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BRADLEY Stoke Town FC have a new player this sea­son with the per­fect name – Bradley Stokes.

The 23-year-old, who grad­u­ated from UWE Bris­tol af­ter study­ing busi­ness and mar­ket­ing, is not orig­i­nally from the city, of which Bradley Stoke is a sub­urb.

But it is not a co­in­ci­dence he joined Bradley Stoke – he signed up purely be­cause of the name.

On leav­ing uni­ver­sity, the cen­tre­half, who works for HL Train­ing Ser­vices, de­cided to find a foot­ball club for a hobby.

He said: “I knew there was an area called Bradley Stoke, so I Googled it to see if they had a foot­ball team be­cause I thought that would be cool.”

There was – Bradley Stoke Town FC, who play in the Bris­tol and Dis- trict League Se­nior Di­vi­sion. Bradley called up the team and ar­ranged to watch a re­serve game be­fore sign­ing on. When he told the club sec­re­tary his name, though, he thought it was a joke.

Bradley said: “He asked to see my ID be­fore fill­ing in the sign­ing-on forms.”

And there was more laugh­ter when Bradley was in­tro­duced to his new team­mates in the chang­ing room. He said: “Most of them just started laugh­ing at me, to be hon­est. They couldn’t be­lieve it. I sup­pose it is a bit weird.”

But since then, Bradley has set­tled in nicely and says they have all been very wel­com­ing.

Man­ager Jon Welsh, who also thought it was all a joke at first, said when he sent the scor­ers’ names into the league he was ex­pect­ing them to flag it up, but no one had ques­tioned it so far. He added: “Bradley is a great lad and has set­tled in very well on and off the field.”

Bradley is, of course, the first name on the teamsheet each week, whether he is play­ing or not.

Bradley says he has no re­grets on join­ing the club of his name, and all the play­ers have be­come his friends.

The sea­son has gone well so far, with Bradley scor­ing five goals and the team sit­ting in fourth place.

He said: “I guess I am just in the right place at the right time.”

With a name like that, he most def­i­nitely is.

Most of the play­ers just started laugh­ing at me – they couldn’t

be­lieve it BRADLEY STOKES

There was only one lo­ca­tion in mind when Bradley Stokes waslook­ing for a club to play for

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