Bobby Roberts

Leicester City In 100 Players: Bobby Roberts

The series continues with Bobby Roberts, a driving force from midfield in the Leicester City sides of the 1960s.
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Roberts wasn’t only a very influential player in the 1960s for Leicester City, he also managed a Wrexham side which, having defeated Porto in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984, went on to give a great account of themselves in the next round against Roma – the Foxes' UEFA Europa Conference League Semi-Finals opponents – managed at the time by future Leicester City manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson

A midfielder, Bobby signed for Leicester City for a Club-record fee of £41,000 in September 1963 from Motherwell, where he had made nearly 100 appearances, as well as representing the Scottish League and winning a Scotland Under-23 cap. He was also a team-mate of the future Liverpool star, Ian St John. 

In his first season at Leicester he was hindered by ankle trouble, which wasn’t really sorted out until the end of the season. However, he scored in both legs of Leicester City’s League Cup Semi-Final against West Ham United, but in the days before substitutes, he did not play in the side which beat Stoke City in the two-legged final. 

When Frank McLintock left for Arsenal in September 1964, Bobby took over his midfield role and played in the side which lost to Chelsea in the 1965 League Cup Final. A popular player, he was a regular in the side for the next six seasons, accumulating a total of 281 appearances and scoring 36 goals.

A feature of his midfield play was his tendency to unleash thunderbolt shots from some distance out. As well as playing in a side which finished seventh and eighth in the old First Division, he also took part in the epic FA Cup ties against Manchester City in 1966 and 1968, and against Liverpool in 1965 and 1969. 

He played in the 1969 FA Cup Final side which lost to Manchester City. Unfortunately, the Club was relegated three weeks later. 

The following season, Bobby was again a regular in the side which finished third in the Second Division, narrowly missing out on promotion back to the top flight. At the end of the season, Bobby left Filbert Street to join Third Division Mansfield Town. 

After coaching and managing Colchester United, Wrexham, El Shabar in Kuwait and Grimsby Town, Bobby returned to Leicester City in June 1988 for a three-year stint as a coach working with David Pleat. He subsequently worked in Kuwait again, and as a scout for Derby County, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Oxford United. 

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