Halesowen, Worcestershire born Les Roberts’ football career was one of the most varied of any inter war footballer. Starting at Cradley Heath St Luke’s after the First World War, he spent time as an amateur at Aston Villa from August 1921 without making their first eleven, and also played for Redditch Town the same year. In March 1922 he joined Bristol Rovers on an amateur contract, again without making their first team, before signing professional for Chesterfield in May 1922. He scored on his Football League debut in a 3-2 win at Tranmere Rovers two days before Christmas that year, and scored 3 more goals in 5 further outings before the end of the season, joining Sheffield Wednesday in June 1923.
Roberts spent much of 1923-24 in the reserves at Hillsborough, without making their first eleven, before returning to Bristol Rovers in March 1924, but again couldn’t force a breakthrough into their first team. He joined Merthyr Town in August 1924 and had scored twice in 13 appearances when he was signed by Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in December 1924, and he was a regular in The Cherries’ starting line up until he was sold to First Division club Bolton Wanderers in February 1926 after 12 goals in 56 appearances. He made his top flight debut in a defeat at Blackburn Rovers at the month end and scored twice in a 3-1 win over Manchester United the next month, his only goals in 4 matches before the end of the season. However he spent 1926-27 in the Bolton reserves after two further first team appearances in the autumn of 1926, and joined Swindon Town in June 1927.
It was at The County Ground that Roberts produced the most consistent form of his career, scoring 10 or more goals a season for three seasons, scoring 33 goals in 118 appearances before joining Brentford in June 1930, where he played 5 matches during the first half of 1930-31 before returning to top flight action when signed by Manchester City in January 1931. He scored twice for The Citizens in 8 matches before the season end, but he was consigned to the reserves at Maine Road during much of 1931-32 until Billy McDevitt, manager of Exeter City, signed him in February 1932, Roberts travelling down from his Manchester home to meet up with the Exeter players at Paddington and immediately making his debut against Queens Park Rangers.
Roberts scored 4 goals in 11 appearances for The Grecians before the end of the season but was once again on the move, joining Crystal Palace in July 1932, and he again scored into double figures in 1932-33, grabbing 13 goals as Palace finished fifth in the Third Division (South), with 5 goals in his first 4 matches, all won. He remained a regular for Palace until, after 19 goals in 50 appearances, he signed for Chester in January 1934, where he scored twice in 5 matches before the season end. He then joined Rotherham United in October 1934, scoring 5 goals in 10 appearances for The Millers, but dropped down into Midland League football for the 1935-36 season with Scunthorpe & Lindsey United.
Roberts returned to Football League action with New Brighton in July 1936, and enjoyed two seasons on The Wirral, scoring 11 goals in 44 appearances before joining South Liverpool in 1938, his career then being finished by the outbreak of the Second World War. By then he had played well over 300 matches of first team football for a dozen League clubs and had been associated with a total of 19 different clubs.