Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland born outside right Bob Jefferson joined Second Division club Bradford City from Sunderland Royal Rovers in November 1904 making his Football League debut that December against Doncaster Rovers. He scored 6 goals in 31 appearances for The Bantams before joining Leeds City in May 1906, where he found opportunities limited and played only 18 matches, scoring 5 times, during his two seasons at Elland Road. He did however score on his Leeds City debut in a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester Fosse. Nimrod in the Mercury commented: “Jefferson’s appearance at centre forward must be voted a success. He did not, perhaps, display what might be exactly termed trickiness, but he was dashing, bustling, and energetic. It is such play that often brings victory. He was never afraid of shooting, either, and with a little luck he would several times have netted the ball.”
Jefferson joined Swindon Town in May 1908 where he played for the next 14 years during Swindon’s greatest period in their history, linking up on the right flank with England international Harold Fleming. Swindon reached the FA Cup semi finals in 1910, beating Tottenham and Manchester City en route, but they lost to eventual winners Newcastle United at White Hart Lane. He was part of their team that won The Dubonnet Cup that summer as they beat Barnsley 2-1 in Paris. His spell at Swindon included an appearance in the 1911 FA Charity Shield when they lost 8-4 to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, Jefferson scoring their fourth goal, after they had won the Southern League Championship earlier that year. He also made eleven appearances for The Southern League representative team.
Jefferson also featured in Swindon’s FA Cup run in 1912, when they again reached the semi finals losing in a replay to eventual winners Barnsley at Meadow Lane. He had scored the first goal in the quarter final, when they beat Everton 2-1 in a notable cup shock. He also was part of Swindon’s team that again won the Southern League Championship in 1913-14. However his career was then interrupted by the onset of the First World War which forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915.
After the First World War Swindon were elected to help form the Third Division of The Football League in 1920, and Jefferson was on the score sheet in the Robins’ inaugural League match, which saw a 9-1 defeat of Luton Town, a match in which Jefferson scored. In total, Jefferson made 321 appearances in the Football League and the Southern Football League between 1904 and 1922, scoring 78 goals, and he also scored a further 6 goals in 25 FA Cup ties. In May 1922 Jefferson joined non-League Bath City, where he ended his playing career one year later.
After retirement Jefferson had a notable career in football management in Holland, first becoming manager of Haarlem club HFC in 1923. He then managed Vitesse Arnhem between 1924 and 1927 and had spells with SC ‘t Gool between 1927 and 1928, a short spell at Eindhoven in 1928 before managing Velocitas of Groningen between 1929 and 1934. With Velocitas he won the Dutch FA Cup in 1934. His final club was Velox, now Utrecht, whom he managed from 1934 to 1938.