Roberts Dennis Image 1 Bristol City 1938

Roberts Dennis Image 1 Bristol City 1938


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Monk Bretton, Yorkshire born centre half Dennis Roberts played local schools football in Huddersfield, and signed as an amateur for Huddersfield Town but never appeared in the first team. At the age of 17 years in August 1937 Roberts signed for Notts County where he made one first team appearance in a Third Division Cup tie semi final replay at Watford in September 1937.

Joe Riley recommended Roberts to Third Division (South) Bristol City and Bob Hewison signed him in August 1938 on a free transfer. Roberts made his Football League debut at centre half at Clapton Orient in a 1-1 draw on 24th September 1938 and spent the whole of the rest of his career at Bristol City playing in the making 30 appearances before the Second World War. During the War he made a further 205 wartime appearances before emerging, when League football recommenced, as the regular centre half and captain for several seasons.

Foolhardy was the forward who dwelt on the ball near Dennis Roberts the brawny bulwark of Bristol City in the early 1950’s. Roberts roamed the defence like a footloose buccaneer and was a devotee of the sliding tackle which often involved taking both man and ball. Roberts was masterful in the air, as he exhibited in several duels with the great Tommy Lawton, and often played up front in the final minutes of games if City were trailing. However, he was prone to struggle if confronted by a skilful elusive opponent. An encounter with Roberts was often a bruising but never a malicious affair. He once played on with a six-inch gash in his shin after making colleagues blanch by calmly pouring iodine into the injury before continuing.

Roberts was ever present in 1946-47 with 42 appearances and played regularly in each of the next four seasons with 38 appearances, 41 appearances, 39 appearances and 41 appearances in season 1950-51 when Roberts captained The Robins to the 5th round of the FA Cup where they lost 0-2 at Birmingham City. Roberts was ever present again in 1951-52 and scored his first goal in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day. Ernie Peacock who eventually succeeded Roberts at centre half started playing alongside Roberts at right half in February 1950. Bristol City had been languishing too long in the lower reaches of the Third Division (South) and when Roberts was seriously injured in 1952-53, manager Pat Beasley signed Jack White from Aldershot in October 1952 immediately appointing White as captain. Roberts made 17 appearances scoring 1 goal in 1952-53 playing centre half alongside wing halves Peacock and White again in early 1953-54 making his final 15 appearances as City rose to 7th in the table by November. In total he scored twice in 333 appearances for Bristol City before his retirement from the game in 1954.

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