Laurie Sheffield joined the Rovers in the summer of 1965 having already established himself as a goal scorer during a three year stay at Newport County where he had broken the post war goal scoring record, scoring 27 goals during the 1964/65 season and in total scored 46 in 91 appearances for County.
His arrival at Belle Vue saw him team up with Alick Jeffrey in what is still one of Rovers’ most deadly strike forces. Laurie’s impact was immediate, making his debut against Lincoln City at Belle Vue on the opening day of the season; he scored twice as Rovers won 4-0.
Sheffield was outstanding all season and constantly among the goals with him and Jeffrey scoring a missive 50 league goals between them, with Laurie claiming the lion’s share of 28 to finish as the clubs leading goal scorer. His goals fired the team to the top places in division four, and in a close run in, the Rovers clinched the championship and promotion.
The following season started brightly until the tragic car accident that took the life of defender John Nicholson shook the club. The team began to struggle for results but Laurie still continued to find the net regularly and I came as a great surprise to everyone when he joined Norwich in November 1966 for a fee of £12,000. It caused uproar among Rovers fans who were angry at seeing one of the clubs most prized possessions depart, especially as he had already scored 14 goals that season, in just 21 appearances.
He notched a hat trick for Norwich on his debut and was a regular name on the score sheet for them, as he was during spells with Rotherham Oldham and Luton before return to Belle Vue in October 1969. Again his impact was immediate, scoring in a 3-1 at Walsall. Injury disrupted his second spell however and he was only able to make 17 starts for the club but still scored 7 goals before ending his career at Peterborough United.
Not the biggest of forwards, he was still excellent in the air and a strong leader of the front line, he was a talented footballer with good vision and awareness of others around him. A genuine goal scorer, he managed 48 goals in 85 games for the club and is still, rightly considered to be one of the clubs finest ever players.
Doncaster Rovers – Laurie Sheffield