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John Roberts - RIP

Posted: Mon 04 Jan 2016
Author: Wrexham AFC

Former Wrexham defender passes away...

The club has received sad news this morning that former centre half John Roberts has died at the age of 69.

John was a mainstay of our greatest ever team in 1977/78 and made 191 appearances for the club from 1976-80.

Also a Welsh international, he played 22 times for his country at senior level, with other caps at Under 21 and Under 23.

Born in Abercynon (September 1946), he played for local club Abercynon Athletic while working as a locomotive fireman for British Railways, when joining Swansea Town as an apprentice in 1963 and turning professional in 1964.

Initially a striker, scoring 16 goals in 37 games for the Swans, he then had a £15,000 transfer to Northampton Town in 1967

John scored his debut for the Cobblers, but played the majority of his 62 league games as a centre half and it was in this new role that he attracted attention from Arsenal, switching to Highbury in 1969.

He played for the Gunners for three seasons, including 18 appearances in the 1970/71 season, when Arsenal won the First Division title, thus earning him a championship medal, although he didn’t feature in their FA Cup triumph.

A £140,000 move to Birmingham City followed in October 1972 and played 66 times in nearly four years at St Andrews, before the Reds came calling in August 1976, when a £30,000 fee saw him arrive at the Racecourse.

Alongside Gareth Davis, he made up a formidable partnership that took Wrexham to the Third Division title in 1978, as well as Welsh Cup glory, several games in Europe – not to mention quarter-final appearances in both the FA Cup and League Cup, with numerous giantkillings along the way.

Former Wales manager Mike Smith then took John to Hull City in 1980, before he called a day to his career after a spell with Oswestry Town in 1982/83.

He settled in the Chester area, becoming a salesman for a stationary firm and also ran his own Driving School. While along with his wife, they also ran a number of designer wear shops in Chester and Nantwich.

Never one to really end his playing days, John also turned out for Chester Nomads Vets and appeared in the 1997 Over 50’s Umbro/Williams Hill Cup Final against Corinthian Casuals.

Everyone at the Racecourse would like to pass on their sympathies to John’s family and friends at this sad time.