Bill Roberts (footballer, born 1859)

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Bill Roberts
Personal information
Full name William Roberts
Date of birth (1859-03-18)18 March 1859
Place of birth Wrexham, Wales
Date of death 12 June 1945(1945-06-12) (aged 86)
Place of death Wrexham, Wales
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1879–1883 Wrexham
1883–1888 Wrexham Olympic
1888–18?? Rhostyllen
National team
1886–1887 Wales 4 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William "Bill" Roberts (18 March 1859 – 12 June 1945) was a Welsh footballer who played as a forward for Wrexham, Wrexham Olympic and Rhostyllen Victoria in the 1880s and made four appearances for Wales, scoring once. He was the brother of Bob Roberts who also played for the two Wrexham clubs and twice for Wales.[1]

Football career[edit]

Roberts was "always in the thickest of the fight", and was described as "tricky and comical, and occasionally brilliant".[1] His playing career came before the advent of League football and his greatest success at club level was in the Welsh Cup, where he scored the only goal in the final of the 1882–83 tournament, thus enabling Wrexham to defeat Druids and claim the trophy for the second time.[2]

He and his brother, Bob, made their international debuts on 27 February 1886 against Ireland in the opening match of the 1886 British Home Championship. The match ended as a 5–0 victory for the Welsh, with Bill Roberts scoring the opening goal.[3] After defeats against England and Scotland, Roberts was not called up for the February 1887 match against England. After an injury to Robert Mills-Roberts in the warm-up for that match (which Wales lost 4–0)[4] the Roberts brothers were both recalled for the match against Ireland in March 1887, with Bob serving as an emergency goalkeeper. This match was the finale to the brothers' international careers with Bob conceding four goals.[5]

International appearances[edit]

Roberts made four appearances for Wales in official international matches, as follows:[6]

Date Venue Opponent Result[7] Goals Competition
27 February 1886 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham  Ireland 5–0 1 1886 British Home Championship
29 March 1886 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham  England 1–3 0 1886 British Home Championship
10 April 1886 Cathkin Park, Glasgow  Scotland 1–4 0 1886 British Home Championship
12 March 1887 Oldpark Avenue, Belfast  Ireland 1–4 0 1887 British Home Championship
Win Draw Loss

Career outside football[edit]

Roberts worked as coal-miner in his youth, but was later employed in a leather works.[1]




  1. ^ a b c Davies, Gareth; Garland, Ian (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. Bridge Books. pp. 181–182. ISBN 1-872424-11-2. 
  2. ^ "Wrexham 1 Druids 0". Welsh Football Data Archive. 21 April 1883. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Wales 5 Ireland 0". Welsh Football Data Archive. 27 February 1886. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. p. 142. 
  5. ^ "Ireland 4 Wales 1". Welsh Football Data Archive. 26 February 1887. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Samuel, Bill (2009). The Complete Wales FC 1876-2008. Soccer Books. pp. 8–9. ISBN 1-86223-176-1. 
  7. ^ Wales score first