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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 05, 2014

By Tony Matthews

  • John Robson

  • Ian Rodgerson

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GEORGE ROBSON was an inside-forward who played for Walsall from December 1926 to September 1929 during which time he scored 27 goals in 83 first-class appearances.

Born in New Delaval, County Durham in 1901, he was a prolific marksman all over the North-east in the immediate post WWI years, and in 1923-24 bagged 50 goals for his home town club including a five and a seven in successive matches.

Fast and adept, he struggled with injuries during the latter part of the 1928-29 campaign and eventually left fellows Park for Coventry City (4 apps). Later with Ashington, George retired in the summer of 1933, and is believed to have died in the early 1970s.

JOHN ROBSON was a full-back with Derby County and Aston Villa who sadly died in Sutton Coldfield in April 2004 at the age of 49.

Born in Consett, County Durham in July 1950, John played for the local town schoolboy team and Birtley Youth Club before joining Derby in 1966, turning professional a year later.

Over the next five years he gained Second and First Division championship-winning medals with the Rams and won seven England U23 caps. In October he was transferred to Villa Park for £90,000 and in 1975 helped Villa clinch promotion to the First Division and lift the League

Cup with a 1-0 victory over Norwich City at Wembley.

Two years later he added a second League Cup winner's prize to his collection when Villa beat Everton in a second replay at Old Trafford. When John's contract was cancelled in November 1978, he had played in 178 games for Villa, scoring just one goal.

Unfortunately, John's health deteriorated slowly after his retirement from football, and his death came after a hard, long and tedious battle against multiple sclerosis.

ROCHDALE have yet to play Albion in any sort of football match but the Lancashire club has battled against Aston Villa (4 times), Birmingham City (once, in a 2010 League Cup-tie: Blues won 3-2), Walsall (more than 40 occasions) and Wolves (six games).

Indeed, very few players have been associated with the Spotland club and our five major sides… among those who have, however (in recent years) include ex-Baggies' stars Barry Cowdrill, Tony Ford, Noel Luke and Winston White, while Steve Parkin had two spells as manager of the 'Dale. Brian Handley, Stan Horne, Gary Shelton and Doug Winton played for Villa and Rochdale; Alan Ainscow and Peter Shearer served with Blues and the 'Dale; Ainscow, Brian Birch, Micky Holmes, Geoff Lomax, John Pender, Jimmy Seal, Geoff Thomas and Tony Towner had spells with Wolves as well as with Rochdale and Steve Elliott, Dean Holden, Chris Jones and the aforementioned Shelton of Walsall, among others, also lined up for the 'Dale. Alan Buckley managed Albion, Walsall and Rochdale and played for Walsall and Blues, while Jimmy Greenhoff played for Blues and bossed the 'Dale.

IAN RODGERSON played at right-back and in midfield, initially as a loanee, for Birmingham City between December 1990 and July 1993, making 116 appearances and netting 16 goals.

Born in Hereford in April 1966, he started his professional career with his home town in 1985 and joined Blues from Cardiff City.

On leaving St Andrew's, Ian signed for Sunderland and later returned to both of his former clubs, Cardiff (1997) and Hereford United (1998). Unfortunately he missed Birmingham's 1991 Leyland DAF Cup final victory at Wembley through injury.

TOMMY ROE was an inside or centre-forward who played in turn for Esperley Rovers, Willington Athletic, Durham City, Northfleet, Tottenham Hotspur (1925-26), Nottingham Forest (1926-27) and Luton Town before joining Walsall in June 1929.

He netted eight goals in 45 appearances for the Saddlers who transferred him to Coventry City in May 1930. Born in Evenwood, Durham in December 1900, Tommy died in 1972.

DARREN ROGERS scored once in 17 appearances for Albion whom he served for six seasons, from June 1986 until July 1992, when he moved to Birmingham City. He remained at St Andrew's until July 1994, making a further 26 appearances. He then switched to nearby Walsall, having played on loan with Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City and Wycombe Wanderers in between times.

After more than 60 outings for the Saddlers, Darren switched his allegiance to Stevenage Borough (October 1997) and later played for Evesham United. A competent defender, he was born in Birmingham in April 1970.

TED ROOKE was a reliable reserve centre-half with Albion between May 1921 and June 1929.

Born in Hockley, Birmingham in November 1899, he played his early football with Winson Green Lions and Brierley Hill Alliance before moving to The Hawthorns. Initially understudy to Fred Reed and then Bill Richardson, he made 42 appearances for the Baggies (one goal scored) and played in 151 second XI games, gaining a Central League championship winner's medal in 1923-24 while also helping Albion's reserve team win the same title in 1922-23 and 1926-27.

After leaving the Throstles Ted played for Nuneaton Borough, retiring in 1934 to become a warehouseman in Perry Barr, Birmingham. He died in January 1974.

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