Sheldon Bradshaw (1949-2021): ‛Gentle giant’ who was hard as a rock
A “gentle giant” who played the beautiful game hard but fair and was respected by his peers.
These are the sentiments from those paying tribute to goalkeeper Sheldon “Bully Beef” Bradshaw, who died last Tuesday from illness at age 72.
Blessed with exceptional athletic ability, Bradshaw’s early development began grooming his skills at West End Primary School and later the former Churchill School (now known as CedarBridge Academy).
He later joined Somerset Trojans, where his career really took flight, helping the club secure numerous league and cup successes in the late 1960s to become famously known as “Silver City”.
“When Bully Beef came over to the Trojans he was like a quiet giant; he never said too much,” Larry Hunt, the former Somerset defender, said. “He was patient, just waiting for his turn because Tango [Clyde Burgess] had the No 1 spot at the time and once he got his spot, that was it.
“He was solid as a rock. Nobody would not run into Bully because if you did, he would knock you down like a wall.
“Even though we had a great team, I think without Bully Beef we would not have been as good. It was always something in a game that he did outstanding.”
Lionel “Baldy” Smith, the former Trojans striker, added: “Sheldon was a very good player, one of the good goalkeepers for Somerset and a nice gentleman to be with. He was very nice and had a good personality and everything.
“His positioning as a goalkeeper made him stand out. He knew where to be at the right time because he was a good reader of the game also.
“Sheldon was a part of our Triple Crown-winning team [League, FA Cup, Friendship Trophy[ and was also with us when we went to Jamaica to play in the Concacaf tournament.”
Bradshaw also had stints with Warwick United, North Village and Vasco.
“Bully Beef was a big, strong man,” El James, the former Warwick striker, said. “He could have hurt a lot of people, but he played the game fair.
“He played the game clean; he never tried to intentionally hurt anybody or do anything like that.
“He was always a gentleman. His thoughts were always clean and I admired that about him. I used to call him a gentle giant.
“He was a gentleman, but he played hard. He was a good goalkeeper and I haven’t seen too many like him.”
Wendell Trott, the former North Village central defender, agreed.
“Bradshaw gave us something extra at North Village,” Trott said.
“He was a good goalkeeper who just made everything look easy and you could always depend on him.”
Larry Darrell, the former Vasco captain, said: “Sheldon Bradshaw was a gentle giant. A real quiet fellow who was a pleasure to play with.
“Sheldon and I became good friends and I actually scored the first goal in my career against him during the 1969-70 playing for Social Club against Somerset.”
Darrell and Bradshaw were recently among five players who had scholarships named in their honour as part of the Bermuda Football Association Legends Scholarship Awards programme.
“The Bermuda Football Association sends its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Sheldon ‘Bully Beef’ Bradshaw,“ Mark Wade, the BFA president, said.
“Mr Bradshaw was honoured this year as a 2021 BFA Legend, which resulted in T’Syi Showers receiving a scholarship.
“Mr Bradshaw was a family man and was thankful to be a part of the opportunity to assist young members of the community.
“The BFA is grateful for the role Mr Bradshaw played in football in Bermuda.”
Bradshaw’s talents were not limited to the domestic football landscape, as he also represented Bermuda on the international stage.
“I was in the national squad with Bully Beef in 1971 when Billy Fisher was the national coach,” Barry DeCouto, the former Academicals, Hotels International, Southampton Rangers and Somerset goalkeeper, said.
“He always had a great attitude and we had good times together. He was also my room-mate when we travelled to Mexico for a match.
“Bermuda has lost a true goalkeeping legend. May he rest in peace.”