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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: Alick Jeffrey
Alick Jeffrey (29 Jan 1939 – 22 Nov 2000)
Probably the greatest ever professional footballer to play for Doncaster Rovers, striker Alick went on to the verge of a glorious England career before a broken leg put pay to that. Alick made nearly 300 appearances in the Football League, scoring over 100 goals, and was the first player to represent England at every possible level below full international.
Born in Rawmarsh, Jeffrey made his senior debut for Doncaster Rovers against Fulham in 1954, at the tender age of just 15 years and 229 days.
Between 1954 and 1957 King Alick scored a prolific 34 goals in 71 games for Doncaster Rovers Football Club.
The late Sir Stanley Matthews said of Alick: "I predict that he can become one of the greatest inside forwards in the game. His play bears the stamp of genius." While Jackie Milburn, the former Newcastle United and England forward said: "This boy has everything. He is by far the best youngster I have ever seen.
Jeffrey then had agreed a move to Manchester United when he sustained a badly broken leg playing for England U23 v France in October 1956.
Manchester United legend, Sir Matt Busby, the builder of the world-famous Busby Babes team had told the skilled teenager on the eve of that fateful game: "I will come and get you in time." It never happened. Nobby Stiles recalls that Jeffrey's arrival at Old Trafford was considered a formality. "Everyone knew he was special," the World Cup winner says.
He had already given Jeffrey £200 - a huge amount as a sign of his intention to soon smash the record transfer fee for a teenager. After breaking his leg, Jeffrey called Busby to ask him if he wanted his money back. Busby said, "No, lad, get well as soon as you can - and buy something nice for your mother". Jeffrey bought his mother a state-of-the-art washing machine.
He was forced to retire due to that injury in 1957 and was awarded £4,000 in compensation with Doncaster Rovers collecting £15,000.
An attempted comeback with Skegness Town in August 1959, ended when he broke his leg again on his debut.
Jeffrey then moved to Australia, and began his long road back to professional football with Sydney Prague in 1961 and Auburn in 1962. Later that same year, he returned to England to play non-league football with Skegness Town before finally returning to professional football with Doncaster Rovers in December 1963.
Between 1963 and 1969 King Alick scored a further 95 goals in 191 games for Doncaster Rovers Football Club including an astonishing 36 goals in the 1964-65 season from 46 starts and finding a further 22 the following season as Donny clinched the Division Four championship.
He also played in the Football League with Lincoln City, before playing non-league football with Worksop Town in 1970.
He had beautiful balance and scored spectacular goals. He scored a winning goal in an epic FA Cup duel with Aston Villa when six matches were played in 17 days.
After retiring, Alick became the larger than life landlord of the Black Bull pub in the Market Place, Doncaster where football fans from across the country would drop in for a pint and a chat about the old times.
When he died at the age of 61 in November 2000, the town came to a standstill for one of the biggest funerals Doncaster had ever seen - thousands of mourners packing into Belle Vue, just like they did in Alick's heyday to roar him on from the stands, to pay their respects to a footballing great.
His son Alick Junior was on the books of Doncaster Rovers as a player between 1975 & 1977 but never made the first team. He did work later in the commercial department at DRFC.
Read some tributes by fans to Alick Jeffrey here and leave your own.
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