Ben Roberts (footballer)

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Ben Roberts
Personal information
Full name Ben James Roberts
Date of birth (1975-06-22) 22 June 1975 (age 41)
Place of birth Bishop Auckland, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Brighton & Hove Albion (goalkeeping coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–2000 Middlesbrough 16 (0)
1995 Hartlepool United (loan) 4 (0)
1995 Wycombe Wanderers (loan) 15 (0)
1996 Bradford City (loan) 2 (0)
1999 Millwall (loan) 1 (0)
1999 Millwall (loan) 10 (0)
2000 Luton Town (loan) 14 (0)
2000–2003 Charlton Athletic 1 (0)
2002 Reading (loan) 6 (0)
2002 Luton Town (loan) 5 (0)
2003 Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 3 (0)
2003–2005 Brighton & Hove Albion 32 (0)
2007 Derry City 0 (0)
2009–2010 Yeovil Town 1 (0)
Total 110 (0)
National team
1997 England U-21 1 (0)
Teams managed
2009–2010 Yeovil Town (goalkeeping coach/chief scout)
2010–2015 Charlton Athletic (goalkeeping coach)
2015– Brighton & Hove Albion (goalkeeping coach)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Ben Roberts (born 22 June 1975 in Bishop Auckland) is an English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Since being forced into early retirement in 2005 at the age of 29 through injury, he has become a goalkeeping coach; he is currently employed in this capacity at Brighton & Hove Albion, whom he represented as a player between 2003 and 2005.[1]

Early Career at Middlesbrough[edit]

Roberts began his career at Middlesbrough F.C. on the Youth Training Scheme in 1991, aged 16[citation needed], and quickly graduated through the ranks, making his first team debut aged 19 in the Anglo Italia Cup in Ancona. Loan spells at Hartlepool United in 1994, Wycombe Wanderers during the 1994/1995 season and Bradford City in 1996 preceded his Premier League debut against Sheffield Wednesday in February 1997.

Also in 1997, Roberts made one appearance for England at under-21 level.[2]

After an injury to Mark Schwarzer, Roberts finished the ill-fated 1996/97 season as Middlesbrough's first-choice goalkeeper, notably playing in the 1997 FA Cup Final, League Cup final replay and the club's remaining Premier League games[3] (Schwarzer was cup-tied for the FA Cup run anyway).[4] He is remembered among Middlesbrough supporters for conceding a goal after only 43 seconds by Roberto Di Matteo of Chelsea in the FA Cup Final.

Roberts' remaining time with Middlesbrough saw him struggle with fitness and injuries, and between back operations he spent time on loan at Millwall and Luton Town in 1999 and 2000. He helped Millwall reach the 1999 Football League Trophy Final, where they lost to Wigan Athletic.[5]

Later career[edit]

Roberts transferred to Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2000. While with Charlton, he had further loan spells at Reading, Luton and Brighton & Hove Albion, before making a permanent move to Brighton in 2003. His only appearance for Charlton had come on the last day of the 2002/2003 season, Roberts playing as a substitute against Fulham after Dean Kiely was sent off.[6]

Roberts contributed to Brighton's promotion-winning season in 2003/2004, making 35 appearances as first-choice goalkeeper, the season culminating in victory in the 2004 League One play-off final at the Millennium Stadium against Bristol City.[7]

However, in 2005, a recurrent back injury forced him to retire from playing at the age of 29.

After retirement[edit]

After retiring, Roberts went to university, graduating from Roehampton University with a first class honours degree in sports science and coaching, and won the Adidas 'Pursuit of Excellence' award for his dissertation, which was entitled ‘A Biomechanical Analysis of a Football Goalkeeper's Jumping Technique’.

Coaching career[edit]

In June 2009, having briefly come out of retirement to join Derry City in 2007, Roberts was appointed the goalkeeper coach and chief scout at Yeovil Town.[8] During the two seasons he spent at Yeovil Town, he assisted in the development of goalkeepers Alex McCarthy and Stephen Henderson, making a substitute appearance himself in a 3–3 draw with Swindon Town in October 2010, his first league match in six years.[9]

On 29 December 2010, he left Yeovil Town to return to their League One rivals Charlton Athletic.[10] During his tenure at Charlton, Roberts oversaw the early careers of Rob Elliot, Ben Hamer, David Button and Nick Pope.

On 23 June 2015, Roberts returned to Brighton & Hove Albion as goalkeeping coach, replacing Antti Niemi, who had left for Finland that summer.[1]

Outside football[edit]

After retiring from football in 2005, Roberts took a year out before university to backpack around the world, which included a 6-month spell living in Brazil where he closely studied Brazilian training methods.[citation needed]

He is also a keen runner, taking part in the London Marathon and Great North Run for the Asthma UK charity.


  1. ^ a b "Roberts Returns to Albion". Brighton & Hove Albion FC. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  2. ^ CNN Sports Illustrated Archived 19 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Where are they Now? #14 - 1997 FA Cup Final (Middlesbrough)". Long Ball Football (Wordpress). 11 May 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Chelsea may fall at final hurdle". 12 April 1997. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Rogers raises the Wigan cheers". 18 April 1999. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "Fulham foil Charlton". BBC. 11 May 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Bristol City 0-1 Brighton". BBC. 30 May 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Duo join Yeovil's backroom staff". BBC Sport. 2009-06-25. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Ben Roberts leaves Yeovil Town for Charlton Athletic". BBC Sport. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 

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