7 January 2022

Leigh Richmond Roose (Stoke, Sunderland)

By Tolga Genç

Leigh Richmond “Dick” Roose (27 November 1877 – 7 October 1916) was a Welsh international footballer who was a goalkeeper for several professional clubs in the Football League between 1901 and 1912. Roose was known as one of the best players in his position during the Edwardian era.
Roose was born in Holt near Wrexham in Wales when Association Football was primarily confined to the country’s north. Roose briefly studied medicine at King’s College London.
He started his football career in 1895, making 85 appearances for Aberystwyth Town, and was shoulder to shoulder after his team’s 3-0 victory over the Druids in the 1900 Wales Cup final.
After signing with Stoke, Roose made 147 league appearances for the Staffordshire club between 1901–1904 and 1905–1906. Roose did not concede in 40 games during his Stoke career, a notable feat, especially as his team was in danger of relegation in 1901, 1902, and 1904. In the intervening season of 1904–05, Roose continued his magic at Stoke with Everton, where he helped reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1905. He arrived halfway through the 1904-05 season and replaced former Irish goalkeeper Billy Scott. Roose has not conceded in 8 games for Everton, a proportionally better record even than he broke at Stoke.
After leaving Everton, Roose went on to play in 91 league matches and seven cup games for Sunderland between 1907 and 1910, helping the club to finish second in the league on two occasions and “almost single-handedly” saving the team from relegation on a third. When a second broken wrist terminated his Sunderland career, there was some call for Roose’s services to be recognized with a testimonial. Since the player’s amateur status forbade this, an illuminated address was presented instead.
After leaving Everton, Roose played in 91 league and 7 cup games for Sunderland between 1907 and 1910. He helped the club take second place in the league twice and saved the team from relegation a third time “almost single-handedly.” When his Sunderland career was ended for the second time by a broken wrist, the call was made for Roose’s services to be crowned with a farewell.
At the end of his career, Roose fielded for Port Vale and Celtic in 1910. He played in one match for Celtic, a Scottish Cup semi-final where Celtic lost 1-3 to Clyde. Other clubs he has represented at least once include the Druids, Huddersfield Town (1910–1911), Aston Villa (1911), and Woolwich Arsenal (1911–1912).
Roose’s international career began in 1900 when they defeated Ireland 2-0. He was at goal in 24 matches and made his final appearance against Scotland in March 1911. He was one of Wales’ key players when the team won the British Championship for the first time in 1907, and at that time, Wales was not playing against any country other than the other British national teams.
The Football Association’s long-serving Secretary, Sir Frederick Wall, considered Roose, an intelligent man who was sensational as a goalkeeper and even had what has been described as the eccentricity of genius. He was often seen taking risks and leaving his castle. His remarkable physical presence was comparable to that of modern Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. For an extroverted goalkeeper like Foulke, Roose would send the ball directly to the opponent’s court or carry the ball with his hands to the midfield and shoot when he moved to the other court. Roose, a good shot receiver, was also very successful on penalties.