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John Robson (footballer, born 1950)

John Dixon Robson (15 July 1950 – 12 May 2004) was an English professional footballer who played as a defender. He began his career with Derby County, helping the side win the First Division title during the 1971–72 season, before joining Aston Villa in December 1972 for £90,000.

John Robson
Personal information
Full name John Dixon Robson[1]
Date of birth (1950-07-15)15 July 1950
Place of birth Consett, England
Date of death 12 May 2004(2004-05-12) (aged 53)
Place of death Sutton Coldfield, England
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1972 Derby County 171 (3)
1972–1978 Aston Villa 144 (1)
National team
1970–1973 England U23 7 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

With Villa, he made over 150 appearances in all competitions and won the Football League Cup in 1975 and 1977. In 1978, he was diagnosed with the early stages of multiple sclerosis and was forced to retire from football.


Robson was born in Consett, Durham and represented the county at schoolboy level before joining Derby County.[2] He made his debut for the England under-23 side in 1970 and went on to win a total of seven caps for the side.[2] He established himself in the first-team and, during the 1971–72 season, Robson missed just one match as he helped the club win the First Division title.[3]

In December 1972, Aston Villa manager Vic Crowe paid £90,000 to sign Robson.[4] He helped the club to win the Football League Cup twice, in 1975 and 1977,[5] and went on to make 176 appearances in all competitions.[2][6] At the age of 28, he was diagnosed as being in the early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) and was forced to retire from playing.[5]

After footballEdit

Following his retirement, Robson ran a newsagents in Boldmere,Sutton Coldfield but was forced to leave the job when his MS worsened.[5] He struggled to deal with the psychological effects of his condition until he was rushed from a hospice in Erdington and died a day later at Good Hope Hospital at the age of 54 on the 12th of May 2004. Having lost the majority of his money earned during his footballing career in several failed business projects, Robson's son Gary later stated that his father had died "penniless".[5]


Derby County
Aston Villa


  1. ^ "John Robson". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "John Robson". Aston Villa Player Database. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Rams' match remembers John Robson". BBC News. 3 August 2004. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Glittering highs and sad lows for John Robson". Express & Star. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Brett Gibbons (18 February 2012). "Former Aston Villa and Derby County star John Robson died virtually penniless, says Birmingham-born son". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. ^ Brett Gibbons (3 March 2012). "Son of tragic Aston Villa ace John Robson nets £4k from memorabilia sale". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 1 January 2018.