Death of Doncaster Rovers’ ‘boy wonder’

Alick Jeffrey - the club's greatest ever player.
Alick Jeffrey - the club's greatest ever player.

Alick Jeffrey, the boy wonder who went on to become Doncaster Rovers best known player, died 17 years ago this month, while on holiday with his wife in Spain.

Hundreds of Rovers fans turned out for the Belle Vue funeral of the sports star whose life was blighted by accident and injury.

NEWS

Alick Jeffrey senior's coffin is carried onto the Belle Vue pitch, watched by family and friends and other mourners.

NEWS Alick Jeffrey senior's coffin is carried onto the Belle Vue pitch, watched by family and friends and other mourners.

Many wept openly at the public service held prior to a private family cremation service at Rose Hill.

Alick’s talent had been evident at a very young age and he played for Rotherham, Yorkshire and England Boys.

He was only 15 when he first appeared for Rovers in a 4-0 win over Fulham, in September 1954.

Manchester United soon agreed a deal for the teenager who scored twice for England Schoolboys against Scotland.

On one occasion, Stanley Matthews said ‘the boy showed genius’. And in October 1956 Alick was told by Matt Busby that he would be a Manchester United player “very soon”. It was not to be. That same day, of an U23 England international game with France, Alick broke his leg badly in two places and was forced to retire. He did receive compensation from the FA as he was on international duty when he suffered the injury that threatened his career and livelihood.

He later spent time in Australia and returned to professional football and the Rovers in 1963, achieving 95 goals in 191 games before a 1966 car smash again stopped play and recovery took some time. Club captain John Nicholson was killed in the crash.

In 1969 Alick moved to Lincoln City, and he ended his career playing at Worksop Town.

He spent his final years as a pub landlord in Doncaster centre’s Black Bull pub, following a stint at The Fox in Stainforth.

Made a club president by John Ryan, Alick Jeffrey remained a Rovers’ legend and his life story was written by a former news editor at the Doncaster Free Press, Peter Whittell.

There is a road outside the Keepmoat Stadium named after the footballer.