Arthur Roberts (footballer born 1907)

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Arthur Roberts
Personal information
Full name Albert Arthur Roberts[1]
Date of birth (1907-01-27)27 January 1907
Place of birth Goldthorpe, England
Date of death 27 January 1957(1957-01-27) (aged 50)
Place of death Elsecar, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Full back
Youth career
Goldthorpe United
Ardsley Athletic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1929–1938 Southampton 156 (0)
1938–1939 Swansea Town 16 (0)
1946–1947 York City 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Albert Arthur Roberts (27 January 1907 – 27 January 1957), more commonly known as Arthur Roberts, was an English footballer who played as a full back for Southampton in the 1930s.


Early life[edit]

Roberts was born in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire and played his youth football with Goldthorpe United and Ardsley Athletic, where he was spotted by scouts from Southampton.


He joined Southampton in August 1929 as an understudy to Mike Keeping.[2] It was not until 28 February 1931, 18 months after joining the "Saints", that he made his debut (at right-back in a 2–1 defeat against Swansea Town), with Arthur Bradford moving to the left as a replacement for Keeping. After two matches, he swapped places with Arnold and played on the left for another two matches before Keeping's return.[3]

In each of the next two seasons, Roberts made only a handful of appearances.[4] When Keeping moved to Fulham in February 1933, Arthur Tilford moved to The Dell from Craven Cottage on a short-term contract and stepped into Keeping's position. It was only in August 1933, with Tilford having returned to Fulham, that Roberts was finally able to make the No. 3 shirt his own.[5]

In the 1933–34 season, Roberts made 39 appearances at left-back alongside Bill Adams.[6] He soon established a reputation as a consistent, reliable full-back[2] as Saints ended the season in 14th position in the Second Division. For the start of the following season he lost his place to Charlie Sillett and it was not until February that he once again became a regular member of the team.[7] Once he regained his place in the side, Roberts became the preferred left-back, although he missed substantial parts of each of the seasons from 1935 to 1938 through injury.

In May 1938, he and the club were unable to agree terms for a new contract and he was transfer-listed at a fee of £500.[2] He spent a total of nine years with the Saints, making 161 appearances in all competitions.

Later career[edit]

After leaving the Saints, Roberts spent one season with Swansea Town, but was unable to displace Len Emanuel at left-back. Emanuel's brother, Tom, moved to Southampton in September 1938 as Roberts' replacement.

After World War II, Roberts made one appearance for York City in 1946, before settling in South Yorkshire where he died in 1957, on his fiftieth birthday.[2]


  1. ^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Tony Brown. p. 222. ISBN 978-1-899468-67-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 284. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3. 
  3. ^ Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-907969-22-4. 
  4. ^ Saints – A complete record. pp. 86–89. 
  5. ^ Saints – A complete record. pp. 88–89. 
  6. ^ Saints – A complete record. pp. 90–91. 
  7. ^ Saints – A complete record. pp. 92–93.