Obituary: Laurie Sheffield, footballer
Laurie Sheffield, who has died at 82, was one of Doncaster Rovers’ greatest and most prolific strikers, who helped the team to the Division Four championship in the 1965-66 season. With an average of better than a goal every other game, he was one of the region’s most potent strikers ever.
Born in Swansea, he had spells with Bristol Rovers and Barry Town before launching his League career with the struggling Newport County. In three seasons there he scored 44 League goals in 91 games – a record which prompted Doncaster’s manager, Bill Leivers, to sign him in the summer of 1965.
He was an instant hit, scoring twice on his debut and forming a devastating partnership with the veteran Alick Jeffrey. Sheffield contributed 28 of the 50 League goals the pair scored between them on their way to the team’s first promotion in 16 years.
But in November 1966, after contributing seven goals in the first 15 League games in Division Three, Sheffield was controversially sold to Norwich City for £12,000.
He marked his Norwich debut with a hat-trick against Derby County and subsequently moved on to Rotherham United, Oldham Athletic and Luton Town, where he continued to be a prolific scorer.
In October 1969 he returned to Rovers, scoring on his return appearance, a 3-1 win at Walsall. However, it was an anticlimactic comeback and at the end of the season he moved on to Peterborough United, where he ended his career.
In total, he scored 49 goals in 85 appearances for Doncaster.
Sheffield made his home in the town and was a regular visitor to Belle Vue and the Keepmoat Stadium. In later years, he took up walking football, playing for Doncaster’s Retro Rovers team and turning out for them in a competition at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.