Former Halifax Town player Keith Bambridge has died, aged 85

Keith Bambridge. Photo: Johnny MeynellKeith Bambridge. Photo: Johnny Meynell
Keith Bambridge. Photo: Johnny Meynell
Former Halifax Town inside forward Keith Bambridge has died, aged 85.

Pocket-sized Bambridge – he was only 5ft 5in tall – was signed as a part-time professional by Second Division Rotherham United in February 1955, and given something of a baptism of fire when handed his league debut in a South Yorkshire derby at Barnsley the following September.

Recognised in his early days as an orthodox left-winger, ‘Bambi’ scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on 22 October 1955 and went on to spend over eight years at Millmoor, making 162 league appearances and scoring 15 goals.

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National Service kept him out of the side for the best part of two seasons but in 1960-61 he was a key member of the side which reached the two-legged final of the inaugural League Cup competition, when the Millers faced First Division Aston Villa. The final was held over until the beginning of the following season, and though Rotherham won the first leg 2-0 on 22 October 1961 they went down 3-0 at Villa Park two weeks later to lose on aggregate.

Out of the side during the 1964-65 season, Bambridge joined Fourth Division Darlington but had made only seven league appearances for them when he joined Halifax Town in March 1965.

He immediately took his place in the side at inside-right for the visit of Millwall, filling in for Brian Westlake, who was getting married.

The following season Bambridge forever wrote himself into the record books when he became the first substitute used by the club when he replaced injured Jeff Lee in the 37th minute of Town’s 3-0 defeat at Stockport County on 27 August 1965.

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Despite being an intelligent player, Bambridge never commanded a regular place in the side but he did at least reserve his only goal for the match against Darlington, his former club, diverting a Westlake free-kick beyond the keeper to help secure a 2-2 draw on 3 September 1965.

He was released at the end of the 1965-66 season having made ten first team appearances for the Shaymen, and went on to become a draughtsman, living and working in Rotherham. Bambridge was also a useful table tennis player.