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Born: 10/03/1916 (Middlesbrough)
Died: 24/12/1979 (East Cleveland)
Leonard Verdun “Len” Robertson was very much the atypical footballer. He was born in South Bank, Middlesbrough in March 1916, a contemporary of South Bank’s most famous footballing son Wilf Mannion, and excelled a a schoolboy footballer. Yet by his early twenties he was living down the Normanby Road at Teesville, on the fringes of the Infant Hercules’ steel industry, working as a plater’s assistant in the steel fabrication industry and playing amateur football for Stockton. It was only during the later years of World War 2 that Len got involved in senior football as an inside forward, signing for Hartlepools United in 1944 and also playing wartime league matches as a guest player for Grimsby, Southport and Watford. In June 1946 he ventured south to join Watford on a permanent deal, where he made six appearances and scored two goals before returning north to Hull City in April 1947, shortly after a trial period at Bradford City.
He played the last two games of 1946/47 for City and started 7 of the first nine fixtures in the following season. Robertson scored goals in consecutive mid-October matches against Halifax Town and Bradford City, but these transpired to be his last two appearances for the Tigers as he was replaced by more experienced squad members (in terms of game time, if not age). He joined Accrington Stanley in July 1948 but had only one season at Peel Park, starting only three games, before ending his career at 33.
Records show that Robertson’s first wife died in 1948 in Hull, which perhaps goes a little way to explain why he saw little first team action that season. In 1958 he remarried and lived in Eston, just down the road from his native South Bank. In 1960, while employed back in the steel fabrication industry as a welder, he spent time in the West Indies. Len died in East Cleveland on Christmas Eve 1979.
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