Roger Heywood

Leicester City In 100 Players: Roger Heywood

Chorley-born Roger Heywood was an inspirational centre-half and wing-half for Leicester City between 1929 and 1941.
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A cousin of the Arsenal and England goalkeeper Frank Moss, Roger played as a centre-forward for his school, moving to Chorley Town as an amateur in 1927, helping them to win two consecutive Lancashire Combination titles. 

In November 1929, Willie Orr signed 20-year-old Roger for £575 to join the Leicester City team which had finished league runners-up in the previous season. 

Roger didn’t go straight into the first team, as the Club had good centre-halves ahead of him, like Norman Watson, Paddy Carrigan, George Carr and Albert Harrison. 

His made his debut in the last match of the 1929/30 season, and he became established in the first team in the second half of the following season. 

Roger, who modelled his game on the Bolton Wanderers captain and England centre-half Jimmy Seddon, firmly believed that a centre-half shouldn’t just police the opposing centre-forward, he should also distribute the ball to his own forwards. 

His performances for City between February 1931 and December 1933, when he missed only two out of 125 league and cup games, led to his appointment as team captain in December 1933. 

He was an inspirational leader. Soon after his appointment, the team had a 14-match unbeaten run in the league and FA Cup. This enabled Leicester to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and to rise from 20th in the top flight to 12th. 

He inspired confidence in his team-mates by convincing them that they could beat the best of teams. He also built team spirit by developing the social
side of the Club. He formed what he called a ‘choral society’ as the team had some good singers and instrumentalists like pianist Hugh Adcock and opera lover Adam Black. 

Such was his standing that Fox’s Glacier Mints chose him to endorse their product with the words, ‘As smoking is taboo, the next best thing is a ‘Glacier’’. Leicester were relegated in 1935, and Roger didn’t feature much in Frank Womack’s side which won the Second Division title in 1937. 

However he re-established himself in the first team as a wing-half in the 1938/39 season and continued to play for the Club, when available, in the first two wartime seasons. He retired from playing in 1941 but stayed at Filbert Street to coach the Colts. 

He later worked at Dunlop and died in Leicester in December 1985. 

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