Burscough, Lancashire born outside left Bobby Langton played junior football for Burscough Victoria in the Southport & District Amateur League. In October 1937, he went on trial to Blackburn Rovers and the following month Rovers signed him as a professional for a fee of £50. He made his Football League debut in a 4-0 victory against Swansea Town on 10th September 1938 scoring his first goal in another 4-0 win, at Bradford Park Avenue, a week later.
He scored 14 goals in 44 appearances as Blackburn won the Second Division Championship, and scored once in 3 First Division fixtures in the late summer of 1939 before the Second World War forced the abandonment of peacetime football. He spent part of the War as an infantryman with The Welsh Regiment in India, although when stationed in Ireland he helped Glentoran to win the Irish Cup in 1945.
He returned to Blackburn Rovers at the end of the conflict and played for them in the first two post war League seasons. He won the first of eleven England caps, scoring in a 7-2 defeat of Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast in September 1946, and would go on to play for the national team until 1950 by which time he had changed clubs twice. First after Blackburn’s relegation he was transferred to Preston North End for £16,000 in August 1948 after 25 goals in 117 appearances both sides of the War, and then on to Bolton Wanderers for a then club record o£20,000 in November 1949 after 14 goals in 57 appearances for the Deepdale club. At Bolton he provided many goals for Willie Moir and Nat Lofthouse, picking up a runners up medal in the 1953 “Matthews” FA Cup Final, in which he made a goal for Moir.
He won 7 England caps while with Blackburn, and 2 each while at Preston and Bolton, making his final England appearance in October 1950 in a 4-1 win over Ireland at the same ground he’d started his international career. Bearing in mind he was a winger at the same time as Finney and Matthews, 11 caps can be considered a considerable achievement. In addition to his England caps he also made 5 appearances for England B between 1947 and 1950 as well as 9 appearances for The Football League.
In dispute with Bolton in the run up to the Final, it proved to be Langton’s final game for the club. He returned to Blackburn Rovers in September 1953 after 16 goals in 132 games for The Trotters and served Blackburn for a further three years before seeing out his professional career back in Northern Ireland with Ards joining them in June 1956. By that time he had scored 59 goals in his 233 appearances across both his spells with Blackburn Rovers. He spent a season at Ards, scoring twelve goals in 41 League appearances.
Langton then went into non-league football, with three seasons at Wisbech Town before moving to Kidderminster Harriers and finally seeing his career out with a one-month spell at Colwyn Bay in 1960. Scouting for Accrington Stanley followed, as well as coaching for King’s Lynn and Wisbech before he finally returned home to Burscough in 1965 to become the club’s manager where he won the Lancashire Combination Cup and the Lancashire Junior Cup. He finally left football in 1971. In 1998 the road that goes past Burscough’s ground was renamed Bobby Langton Way after him.
NB in the photograph he appears to be wearing a Blackburn Rovers shirt even though when published he had already transferred to Preston North End.