Brian Godfrey 1940 - 2010

11 February 2010 10:39
Following a long battle with Leukaemia Brian Godfrey, who made 127 league apps for PNE between 1963-1967, passed away earlier this morning at the age of 69. Brian Cameron Godfrey was born on 1 May 1940 in Flint, Wales. Godfrey had a trial with Wrexham and a junior with Chester and Tranmere before joining Flint Alexandra.   Godfrey joined Everton in May 1958 but only made one appearance for the club in 1959/60 season. This was his only ever appearance in the First Division.   In June 1960 Godfrey joined Second Division Scunthorpe. His debut for the club was at Charlton on 20 August 1960 and scored on his home debut five days later against Ipswich in a 4-0 win.    Scunthorpe finished 4th in 1960/61 to achieve their highest ever position and Godfrey received a Welsh Under-23 cap, the first by a Scunthorpe player. The following season Scunthorpe finished 9th   His 87th and last league game for the Irons was on 21 September 1963 in a 1-1 draw. Godfrey had scored 24 goals for the club.   Godfrey joined Preston for a fee of £8,000 and made his debut on 2 November 1963 in a 3-0 win at Northampton. In his first season Godfrey scored 5 goals in 11 appearances. Although he scored in the FA Cup Quarter Final victory over Oxford, Alec Ashworth took the number 8 shirt for the FA Cup Final.   The 1964/65 season saw Godfrey strike a formidable partnership with former Busby Babe Alex Dawson as they scored 51 league goals between them during the season. His 25 goals saw Godfrey scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win at Ipswich and a brace on six occasions.   Godfrey received three Welsh caps, all of them whilst at Preston. He scored on his debut against Northern Ireland in April 1964. His second came in October 1964 in Denmark and scored on his final international appearance against Italy in May 1965.   The following season Godfrey was the top scorer with 17 league goals. This included the fastest ever hat-trick for a PNE player, in less than 5 minutes, when Cardiff was beaten 9-0 on the last day of the 1965/66 season.   The 1966/67 season saw Godfrey’s 50th league goal in a 3-0 win at home to Birmingham on 17th September 1966 and his 100th league appearance on 5 November 1966 in a 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield.   Godfrey’s final appearance in a Preston shirt after 127 league appearances and 52 goals was a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on 9 September 1967. Godfrey then signed for Aston Villa for a fee of £55,000 and scored on his debut. His first season with Villa was his most prolific scoring 13 goals from 35 matches in all competitions and had scored 18 goals from the first 17 matches with Brian Greenhalgh who had transferred from Preston at the same time as Godfrey. Villa was relegated to the Third Division for the first time in their history at the end of the 1969/70 season but the following season Godfrey was captain as the Third Division side reached the final of the League Cup in February 1970 only to lose 2-0.   In total Godfrey made 143 league appearances for Villa, scoring 22 goals before transferring to Bristol Rovers in May 1971 for a fee of £35,000 and Ray Graydon in part-exchange.   On 4 September 1971 Godfrey scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 win against Bristol City. The 1972/73 season saw Rovers win the Watney Cup in August and beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in a League Cup replay in October.   After scoring 16 goals in 81 league games Godfrey joined Newport County for a record fee at the time of £10,000 in June 1973. He was an ever-present in his first season for Newport scoring a hat-trick against Workington. Godfrey left Newport at the end of the 1974/75 season after scoring 14 goals in 118 league appearances before crossing the Atlantic with a short spell with Portland Timbers.   He became player-manager at Bath City in July 1976 and won the Southern League Championship in 1977/78.   He succeeded Bobby Saxton as Manager of Exeter in January 1979 helping the club to reach the FA Cup Sixth Round in 1980/81 and beat First Division Leicester along the way. Godfrey resigned as manager in June 1983.   Godfrey had been manager of Weymouth and Bath for a second time before winning the Southern League Midlands title with Gloucester City in 1988/89 and reached the FA Cup Second Round in 1989/90.   Following the break up of his side due to financial problems in 1991 he was sacked but returned again in February 1992 before leaving in April 1994.   Godfrey remained in football with Shortwood United and Cinderford Town before becoming a scout for Newport AFC. Godfrey retuned again to Gloucester City to be assistant manager to Tommy Callinan and Chris Burns.   Godfrey retired at the end of the 2002/03 season and moved to Cyprus and was rewarded with a testimonial between Gloucester City and Aston Villa on 4 August 2004.   It was at a hospital near his home in Cyprus were Brian Godfrey passed away in the early hours of 11 February 2009 following a long battle with Leukaemia.