Wilf Rostron

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Wilf Rostron
Personal information
Full name John Wilfred Rostron
Date of birth (1956-09-29) 29 September 1956 (age 61)
Place of birth Sunderland, England
Playing position Defender/ Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1977 Arsenal 17 (2)
1977–1979 Sunderland 76 (17)
1979–1989 Watford 317 (22)
1989 Sheffield Wednesday 7 (0)
1989–1991 Sheffield United 36 (3)
1991 Brentford 42 (2)
Total 495 (46)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

John Wilfred Rostron, often known as Wilf Rostron (born 29 September 1956 in Sunderland), is an English former footballer who spent ten years at Watford as well as playing for Arsenal, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Brentford. He started his career as a left-winger but spent most of his career as a left-back.

Playing career[edit]

Rostron started his career at Arsenal, signing professional terms in October 1973 after a season as an amateur playing in Arsenal's youth team. He made his first-team debut against Newcastle United on 18 March 1975 and played a total of six league matches that season. However, he could not fully break into the Arsenal first team, making only 19 appearances for the club in three seasons, scoring two goals. He moved to home town club Sunderland in July 1977 for £40,000.

After two seasons at Sunderland, Rostron signed for Watford in October 1979 for £150,000. Playing as a left-winger he had sporadic success. During the 1980–81 Watford manager Graham Taylor played Rostron as a left-back to combat Chelsea winger Clive Walker. Rostron played well and went on to make that position his own. He was part of the Watford side that achieved promotion to Division One in the 1981–82 season and won Player of the Season as Watford reached their highest ever finish of 2nd in the 1982–83 season.

In the 1983–84 season Watford reached the FA Cup Final. Rostron, by this time Watford's captain, was sent off in a league fixture against Luton Town preceding the final and incurred a suspension. He was consigned to the sidelines as Watford lost 2–0 to Everton. Nonetheless, Rostron won the Player of the Season award again that year.

Having not played a single game in Watford's first campaign back in the Second Division he joined Sheffield Wednesday on a free transfer in January 1989. His spell at Hillsborough lasted only 8 months, and he was loaned to the Owls' rivals Sheffield United in September 1989, a move which was made permanent in November of that year. He moved to Brentford in January 1991, where he retired and became their assistant manager.

Managerial career[edit]

He became the assistant manager of Gateshead in October 1993, became their caretaker manager in November 1993, before becoming the manager of Ryhope Colliery Welfare between December 1993 and 1994.


  • Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony, ed. Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4. 
  • Jones, Trefor (1996). The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. Surrey: T.G Jones. ISBN 0-9527458-0-1. 
  • Phillips, Oliver (2002). The Golden Boys: A study of Watford's cult heroes. Herts: Watford Football Club. ISBN 0-9528631-6-2. 
  • Phillips, Oliver (1992). History of Watford FC 1881–1991. Great Britain: Watford Football Club. ISBN 0-9509601-6-0. 
  • Wilf Rostron at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database