John Sjoberg

Leicester City In 100 Players: John Sjoberg

Club Historian John Hutchinson continues to review the careers of 100 of the most outstanding players to represent Leicester Fosse and Leicester City with John Sjoberg.
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The defender played 413 games for the Club between 1960 and 1973, the vast majority of which were in the old First Division. A Scotland schoolboy international, John came to Leicester as a 17 year-old wing-half in 1958 from the prestigious Scottish Junior Club, Banks O’ Dee.

Initially he could only train at Filbert Street in the evenings because he was working full-time as trainee accountant. His heading ability soon resulted in him being converted to a centre-half. He played in this position on his first team debut in October 1960.

Playing at right full-back, he became an established member of the first team in December 1963 and was included in the 1963 FA Cup Final team against Manchester United - a season in which Leicester City were realistic contenders to win the league and cup double.

John was a fearless player. He never held back. During his career, he broke his nose, jaw and cheekbone. When right full-back Peter Rodrigues signed for Leicester City in December 1965, John reverted to centre-half.

Apart from a brief spell at centre-forward in 1967/68, he played alongside Graham Cross at the heart of the defence for the next seven years. They had a great understanding and played to one another’s strengths.

A League Cup winner in 1964 and a finalist in 1965, John missed the 1969 FA Cup Final against Manchester City through injury, despite playing in every game on the way to Wembley. His absences through injury that season were contributory factors in the Club being relegated after 12 years in the top flight.

He was a key member of the defence which kept 23 clean sheets in the Second Division title winning side in 1971.

Part of the team which beat Shankly’s Liverpool to win the Charity (now Community) Shield in 1971, John went on to play for the next two seasons as a defensive stalwart in Jimmy Bloomfield’s side as it re-established itself back in the top flight.

After making a total of 413 starts, and only one substitute appearance, John left Filbert Street in June 1973 for a brief spell at Rotherham United but he soon retired from football and returned to his printing business in Leicester.

John was held in such high esteem by the Leicester fans that his testimonial match against Derby County in 1971 attracted over 24,000 fans, a Filbert Street record for such an event. Sadly, John died in 2008, aged 67.

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