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Ray Mabbutt

comrade powell
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Post by Manchester Romans Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:18 pm

I see that our former midfielder Ray Mabbutt passed away yesterday. He played for us between 1972 and 1975, after a long career with Bristol Rovers. Although he is probably best known for being the father of Gary and Kevin Mabbutt, he was a tenacious midfielder in his own right. As a kid I remember being impressed that someone so short and old could still be such a good footballer! The obituary below is taken from the Rovers site:

b. 13.3.1936 Aylesbury d. 2.11.2016 Bristol
5’ 6”; 11 st WH
Début: 4.9.57 v Derby County

Career: Aylesbury Electricity
August 1953 Aylesbury United
May 1954 Oxford City (trial)
21.8.54 Spennymoor United
August 1955 Yorkshire Amateurs
1955 Bristol Rovers (professional, 11.8.56) [392 + 3, 27]
9.9.69 Newport County (free) [38 + 6, 14]
21.7.71 Trowbridge Town
17.7.72 Bath City
7.3.75 Clevedon Town
1.10.76 Frome Town (player/coach)
August 1977 Mangotsfield United
7.4.78 Clevedon Town (player/manager)
August 1980 Keynsham Town
1984 Harptree United (to 1985).

Reliable wing half, loyal club servant and talented footballer Ray Mabbutt enjoyed a long and successful career at Eastville.

Having represented Berkshire and Buckinghamshire at youth level and West Riding whilst in the Army, he played in military football alongside Eddie Colman, Albert Quixall and Tom Finney before joining Rovers for £9 per week.

He proved to be an exceptional signing, for he was still performing to a high standard over a decade later, having served the club through the majority of the glory years in Division Two and, following relegation in 1962, the seasons of re-establishing the side in third tier football. A solid, dependable wing half, Mabbutt was an ever present in 1959/60 and held together the half back line with wisdom, strength and skill.

Versatile, he played in goal after Howard Radford had left the field against Swansea in February 1961 and after Bernard Hall’s horrific injury against Middlesbrough on New Year’s Eve 1966; he was also used as a centre forward, when Rovers visited Northampton in October 1967 and responded with a hat trick in an astonishing 5-4 victory, Frank Large adding three of his own for the home side.

Fair on the field and a genuine sportsman, Mabbutt was awarded the Harry Bamford Trophy for Sportsmanship in 1964 65. Once a coach for Clifton Rugby Club, Mabbutt played in Division Four for Newport, contributing a brace of goals in the 5-1 victory over Bradford Park Avenue in November 1969, scored 11 goals in 48 matches with Trowbridge, captained Frome from his début in a 3-2 victory over Barnstaple in October 1976 and was still playing for West Harptree at the age of 47. By this stage, his second son Gary, who had left Rovers for Spurs, was already in the England side.

Ray Mabbutt was the son of Robert Frank Mabbutt (1911-82) and Annie Toms (1911-99), Robert being the son of Alfred John Mabbutt (1879-1955) and Mary Ann Norman (1883-1934), Alfred re-marrying Katherine Worth in 1944.

Ray married Avis Blake in Aylesbury in 1957 and they had three sons who were brought up in Dormer Road, next to the Eastville Stadium, Kevin of Bristol City, Gary of Rovers, and Philip, who died at the age of three, Kevin having three daughters and Gary two. Ray later re-married Barbara and their daughter Sally worked in public relations.

Ray Mabbutt wrote ‘You can be a Soccer Star’, but his career lay in the world of insurance broking and he worked for many years for Investors Planning Associates in Queen Square, Bristol, before retiring to live in Winford.


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Post by comrade powell Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:51 pm

Thanks for that - I was away at college during his 3 years with us so I hardly saw him play but I see from the archive that he made over 100 appearances.
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Post by LB Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:37 pm

I remember him playing for us in the early 70s and have to agree with Manchester Romans' comments and those in the obituary.

If I remember correctly he got the first ever booking of his career during his time with City, one of those 'take one for the team' moments I seem to recall.


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Post by SteveS Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:58 am

I remember a season in the 70's where we were at the bottom of the league at the start of the season but went on a tremendous run. We went to Andover needing to win to gain promotion. I was there with my Dad and we battered them but could not score until late in the game someone (can't remember who but maybe Junior will tell me) let fly with a tremendous shot from range that flew into the net and we won 1 - 0.
It was an evening game and there were wild celebrations after in the bar after with the players and officials. Ray did not play that night but was in the squad and I always remember going outside and he was there sorting the kit out and getting it loaded onto the coach.
I aways remembered that, whilst everyone else was celebrating he was just getting on and sorting something out that was not really his job. That is how I remember him, not someone looking for the headlines but quietly getting on with what needed doing on and off the pitch. He always seemed a gentleman.


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Post by kermit Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:34 pm

Tony Gough scored. That was my 1st 'season' watching City (73-74) after leaving my home town of Wembley. Some great matches that season. I'm sure our fortunes improved once I started watching!
Remember going down to Andover on the supporters coach (didn't have a car in those days), and being overtaken by a steady stream of cars full of City supporters.
Happy daze.

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Post by Luton Roman Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:58 pm

Yes I remember celebrating that win with my Dad at home. Unusual fact, we had played them 3 days before in the League as well winning 5 nil.

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Post by danver Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:20 am

One of my favourites in his Eastville days, fearless tackler, though a good number of his tackles left HIM unconscious. Never saw him get angry, or contest decisions, and when he lost his midfield place, he was pressed into service as a centre forward! Never worked that one out, one of the more peculiar Bert Tann experiments, though he did get a few goals.


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