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FORMER WREXHAM DEFENDER DIES AT 69.

FORMER Wrexham, Wales, Arsenal and Birmingham City footballer John Roberts has died aged 69.

Roberts made 191 appearances for the Dragons between 1976-80 and won 22 full international caps.

He also won a Championship medal - the equivalent of a Premiership title - after making 18 appearances in Arsenal's double-winning team of 1971.

The defender, born in Abercynon on September 11 1946, was an apprentice with Swansea City before turning pro in 1964.

The former locomotive fireman started as a striker, scoring 16 goals in 37 games before moving to Northampton Town in 1967. It was there he was converted to centre-half and attracted the interest of high-flying Arsenal.

Moving to London in 1969, Roberts stayed for three seasons before being snapped up by Birmingham City in 1972 for PS140,000. He spent four years at St Andrews, making 66 appearances, before Wrexham came knocking in August 1976.

The Dragons snapped him up for a bargain PS30,000 and a Division Three title, Welsh Cup triumph and European Cup Winners Cup glamour ties followed.

The side also gained a giant-killer reputation, reaching both the FA and League Cup quarter-finals, beating Newcastle along the way in the FA Cup.

He was taken by former international boss Mike Smith to Hull City before ending his career with Oswestry Town.

Roberts settled in Chester and worked as a stationery salesman and a driving instructor, as well as running designer clothing shops.

A statement on Wrexham FC's official website said: "Everyone at the Racecourse would like to pass on their sympathies to John's family and friends at this sad time."

A statement on Arsenal FC's website read: "Everyone at Arsenal Football Club was saddened to hear of the death of John Roberts. The thoughts of everyone at Arsenal are with John's family and friends."

Birmingham City said: "Everyone at Birmingham City sends their sincere condolences to John's family and friends."

CAPTION(S):

John Roberts, who played | 191 times for Wrexham between 1976-80, pictured during his Arsenal days

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 5, 2016
Words:331
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