Southport FC Former Players Association (Port Online)

Promotion Personalities – Eric Redrobe

1989/90 Programme

The following article was published during the 1989-90 season in the match day programme and is reproduced here in full.

“When are you going to feature Eric Redrobe in ‘Promotion Personalities‘” is a question which Southport supporters have been asking me ever since the present series began. There is no doubt that Eric was immensely popular with the Haig Avenue fans, who immediately took to his bustling style and never-say-die spirit. He will long be remembered for his surging runs down the wing or through the middle and for the way he unsettled goalkeepers with the old fashioned shoulder-charge.

‘Big Red’ was a colossus of a man, weighing 13 stones and being over 6 feet tall. Wigan born, he attended Gidlow Secondary Modern School, where he represented the School soccer team, but outside the school he played Rugby League. He had a trial with Wigan and impressed so much that he was chosen for the Lancashire Schoolboys team.

Eric preferred Association Football and Bolton Wanderers spotted his talent and he went there straight from school. He gained two Youth International Caps and Played in an International Youth Tournament in Portugal. Signing professional at 17, Eric twice played for Bolton’s first team whilst they were in the First Division and also made two appearances in the Second Division, scoring in his last League appearance in a 2-1 defeat at Rotherham in November 1965.

On being freed by the Wanderers, Eric went for a trial to Colchester United and was a member of their side that played a friendly against Southport whilst on tour in Ireland. He impressed Billy Bingham so much that he offered him terms and he made his debut in the opening match of the 1966/67 season at Port Vale. Eric came into his own in the final promotion push, scoring the second goal in a thrilling 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers which virtually guaranteed promotion, and the following week he laid on the winning goal for George Andrews in the emotion charged last game of the season against Southend United.

Between 1967 and 1969, Redrobe formed a formidable spearhead with Terry Harkin and George Andrews. When the latter two were transferred in turn to Shrewsbury, it put an extra burden on “Red” who “carried” the forward line more than ever. In October 1972, after making 186 League appearances for Southport, he was transferred to Hereford United for 5,900 pound. His signing culminated in the amazing run of success which resulted in them gaining promotion to the Third Division in their first season in the Football League, finishing as runners-up to Southport. He made 75 Football League appearances for Hereford and a further 11 as substitute scoring 17 goats. He then had a spell with Ledbury Town but is now back home in Wigan, working as a Court Bailiff.

In June 1969, Eric was married to Margaret Lyon, whose brother Eric was an England Rugby International. Her other brothers also played rugby – Geoff played Rugby League for Wigan and Bill was with Chester R.U.F.C.

Few Southport players throughout the club‘s Iong history have earned such adulation from the Southport fans as Eric. His name intoned as Red-Robe or Eric-the-Redrobe became a rallying cry for the Haig Avenue faithful during the club‘s glory days.

Michael Braham