Derek Tapscott

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Derek Tapscott
Personal information
Full name Derek Robert Tapscott
Date of birth (1932-06-30)30 June 1932
Place of birth Barry, Wales
Date of death 12 June 2008(2008-06-12) (aged 75)
Place of death Cardiff, Wales
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Inside right
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1949–1953 Barry Town 57 (28)
1953–1958 Arsenal 132 (68)
1958–1965 Cardiff City 194 (79)
1965–1966 Newport County 13 (1)
Cinderford Town
Haverfordwest County
Carmarthen Town
National team
1954–1959 Wales 14 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Derek Robert Tapscott (30 June 1932 – 12 June 2008) was a Welsh former professional footballer and Wales international.

Early life[edit]

Born in Barry, to Florence and Stanley, Tapscott was one of sixteen children. As a child he began attending High Street Junior School in August 1936 where he remained until leaving school at the age of 14. Having left school, he worked as a delivery boy for a local butcher and later an assistant to a television repairman before becoming an apprentice bricklayer at the age of 16.

In October 1950, he was called up for his national service, joining 4 Training Regiment of the Royal Engineers. Despite this, Tapscott was regularly granted permission to return to South Wales on match weekends to play for Barry Town. Within three months of his conscription, he became a member of the drill staff and was later promoted to Corporal. During his national service, Tapscott served alongside his future Arsenal team mate Jim Fotheringham.

Club career[edit]


Tapscott played for Barry Town as a youth whilst continuing his work as a bricklayer, before being signed by Tom Whittaker for Arsenal for £4,000 in October 1953, having previously spent time on trial at their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. After a prolific run in the reserves, scoring thirteen goals in fifteen matches in the London Combination League, he made his first-team debut against Liverpool on 10 April 1954 and scored twice. Tapscott went on to score five more goals in as many matches that season.

The young Welsh inside forward became a regular the following season (1954-55), missing only five matches, and despite not being the centre forward was the club's top goalscorer in both 1955-56 and 1956-57 with 21 and 27 goals respectively. His form for Arsenal resulted in him being named in a London XI side to play a Basel XI in May 1956 in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

An injury sustained in the 1957-58 playing for Wales put Tapscott out of the Arsenal first team, and he struggled to oust his replacement Vic Groves once he returned to fitness. He left Arsenal in September 1958, moving to Cardiff City, having rejected a move to the club earlier in the season. In all he scored 68 goals in 132 matches for Arsenal.[1]

Cardiff City[edit]

Joining the "Bluebirds" for a fee of £10,000,[2] Tapscott made his debut in a 4–1 win over Grimsby Town. The team, managed by his former Barry Town manager Bill Jones, won promotion back to the First Division in 1960 with Tapscott forming an effective partnership with his former Arsenal team mate Brian Walsh. Tapscott still holds the club record for most goals scored in a single game with six scored during a 16-0 win over Knighton Town in the Welsh Cup.[3]

Tapscott was also part of the Cardiff side that played in the club's first ever European competition when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, including scoring the winning goal against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second round.[4] He played his final game for Cardiff on 6 February 1965 in a 2–0 defeat to Northampton Town as injury kept him out of the side for the remainder of the 1964–65 season and at the end of the season he was released.

Later career[edit]

Following his release, Tapscott received offers from South African side Addington and a player-manager role at Sligo Rovers but, not wanting to move away from his Cardiff home, he signed for Division Four side Newport County. However, he appeared just 15 times for the club, scoring one goal during a 3–1 win over Bradford City on 7 March 1966, before leaving at the end of the 1965–66 season. He later moved into non-league football with spells at Cinderford Town, Haverfordwest County and Carmarthen Town before retiring in 1970.[5]

International career[edit]

Having made just one appearance for the Arsenal first team, Tapscott was named in the Wales squad for a match with Austria. On 9 May 1954 Tapscott made his Wales debut in a 2–0 defeat to Austria in Vienna. Including his debut, Tapscott played in nine consecutive matches between 1954 and 1956, scoring his first international goal during a 2–1 win over England on 22 October 1955.[6] However, Tapscott did not go to Sweden for the tournament itself, reportedly after refusing to sign for Cardiff City. He was recalled to the Wales squad after the world cup as part of the squad for the 1959 British Home Championship, scoring in the final two matches of the competition in matches against England and Northern Ireland. In total, Tapscott won 14 caps for his country, scoring four goals.

International goals[edit]

Results list Wales' goal tally first.
Goal Date Venue Opponent Result Competition
1. 22 October 1955 Ninian Park, Cardiff, Wales  England 2–1 1956 British Home Championship
2. 23 November 1955 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, Wales  Austria 1–2 Friendly
3. 26 November 1958 Villa Park, Birmingham, England  England 2–2 1959 British Home Championship
4. 22 April 1959 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, Wales  Northern Ireland 1–4 1959 British Home Championship

After football[edit]

After retiring from playing he moved into business, working in the sporting goods trade for Gola and Diadora until his retirement in 1997, and wrote his autobiography, entitled Tappy.

He died on 12 June 2008,[2][7] leaving his wife Glenys, two daughters and three grandchildren. In 2012, his old local team Barry Town inducted him into the Barry Town hall of fame.[8]


  • Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony, ed. Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4. 
  • Tapscott, Derek (2004). Tappy from Barry Town To Arsenal, Cardiff City and Beyond. Vertical Additions. ISBN 1-904091-09-1. 
  • Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Cardiff City. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-462-0. 
  • Hayes, Dean P. (2004). Wales The Complete Who's Who of Footballers Since 1946. Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-3700-9. 
  1. ^ "Derek Tapscott". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  2. ^ a b "Tappy". 13 June 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Glanville, Brian (2008-06-20). "Obituary: Derek Tapscott". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  4. ^ "Sporting Lisbon 1-2 Cardiff City". Welsh Football Data Archive. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  5. ^ "Derek Tapscott: Arsenal and Wales striker". London: The Independent. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  6. ^ "Wales national football team results - 1950 - 1959". Welsh Football Online. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  7. ^ "Bluebirds mourn striker Tapscott". BBC Sport. 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  8. ^ "Cardiff City legend Derek Tapscott dies". South Wales Echo. 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2013-12-01.