says Suddaby. “We’ll all be a year more experienced and for many it was their first taste of Division One.

“The club think big and I’m delighted to be part of their success. I didn’t think I’d ever play in the First Division again, but now I’ve been given this chance I mean to make the most of it.”

Unfortunately, a slipped disc in May 1980 halted Suddaby’s progress. He was eventually released a year later, without playing part in the 1980/81 season. After six matches for Wimbledon, the central defender exited the League scene to teach maths at the American School in Uxbridge. He also coached and played for Isthmian League side Hayes.

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