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Goalkeepers Index Page Last Updated
18 January 2024

Jack Robinson

Derby County FC, New Brighton Tower FC, Southampton FC

11 appearances, 11 goals against
5 clean sheets, one penalty missed, three errors

P 11 W 8 D 1 L 2 F 29: A 11
77% successful


captain: none
minutes played:


  John William Robinson
Birth Friday, 22 April 1870 at The George IV Public House, 36 Leonard Street, Derby, Derbyshire
registered in Derby April-June 1870
Baptism 31 July 1870 in Derby

According to the 1871 census, John W. is the youngest of four children, to William and Sarah Ann (née Rickards), they live with two boarders at The George IV public house at 36 Leonard Street, in the St. Peter's area of Derby. His father is the licensed victualler.

"DEATHS. ...ROBINSON—March 31, at Leonard-street, Derby, Mr. Wm. Robinson, aged 39" - The Derby Mercury, Wednesday.4 April 1877
"TRANSFER OF LICENCES. —On Tuesday (yesterday) at the Derby Borough Police Court, the following licenses were transferred:—The George the Fourth, Leonard-street, from W. Robinson to his widow, S.A. Robinson." - The Derby Mercury, Wednesday.9 May 1877

According to the 1881 census, Sarah has remarried (on 28 Ma 1878) to Joseph Hanley. John W. is the youngest of all the four Robinsons to live with them, as well as two new step-siblings. They still live at the George IV. His step-father is a brickseller, as well as the Publican.


According to the 1891 census, J. is a joiner, lodging with the Smeaton family at 31 Grantham Street in Lincoln.

"THE LICENCE OF THE STAR VAULTS. —At the Borough Police Court this (Tuesday) morning the license of the Star Vaults, Market-street, was temporarily transferred from Charles Walker to John Robinson, the County goal-keeper." - The Derby Daily Telegraph, Tuesday.26 September 1893.
Marriage to Edith Walters, on 10 July 1893 at St. Chad's Church, Derby, Derbyshire
  registered in Derby July-September 1893
Children Jack and Edith Robinson had one daughter together, Edith May
The Star Inn, 33 Liverpool Road in Stoke

His step-father died in early 1894, followed by his mother in early 1896.
According to the 1901 census, John, following in his father's footsteps, is also a publican, and now married to Edith. They live at The Wareham Arms, 7 Park View in the Houndwell area of Southampton, together with two servants.
Newspaper Adverts show that he had been its proprietor since September 1898.

According to the 1911 census, John William is now a licensed victualler in Stoke. He is still married and they now have one daughter, Edith May. They live at the Star Inn at 33 Liverpool Road in the town (left).

"The Sporting Chronicle today states that it has received the following letter from Mr. J. W. Tough, the secretary of Rochester A.F.C., New York, and the journal submits it to the consideration of those people who admired the fine football of the famous international goalkeeper.
"We have amongst us J.W. Robinson, at one time England's International goalkeeper. Jack, I am sorry to say, is down and out. He has been subject to apopletic fits and is in the meantime in the hospital where he has undergone an operation for that profound disease. It will be a long a time before he can be himself again. The operation and the hospital fees will cost quite a large sum of money. We have done our best, but we cannot meet the necessary expenses, so I would be glad if any friends of Robinson's would try and help him out." Mr. Tough's address is 28, Arbutus-street, Rochester, New York." - The Western Evening Herald, Thursday, 8 January 1914

Cannot be found on the 1921 census, maybe still in Philadelphia? however, Edith, a housekeeper, and their daughter, Edith May, a railway clerk for the Midland Railway Company, are at 48 Dairyhouse Road in Derby, at the home of 81 year old uncle Robert Roberts.
A correct aged (51 years 2 months) John William is boarding with Ernest and Sarah Jane Barber at 173 Abbey Street in Derby, but it states that this one is 'sinngle'

"J.W. Robinson, the old Derby County, Plymouth Argyle, Southampton, and international goalkeeper, lies in the Derby Infirmary suffering from injuries caused, it is stated, by jumping through his bedroom window yesterday morning. He has been seriously ill for some time, and on the previous night his wife said he was delirious. He was admitted to the infirmary in a semi-unconscious condition, and remained so throughout the day" - The Western Evening Herald, Thursday, 21December 1922
Death  Wednesday, 28 October 1931 in Derby City General Hospital, Uttoxeter Road, Derby, Derbyshire, after a short illness. He had been living in Turnditch.
aged 61 years 189 days registered in Derby October-December 1931


"Memories of Jack Robinson
"The death of Jack Robinson, one of the most famous goalkeepers England ever had, which occurred in hospital at Derby, yesterday, will recall to supporters of Derby County some of the palmiest days in the history of the club. He played when the Goodalls, Steve Bloomer and Jimmy Methven were att their prime, and on eleven occasions was chosen to represent England in international matches. Robinson's transfer from Derby to New Brighton some 30 years ago was one of the sensations of the day. The late Jimmy Bulmer, the County's assistant secretary, had accepted the position of manager of the club which the proprietors of New Brighton Tower had formed as one of their attractions. They gave him carte blanche and he collected a team of all the talents, which for a time did well in the League. Jack Robinson received a tempting offer to join the new organisation, and his removal from Derby was a great blow to the County. Other good goal-keepers followed him, but it is questionable whether any of them quite came up to Robinson's standard. Later, he played for Southampton, and remained in the game for many years longer. More recently he has resided at Turnditch, maintaining his interest in his old club to the last.
He leaves a widow and daughter, to whom sympathy will be offered by many old Derby football enthusiasts, who remember Jack Robinson not only as a great player but as a good sportsman."
- The Derby Daily Telegraph, Thursday, 29 October 1931.
Saturday, 31 October 1931
"The funeral took place to-day of Mr. Jack Robinson, formerly one of England's leading goalkeepers, who died in hospital at Derby on Wednesday. Steve Bloomer, an old colleague, attended the funeral as representative of the Derby club and players. Among the wreaths was one from the directors, players and staff of Derby County F.C. It was decorated with club colours—black and white ribbons. Family mourners were: Mrs. Robinson (widow), Miss May Robinson (daughter), Mrs. Riggall (sister), Sergeant Hurley and Mr. Riggall." - The Derby Daily Telegraphs Saturday, 31 October 1931.

Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &

Playing Career

Began his career with Derby St. Neots FC in 1886 and Derby Midland FC the following year, before he joined Lincoln City FC in 1888. He returned to Derbyshire with Derby County FC in August 1891. Then, on 4 May 1897, Robinson was 'induced' to sign for for £5pw. However, the legalities were not completed in time and he re-signed with County....so both clubs believed they had Robinson's services for the 1897-98 season.
"The Football Association have issued their award in the dispute between the Derby County and New Brighton Tower Football Clubs in respect to John Robinson, the goalkeeper. A commission was held in Manchester on August 11th, and it was then decided that the New Brighton Club, before they could be affiliated, must furnish proof that they had purchased the interests of all the shareholders in the New Brighton Tower Company, and produce the transfers. In the award the association state that they are satisfied that the purchase referred to is in order, and subject to the undertaking being strictly and promptly carried out they decide...(5) that the registration of J. W. Robinson for Derby County is invalid, on the ground that Derby County knew that Robinson had entered into a legal agreement which would prevent him from carrying out his engagement with te; (6) that the engagement between J. W. Robinson and the New Brighton F.C. is cancelled, on the ground that it was not entered into in accordance with the rules of the Football Association." - Lincolnshire Echo, Thursday, 26 August 1897.
With New Brighton, he had signed a contract with a non-affiliated club, and with County, he had signed after entering into an agreement with the Lancashire League club, leaving both contracts void and Robinson a free agent and he re-signed for New Brighton Tower FC on 27 August.
In May 1898 Robinson eventually joined Southampton FC for £5 10s per week, for a £400 transfer fee, paid to Derby County FC, and were subsequently charged for poaching him with a £50 inducement. The rumour of negotiations had been denied for the weeks beforehand. After 116 Southern League appearances, he remained on the south coast when Plymouth Argyle FC signed him as their first professional goalkeeper on 1 May 1903, making another fifty appearances. During the 1904-05 season,
"Robinson's knee gave way and this resulted in his having to undergo ten operations. Two local doctors told him to lie in bed for three months and it would be twelve months before he would appear on the field again. However, Robinson visited Mr. H.A. Barber, the celebrated bone-setter, of Park-lane, London, who after three weeks treatment, completely cured the damaged knee" and Robinson returned to the reserves, before Exeter City FC signed him in late 1905. Millwall Athletic FC signed him on 10 November 1905. He was allowed to remain and train in Plymouth, however, before a return to Plymouth when he joined Green Waves FC, of the Plymouth & District League, in 1907. Exeter City FC again on 7 November 1908. Made one final move to Stoke FC in May 1909, retiring in 1912 after 55 appearances, when he left on 23 October 1912 to assist Philadelphia clubs in the United States, and played for Rochester FC of New York City. He left England with the intention to 'settle', but evidence suggests he soon returned.

League honours
163 appearances
Derby County FC 1891-1897 163 appearances
debut: 5 September 1891 Stoke FC 2 Derby County FC 1
last; 20 April 1897 Derby County FC 0 Everton FC 1.
"...and as the teams came out following half-time a rousing cheer at Stanley Park end greeted our esteemed friend of that time—Jack Robinson, te Derby goalkeeper. At tat time the Everton directors accorded permission to a worthy dame to sell penny packets of 'lemon drops' from the inside of the fence, and as Robinson was a particular favourite of hers she smilingly held up a packet of her wares to him as he approached the goal. Jack stepped round the goal behind the net, lifted his cap with that inimitable air he had, and accepted the packet with a few word of thanks.
  The instant before, the whistle had blown; Hartley transferred to Jack Bell, who sprinted the half distance to goal like the flier he was, whipped the ball across, and poor Robinson stood spellbound behind the net and watched Abraham Hartley drive the ball through the vacant space six and a half seconds after the resumption probably the quickest won goal on record." - The Green 'un, Saturday, 5 January 1918.
However great that story is....."Within five minutes of the interval, Methven accidentally fouled, and from the free-kick, which wa close in, Cox put through his own goal in attempting to stop a swift shot by Stewart." The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, Wednesday, 21 April 1897.
"The Everton forwards again attacked, and from a free kick close in, well taken by Stewart, the ball glanced off Cox into the net. Half-time was announced shortly afterwards." - The Liverpool Mercury, Wednesday, 21 April 1897

Club honours
Midland League winners 1889-90;
Lincolnshire Senior Cup winners 1890-91;
Football League Division One third place 1893-94 (25ᵃ), 1896-97 (30ᵃ), runners-up 1895-96 (30ᵃ);
FA Cup semi-finalists 1895-96, 1896-97, runners-up 1899-1900, 1901-02;
Lancashire League winners 1897-98;
Southern League winners 1898-99, 1900-01, 1902-03;
Individual honours None
Distinctions Also played Baseball for Derby.
Height/Weight 5' 11", nearly 13st [1898]. 5' 10", 13st. 4lbs [1901].


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

England Career

Player number One of five who became the 229th players (229) to appear for England.
Position(s) Goalkeeper; 27th goalkeeper to appear
First match No. 59, 20 February 1897, England 6 Ireland 0, a British Championship match at Trentbridge Cricket Ground, Brook Lane, West Bridgford, Nottingham, aged 26 years 304 days.
Last match No. 71, 9 March 1901, England 3 Ireland 0, a British Championship match at The Dell, Milton Road, The Common, Southampton, aged 30 years 321 days.
Major tournaments British Championship 1896-97, 1897-98, 1898-99, 1899-1900, 1900-01;
Team honours British Championship winners 1897-98, 1898-99, 1900-01;
Individual honours The South (four appearances, 12ᵍᵃ February 1899-February 1902)
Distinctions Robinson was England's most appearanced goalkeeper between 1900 and 1910, when Sam Hardy took the record.
Died 26 days after Andrew Amos

Beyond England

Emigrated to the Philadelphia, United States, in early November 1912, where he continued to play and train others the game. Returning to live in Turnditch, Derby, shortly before his death. One source suggests that Robinson was suffering with deafness, as a result to a kick to the head. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.211.

The Numbers
parties Apps Comp
minutes Goals
GA Av.
Comp GA Clean
Sht Av
11 11 11 990 11 90 min 11 5 45% none
The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.
11 8 1 2 29 11 +18 0 5 2.636 1 77.3 +6
All of his matches were played in the British Championship

Venue Record

Venue P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
Home 5 4 0 1 16 3 +13 0 3 3.20 0.60 80.0 +3
Away 6 4 1 1 13 8 +5 0 2 2.167 1.333 75.0 +3

Tournament Record

British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1896-97 2 1 0 1 7 2 +5 0 1 3.50 1.00 50.0 =0
BC 1897-98 3 3 0 0 9 3 +6 0 1 3.00 1.00 100.0 +3
BC 1898-99 2 2 0 0 6 1 +5 0 1 3.00 0.50 100.0 +2
BC 1899-1900 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 0 1 1.333 1.667 50.0 =0
BC 1900-01 1 1 0 0 3 0 +3 0 1 3.00 0.00 100.0 +1
BC All 11 8 1 2 29 11 +18 0 5 2.636 1.00 77.3 +6

All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 11 8 1 2 29 11 +18 0 5 2.636 1.00 77.3 +6
11 8 1 2 29 11 +18 0 5 2.636 1 77.3 +6

Match History

 Club: Derby County F.C. - two full appearances (180 min) 2ᵍᵃ F.A. International Select Committee - eleven full appearances (990 min) 11ᵍᵃx

apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

Age 26
1 59 20 February 1897 - England 6 Ireland 0
Trentbridge Cricket Ground, Nottingham
BC HW  c80 gk

one of five who became the 229th players (229) to appear for England
the sixth Derby County FC player to represent England
The 27th goalkeeper to play for England - twelfth competitive

2 61 3 April 1897 - England 1 Scotland 2
Sports Arena, Crystal Palace
BC HL 2ᵍᵃ
ᵍᵃtwo errors

 Club: New Brighton Tower F.C. - three full appearances (270 min) 3ᵍᵃ  

Age 27
3 62 5 March 1898 - Ireland 2 England 3
Cliftonville Gardens, Belfast
BC AW 2ᵍᵃ
ᵍᵃstrike & error

the only New Brighton Tower FC player to represent England

4 63 28 March 1898 - Wales 0 England 3
The Racecourse, Wrexham
BC AW   gk
5 64 2 April 1898 - Scotland 1 England 3
Celtic Park, Glasgow
BC AW 1ᵍᵃ

 Club: Southampton F.C. - six full appearances (540 min) 6ᵍᵃ  

Age 28 trial  
one appearance - The South vs. The North, 1 February 1899;

6 66 20 March 1899 - England 4 Wales 0
Athletic Ground, Bedminster
BC HW   gk

the first Southampton FC player to represent England

7 67 8 April 1899 - England 2 Scotland 1
Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham
BC HW 1ᵍᵃ
ᵍᵃrushed thro'

Age 29 trial  
one appearance - The South vs. The North, 7 March 1900;

8 68 17 March 1900 - Ireland 0 England 2
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
BC AW   gk

the first goalkeeper to make eight England appearances
the first goalkeeper to keep four clean sheets

9 69 26 March 1900 - Wales 1 England 1
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
BC AD 1ᵍᵃ
ᵍᵃclose in

the first goalkeeper to make nine England appearances

10 70 7 April 1900 - Scotland 4 England 1
Celtic Park, Glasgow
BC AL 4ᵍᵃ
ᵍᵃinc.shot & dribble

the first goalkeeper to make ten England appearances

Age 30 trial  
one appearance - The South vs. The North, 25 February 1901;

11 71 9 March 1901 - England 3 Ireland 0
The Dell, Southampton

the first goalkeeper to make eleven England appearances
the first goalkeeper to keep five clean sheets

Age 31 trial  
one appearance - The South vs. The North, 24 February 1902;

in 1910, his most goalkeeper appearance record will be broken
in 1913, his clean sheet records (5 matches) will be broken