Roy Swinbourne

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Roy Swinbourne
Personal information
Full name Royston Harry Swinbourne
Date of birth (1929-08-25)25 August 1929
Place of birth Denaby Main, Yorkshire, England
Date of death 27 December 2015(2015-12-27) (aged 86)
Place of death Kidderminster, England
Playing position Centre-forward
Youth career
Wath Wanderers
1944–1945 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1945–1957 Wolverhampton Wanderers 211 (107)
National team
1955 England B 1 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Royston Harry "Roy" Swinbourne (25 August 1929 – 27 December 2015) was an English footballer who played as a centre forward in the Football League for Wolverhampton Wanderers.[1] He was capped once by England B.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Swinbourne began his career at Wath Wanderers, the Yorkshire-based nursery club of Wolverhampton Wanderers. He moved south to join Wolves in 1944[3] and signed as a professional the following year.

After proving himself in the reserve ranks, he made his debut on 17 December 1949 in a 1–1 draw with Fulham.[4] He came to the fore during the 1950–51 season, replacing Jesse Pye in the attack, and finished as top goalscorer with 22 goals.[5] Injuries waylaid him the following year, but in the next campaign, forming what was described as "a potent dual spearhead" with Dennis Wilshaw,[6] he was once again the club's leading scorer with 21 goals.[7]

His tally of 24 in the 1953–54 season was a career best and helped Wolves capture their first ever league championship. It was Swinbourne himself who scored twice in the final game, a 2–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur that confirmed the title.[8] The following season brought another strong return, including two goals in Wolves' famous floodlit victory over Honved of Hungary.[9][10]

In 1955 he scored for England B in a 1–1 draw against their German counterparts:

Swinbourne too, in spite of limited support, showed that he is a dashing centre-forward who knows where the goal lies. He scored his side's goal and but for three really great diving saves by Kubsch would have snatched the victory himself.[11]

His career was halted when he damaged his knee while hurdling over a posse of cameramen on the pitchside at Luton Town's Kenilworth Road ground in November 1955.[12][13] After trying to return just weeks later,[14] he was forced to undergo surgery on the injury. He was never able to resume his playing career and was forced to announce his retirement in May 1957.[12]

Later life[edit]

In later life, Swinbourne lived in Kinver before moving to a nursing home in Kidderminster.[15] He died on 27 December 2015, aged 86, following a long battle with vascular dementia.[16] He was survived by his wife, Betty, and daughters Jayne and Helen.[15]


  1. ^ "Roy Swinbourne". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Courtney, Barrie (21 March 2004). "England – International Results B-Team – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Players. A–Z". Wolves Stats. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Team Details: 1949–1950". Wolves Stats. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "General Stats: 1950–1951". Wolves Stats. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Ponting, Ivan (13 May 2004). "Dennis Wilshaw". The Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "General Stats: 1952–1953". Wolves Stats. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "Nothing Left To Chance. Ditchburn A Hero at Molineux". The Times. 26 April 1954. p. 9. 
  9. ^ "Wolves' Fine Double Against Continental Teams. Honved Share Fate of Spartak". The Times. 14 December 1954. p. 3. 
  10. ^ Fox, Norman (13 December 1998). "England's delusion of grandeur". The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "England B Fail To Impress. Germany's Clever Defence". The Times. 24 March 1955. p. 3. 
  12. ^ a b "More information on Billy Wright tram naming". Centro. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "Russian Players See Wolves Outplayed at Luton. Visitors' Optimism Unlikely To Lead To Any Complacency". The Times. 7 November 1955. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Manchester United Regain League Leadership. Continuing Wolverhampton Decline in Away Matches". The Times. 5 December 1955. p. 5. To make matters worse, both Wilshaw and Swinbourne returned to their attack at Deepdale, and both were injured once more. 
  15. ^ a b Cox, Rob (23 January 2016). "Fond farewell for Honved hero Roy". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. p. 2. 
  16. ^ "Wolves legend Roy Swinbourne dies aged 86". Express & Star. 27 December 2015. 

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