Jimmy Leadbetter

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Jimmy Leadbetter
0Full Name James Hunter Leadbetter
0Date of Birth 15 July 1928
0Place of Birth Edinburgh, Scotland
0Position Left winger
0Chelsea career 1949-1952
0Debut 12 April 1952
0Games (goals) 3 (0)
0Other clubs Brighton & Hove Albion
Ipswich Town

James Hunter "Jimmy" Leadbetter (15 July 1928 – 18 July 2006) was a Scottish winger who spent three seasons at Chelsea from 1949, but made just three appearances for the club; all during the 1951-52 season. He went on to play for Brighton & Hove Albion, and Ipswich Town, where he had notable success.


Leadbetter was born in Edinburgh on 15 July 1928, the son of a local garage owner. He played for several non-league clubs in the immediate post-war years before signing for Chelsea in 1949. He failed to claim a regular place in the first team, with his three appearance coming in the 1951-52 season, not long before he left for Brighton and Hove Albion as part of the deal that took John McNichol to Stamford Bridge.[1]

He appeared regularly at the Goldstone Ground, achieving a goals-per-game ratio of 1 in 4; the Scot establishing himself as one of the best wingers outside the First Division. In 1955 he signed for Ipswich Town, then in the Football League Third Division South. He continued his fine form at Portman Road and helped Ipswich win the division title in 1957, winning promotion to the Second Division. In 1961, Leadbetter helped Ipswich claim promotion to the First Division, just 23 years after joining the Football League. Ipswich won the league championship in their first season in the top flight (a season in which Leadbetter's former club Chelsea were relegated), but manager Alf Ramsey left in April 1963 to take charge of the England team. His successor Jackie Milburn was unable to maintain Ipswich's form, and in 1964 they were relegated back to the Second Division, with Leadbetter retiring at the end of the season. He remains the only Scottish footballer to win English 3rd, 2nd and 1st Division championship medals with the same club. He later managed non-league Sudbury Town, and returned to his native Edinburgh in 1986. He worked for The Scotsman Publications for the following 20 years.

Leadbetter died on 18 July 2006, three days after his 78th birthday. He was survived by his wife and daughter.


Season League FA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1951-52 3 0 0 0 3 0
Total 3 0 0 0 3 0

Career honours

Ipswich Town
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