Jump to content


Photo

John Robert Roberts - Modena FC


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 10,717 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 19 November 2021 - 08:09

Now I'm surprising myself here.  

 

Despite harbouring a lifelong antipathy towards professional football, I would like to know what became of the English (Liverpudlian-born) former captain of Enzo Ferrari's boyhood-period home-town football club, Modena FC, John Robert Roberts?

 

I gather he was a 'midfielder' (whatever that might be, tractor-mower driver?) and that his DoB was February 14, 1887.  He had formerly played for Wood Green 1910-11, then from the 1911-12 season in Italy for Genoa, then Milan, before Modena 1913-15.  His wife was Kathleen Baker Erie, and they had a Modena-born daughter, Iris.  Any idea of his post-Modena life?

 

DCN



Advertisement

#2 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 38,326 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 19 November 2021 - 09:15

His English-language Wikipedia page gives a different birth date of December 14th 1887, sourced from here: http://www.rsssf.com...yers-in-it.html

 

There's also an Italian Wikipedia page: https://it.wikipedia..._Robert_Roberts

 

A quick look at Ancestry shows there were a lot of John Roberts born in Liverpool about that time ...



#3 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 7,218 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 19 November 2021 - 15:32

Purely in the interest of pedantry, I must point out that he would not have been described as a midfielder at that time.  He would have been a wing-half or a centre-half as the number 5 did not begin to be withdrawn into a back three until the change in the offside rule in 1925.  Later in the 20s and 30s, the inside forwards were also withdrawn to form the classic WM formation which prevailed in England until Alf Ramsey's wingless wonders in the 1960s.



#4 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 10,717 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 19 November 2021 - 18:56

For the first time ever, Roger, I can't understand a word you have just written - ooh, football, that explains why...

 

Modena is of course the link, home town to a Mr Ferrari, Enzo Anselmo, who was in his youth a budding pro-am sports journalist covering - amongst other activities - kick ball, 'calcio'...

 

DCN



#5 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 23,787 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 19 November 2021 - 22:05

This biography on an Italian AC Milan site says that he returned to London in 1916 shortly after the birth of his daughter. He enlisted, apparently in 'his old regiment' and was sent to the Somme, after which all trace of him was apparently lost:

 

John Robert Roberts (magliarossonera.it)



#6 d j fox

d j fox
  • Member

  • 233 posts
  • Joined: November 05

Posted 19 November 2021 - 22:11

According to www.magliarossenera.it Roberts stayed with Modena at the outbreak of WW1 playing his last game for them on April 23rd He left for England at the end of the season (May?) with his wife Kathleen and daughter Iris ( born 28 March 1916) According to the site he joined his “old regiment” (?) and headed for the Somme where all trace of him was lost....Loads more detail about his footballing career on the site Hope this helps

Ha! posted 5 mins after Tim

Edited by d j fox, 19 November 2021 - 22:19.


#7 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 38,326 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 19 November 2021 - 23:16

I wonder if his name might have actually been Robert John Roberts? CWGC has a record for a 2nd Lt Robert John Roberts, whose parents lived in Liverpool and who was killed on October 28th 1918, aged 30, which would fit with the December 1887 birth date. However, there's no mention of him being married in the CWGC documentation.

 

https://www.cwgc.org...t-john-roberts/

 

Equally, I can't find a marriage record for Roberts/Erie in the right period - I also checked possible variations on Erie; Erle and Earl. Again nothing.

 

Of course if they weren't legally married then the CWGC probably wouldn't acknowledge it anyway.

 

The quotation on his headstone is from this hymn:

 

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/445



#8 sabrejet

sabrejet
  • Member

  • 701 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 20 November 2021 - 00:09

Further to the above (the Italian link cited above uses ‘John Robert’ and ‘Robert John’), Robert John Roberts' death at age 30 on 28 October 1918 would also agree with a December 1887 birth date. He’s listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website as a Second Lieutenant with 2 Coy, 6th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps and “Son of Mr. and Mrs. Owen Roberts, of 8, Alroy Rd., Anfield, Liverpool (a football connection too?)”. He died of wounds whilst a prisoner of war, having been posted missing on 25 October.



#9 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 10,717 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 20 November 2021 - 12:36

Poor Lt Robert John Roberts - to have run out of luck barely a fortnight before the Armistice.  Tragically, he was far from alone.

 

I wonder if he was, in fact, our man?

 

DCN



#10 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 38,326 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 20 November 2021 - 13:25

Wading through the sea of late 19th century-born Robert Robertses on Ancestry it struck me as very possible that your man might - either out of choice or necessity - have decided to use his middle name, perhaps because there was more than one in his class at school or in the same football team.

 

There are literally dozens of soldiers called Robert Roberts - with or without middle names - who turn up as 1918 deaths or who received military pensions. Mostly killed on the Western Front - and many of them Welsh. Unfortunately Lt Robert John Roberts' service record - which would have provided the necessary detail of enlistment - doesn't seem to have survived, so was presumably one of the ones destroyed in the fire at the War Office store when it was hit by an incendiary bomb in 1940.



#11 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 10,717 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 20 November 2021 - 13:28

Thanks for your time - I just wondered if he was at all well known amongst the historically-minded football fraternity...  I just suspect that Mr Ferrari's long-held quite high regard for British sportsmen might have been seeded by his early days following Modena FC games in which Roberts played. He later developed exceptionally high regard for such aristocratic British drivers as Earl Howe and 'Tim' Birkin ... and for their evident purchasing power.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 20 November 2021 - 13:36.


#12 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 38,326 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 20 November 2021 - 13:37

Thanks for your time - I just wondered if he was at all well known amongst the historically-minded football fraternity...

 

DCN

The Guardian online has a feature called 'The Knowledge' which explores very arcane and obscure aspects of football history. I think you're quite pally with someone who has connections to said publication ...  ;)