Jock Robson

Sporting Great from Innerleithen.

Born in Innerleithen on 15 April 1899 John Hardy "Jock" Robson played in position as a goalkeeper despite only standing at 5’8”. Jock Robson had served in the First World War with the 6th Seaforth Highlanders and after returning home he played for local side Vale of Leithen FC. In November 1921, Robson was signed by the English league club Arsenal for a fee of £5 , and initially was the club's third-choice goalkeeper behind Ernest Williamson and Stephen Dunn. With limited experience and his lack of height, Arsenal’s smallest ever goal keeper, Jock was never expected to be thrust into the first team as first choice ‘keeper’, but after Williamson was dropped for letting in 14 goals in the first five games, and Dunn, who not only let in the four against Bolton but two days before that let in four against Huddersfield, Jock Robson made his debut for Arsenal against Bolton Wanderers on Boxing Day 1922. Arsenal won 5-0 and Robson earned his place.

Robson played for the rest of the 1922-23 season, keeping twelve clean sheets in twenty matches, and he became a regular first team presence in the Arsenal side for the next season and a half. Arsenal were by no means a top side at this time, becoming dangerously close to relegation in 1924 and 1925, but Robson's athletic goal keeping helped keep them up. However, after Welsh International goalkeeper Dan Lewis joined Arsenal in late 1924, Robson had to share first team duties with him,

Robson started the 1925-26 season as first-choice goal keeper but after new Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman, who brought in a change of playing strip and took Arsenal to second in the league, signed Bill Harper in November 1925, Robson's days at Arsenal were numbered. He made his last first-team appearance in a 5-2 win against Manchester City on 7 November 1925. After spending the rest of the season in the reserves, Robson left Arsenal in August 1926 for Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. In all, he played 101 matches for Arsenal and 42 for Bournemouth.

After his time with Bournemouth Robson returned to Scotland and played for Montrose FC in the Scottish league. Thereafter he returned to Innerleithen and worked for the Burgh of Innerleithen, at one point looking after the Memorial Hall, and served the community as a retained fireman.

Jock Robson died in Innerleithen in 1995 aged 96.

Jock Robson at height of his career 1922