Death threat to soccer star’s family

From the Evening Argus on 30th August 1970:

barrybridgesdeaththreat

Police were today guarding the Easthourne home of football star Barry Bridges after he received a threat that his two young sons would be killed unless he paid £5,000. At his detached house in King’s Drive today Bridges, capped four times for England and last season’s leading goalscorer for Queen’s Park Rangers, said the threat had been made in a letter sent to him yesterday morning. “It simply said that unless I paid the money my two sons would be killed. It said I would be getting more details later. So far I haven’t heard any more.

“The letter was typewritten on paper that looks like it was torn out of a notebook. It was very badly typed. I received a telephone call last night but when I answered it the caller did no reply. So I put it down and haven’t heard anything since.

The Bridges have two sons, Mark, aged seven, and Andrew, aged four.

Bridges said that other telephone calls have been made to his house while he and his wife Irena were out. They were received by the children’s many, 16 year-old Sandra Green, who lives in with the family.

He said other calls had been received at the New Wilmington Hotel in Wilmington Terrace, Eastbourne, in which the Bridges have an interest.

“We can’t afford to take any chances. We are keeping the children in for a few days,” he said.

“I think it is the work of young people doing it for kicks. They have read about death threats to Bobby Moore’s wife and Bobby Charlton’s wife: I think they are jumping on the bandwagon. But it’s a bit worrying all the same.

“On the other hand, if it is someone’s idea of a prank then they want their heads tested.”

His Polish wife Irena said if somebody wanted to get hold of the children they would have had plenty of opportunity in recent few days.

She said: “Barry has been busy with football and I have just opened a new boutique so we have not seen much of the children lately. They have been going out a lot while on holiday.”

I’m not sure whether it relates to this story. However, a month later, Bridges moved from QPR to Millwall. I’m unsure whether he moved house. Two years on, in September 1972, Pat Saward signed the ex-England striker for Brighton & Hove Albion, in a club record £29,000 deal. Here he is in action against Aston Villa in a creditable draw during his Brighton debut that month:

astonvilla-a-bridges

Unfortunately, the Albion fans did not see the best of Bridges, although he began to show a great run of form towards the end of 1973/74, before he was released. Subsequently, he had a spell playing in South Africa before returning to Sussex to run New Wilmington Hotel in Eastbourne.

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