Defender Tom Broadbent has joined the South Shields ranks ahead of the Mariners’ first pre-season training session.
The club’s seventh signing of the summer has had a unique journey in football, as we explain with a closer look at the 30-year-old…
- Thomas William Broadbent – known as Tom – was born on February 15th, 1992 in Basingstoke, Hampshire
- He joined Southampton’s Academy at the age of 10 and also spent time in the youth set-ups at Portsmouth and Bournemouth
- Broadbent made his senior debut in National League South with Bognor Regis Town as a 16-year-old, and he also spent time with Chichester Town, Pagham and Selsey
- He had numerous jobs while continuing his football ambitions, including in a supermarket and as a labourer and carpenter, before joining the Army at the age of 19
- The 6ft 3in centre-back served as a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery, and among his postings was a five-month stint in Afghanistan in 2014
- Broadbent also represented the Army at football at Under-21s and senior level, and played in an Army vs FA Legends game at Reading FC, where he was coached by England legend Stuart Pearce
- During his time in the Army, he also played semi-professionally for Farnborough, Petersfield Town and Hayes & Yeading United, who he captained in the 2016-17 season
- He was nominated to take part in ceremonial duties at the 2017 FA Cup final, and handed out medals from the Royal Box at Wembley
- Broadbent left the Army in the summer of 2017 to pursue his football career and swiftly joined League One side Bristol Rovers, who his Armed Forces manager had recommended him to
- After one-and-a-half years and 36 appearances for Rovers, Broadbent switched to Swindon Town in January 2019
- He spent two-and-a-half years with Swindon, who he helped to the League Two title in his first half-season with the club
- Last season was spent in the National League with Eastleigh, who he represented 32 times
- After moving to his partner’s native North East this summer, Broadbent now has a new club and new challenge at South Shields
Imposing defender Tom Broadbent is the club’s latest summer signing after putting pen to paper ahead of the first day of pre-season training.
Manager Kevin Phillips has described the 30-year-old’s arrival as a “massive coup” for the Mariners, who return to training on Thursday morning.
Broadbent has somewhat of a unique football background, having spent time in the academies of Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth before a six-year stint in the Army.
The defender began playing semi-professional football with the likes of Farnborough, Petersfield Town and Hayes and Yeading United – who he captained – before leaving the Army to begin a career in professional football.
He spent one-and-a-half years with Bristol Rovers and two-and-a-half years at Swindon Town – making 68 Football League appearances in the process – and had a stint in the National League with Eastleigh last season.
After moving to his partner’s native North East this summer, Broadbent has now been attracted by the project at 1st Cloud Arena as his football journey continues.
The centre-back said: “I’m buzzing to be here.
“This is a club with great ambition and a big project, with the aim of getting promoted again and again, and I’m excited to be part of it.
“All the foundations are set and we just have to go out and do the business now.
“After meeting the management, I could see the ambition is there from everyone at the club.
“I looked at the signings the club had already made – I’ve played with and against some of them – so that played a big part and showed the ambition of the club.
“Now I’m just really looking forward to getting going.”
South Shields manager Kevin Phillips said: “This is another brilliant addition and we’re delighted to welcome Tom to South Shields.
“To attract a player of his calibre and playing pedigree is a massive coup for us as a club and we’re so pleased he has decided to join our journey as we strive to achieve promotion this season.
“I’d like to again thank (chairman) Geoff Thompson and everyone involved at the club for their backing to bring in such an important player.
“Tom clearly has good leadership qualities, which were developed during six years in the Army, and has exactly what we’re looking for in terms of that.
“He also brings lots of other qualities with his defensive abilities and the way he is able to influence the game in both boxes.
“Tom will be a massive player for us and I’m sure our fans will be very excited when they see him play.”