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John Daniel 'Josser' Watling (born 11 May 1925) is a former professional footballer who played in The Football League for Bristol Rovers between 1945 and 1963.

Josser Watling
Personal information
Full name John Daniel Watling
Date of birth (1925-05-11) 11 May 1925 (age 94)
Place of birth Bristol, England
Height 5 ft 7.5 in (1.71 m)
Playing position Outside left/Left back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1945–1963 Bristol Rovers 323 (19)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Watling was a one-club man, whose only senior team was Bristol Rovers. Prior to joining The Pirates, he played for Plain House Youth Club, the Royal Navy, and St Andrew's Boys Club in Avonmouth, and he also had an unsuccessful trial at Plymouth Argyle at the end of the Second World War. He joined Bristol Rovers in October 1945, initially as an amateur, before signing his first professional contract in January 1947.

After having made 323 League appearances and scoring 19 goals, Watling retired from playing in 1963 but remained with the club for a further two years as a coach and scout before finally leaving in 1965 after spending twenty years with them.

Following his retirement from football, he worked as a storekeeper at Glenside Hospital in Bristol. He is also the cousin of boxer Terry Ratcliffe, who won the gold medal in the welterweight division at the 1950 British Empire Games.


  • Jay, Mike; Byrne, Stephen (1994). Pirates in Profile: A Who's Who of Bristol Rovers Players. Bristol: Potten, Baber & Murray. p. 282. ISBN 0-9524835-0-5.