McRoberts Bob Image 3 Chelsea 1907

McRoberts Bob Image 3 Chelsea 1907


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Coatbridge, Lanarkshire born centre forward Bob McRoberts began his football career with Coatbridge in 1893 before joining Airdrieonians in 1894. He joined Albion Rovers in 1895 before moving south to join Second Division Gainsborough Trinity a year later, making his Football League debut at Newton Heath (Manchester United) in September 1896. He scored 17 goals in 58 games for Trinity over the next two seasons, before joining Small Heath (now Birmingham City) in the 1898 close season. He was Small Heath’s leading goalscorer for three successive seasons, from 1899-1900 to 1901-02, and won two promotions with them in 1901 and 1903, although in between they were relegated from the First Division in their first foray in the top flight. In total he scored 82 goals in 187 appearances for The Blues.

In the summer of 1905 he became Chelsea’s first ever £100 signing, playing in their first League game in September 1905 at Stockport County, and after a 3rd place finish in their inaugural season, he moved into the half back line for the remainder of his career in 1906, from where as club captain he helped Chelsea to promotion in 1906-07, again as Second Division runners up. In 1907 he was described as “a splendid defensive player, very clever with his head. Shoots with marked ability.” He finished his career with two final seasons in the First Division for Chelsea, and in total scored 10 goals in 106 appearances for The Pensioners during his four seasons at the club.

After retiring from playing, he came back to Birmingham where in July 1910 he was appointed their first full-time professional manager. Previously the team had been selected by a committee. He managed the club for five years until the onset of the First World War and the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915.



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