Roy John (footballer)

For the Wales international rugby union player, see Roy John (rugby player).
Roy John
Personal information
Full name William Ronald John[1]
Date of birth (1911-01-29)29 January 1911
Place of birth Briton Ferry, Wales[1]
Date of death 12 July 1973(1973-07-12) (aged 62)[1]
Place of death Port Talbot, Wales[1]
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
000?–1927 Briton Ferry Athletic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1927–1928 Swansea Town 0 (0)
1928–1932 Walsall 88 (0)
1932–1934 Stoke City 71 (0)
1934 Preston North End 0 (0)
1934–1936 Sheffield United 29 (0)
1936–1937 Manchester United 15 (0)
1937 Newport County 10 (0)
1937–1939 Swansea Town 40 (0)
National team
1931–1938 Wales 14 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William Ronald "Roy" John (29 January 1911 – 12 July 1973) was a Welsh international footballer who played as a goalkeeper for Manchester United, Newport County, Sheffield United, Stoke City, Swansea Town and Walsall as well as the Wales national team.[2][1]

Football career

Born in Briton Ferry, John began his career with Briton Ferry Athletic before joining Swansea Town in 1927. At this time he was an outfield player, originally a full-back (where he was "not greatly appreciated")[3] before initially moving forward to play as a half-back, where he gained a reputation as "a resolute tackler with a useful kick".[3] He left Swansea in May 1928, having not played a Football League game for them.

He then joined Walsall, where he played for the reserve side as a half-back. Following the departure of Fred Biddlestone to Aston Villa in January 1930 and an injury to the reserve goalkeeper, manager Sid Scholey asked John to try out for the custodian's shirt. John did so well in a practice match that he was quickly promoted to first-team goalkeeper.[3] Within months he made his international debut, when he played for Wales against Ireland on 22 April 1931. His debut match ended in a 3–2 victory to the Welsh.[4] One writer of the time described him as "dashing and daring – a gay cavalier who laughs fortune in the face".[3]

After 88 league games for Walsall, he was transferred to Stoke City in April 1932, where he was part of the team which won the Football League Second Division title in 1932–33.[1] The local media described John's performances during that season as "simply brilliant".[1] He struggled though in the First Division and was sold to Preston in the summer of 1934.[1] After six months at Preston North End, John moved to Sheffield United in December 1934, for a transfer fee of £1,250. He made 29 League appearances for the Blades,[5] before he was sold to Manchester United in June 1936, for a fee of £600. His debut for the club finished in a 1–1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29 August 1936. He transferred to Newport County in March 1937, having made 15 appearances for United.[2]

He moved back to Swansea Town four months after joining Newport. In 1938, he helped Swansea reach the final of the Welsh Cup, where they were defeated by Shrewsbury Town in a replay.[6] He remained at the Vetch Field club until the Second World War cut his career short. He officially retired on 11 November 1939, when he became a hotel manager.[3]

During the war, John guested for several clubs in the north-west of England, including Southport, and in September 1942 he played for a Wales XI against the R.A.F.[3]

International career

John made 14 appearances for Wales in full internationals, helping Wales win the British Home Championship in 1933 and 1934.[3] During his time as the Wales goalkeeper, he alternated with Bert Gray and Len Evans.[7]

Career statistics

Club Season League FA Cup Total
Walsall 1928–29 Third Division North 400040
1929–30 Third Division North 10000100
1930–31 Third Division North 37040410
1931–32 Third Division North 37010380
Total 88050930
Stoke City 1931–32 Second Division 100010
1932–33 Second Division 40020420
1933–34 First Division 30030330
Total 71050760
Sheffield United 1934–35 Second Division 22020240
1935–36 Second Division 700070
Total 29020310
Manchester United 1936–37 First Division 15000150
Total 15000150
Newport County 1936–37 Third Division South 10000100
Total 10000100
Swansea Town 1937–38 Second Division 17000170
1938–39 Second Division 23010240
Total 40010410
Career Total 25301302670


Stoke City
Swansea Town


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0.
  2. 1 2 Graham, Mark. "William John". Manchester United A-Z players. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Davies, Gareth; Garland, Ian (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. Bridge Books. p. 100. ISBN 1-872424-11-2.
  4. "Wales 3 Ireland 2". Welsh Football Data Archive. 22 April 1931. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  5. Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: Tony Brown. p. 139. ISBN 1-899468-67-6.
  6. "Shrewsbury Town 2–1 Swansea Town". Welsh Cup Final replay. Welsh Football Data Archive. 19 September 1938. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  7. "Goalkeepers (in chronological order)". 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
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