Roderick Michael Belfitt (born 30 October 1945) is a former professional footballer who played for a number of English football teams. Born in Bournemouth[Note 1] and the family lived in South Africa and India before settling in Doncaster where he later played football for amateur side Doncaster United. After a short period at Arsenal he returned to Doncaster United. Later, after signing for another amateur team Retford Town, Belfitt turned professional in July 1963 signing for Leeds United then managed by Don Revie.
|Full name||Roderick Michael Belfitt|
|Date of birth||30 October 1945|
|Place of birth||Bournemouth, England|
|1975||→ Fulham (loan)||6||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Belfitt made his first team debut at Huddersfield on 23 September 1964 scoring the winning goal. With several Leeds forwards injured Belfitt was given a six-game run in the first team where he scored three times before being dropped by Don Revie. Appearances were limited until the 1966/67 season when he became a regular in February 1967. A European Cup semi-final first-leg game against Kilmarnock saw Belfitt scoring three goals in the opening 30 minutes in a 4–2 victory. Belfitt appeared in the goalless second leg and the two-legged final 0–2 defeat by Dynamo Zagreb. Although he saw more football the following season including a substitute appearance in the 1968 Football League Cup Final against Arsenal.
The following season (1968/9) Leeds won the league title but Belfitt was restricted to eight appearances (two of which were as substitute) but his three goals secured vital victories against Ipswich Town and Sunderland. Belfitt made even fewer appearances in 1969/70 with only a single league and two cup goals in 11 appearances. During 1970/1 Belfitt played more often with ten starts and 11 appearances as substitute yielding four goals. Injuries to Mick Jones and Allan Clarke saw Belfitt picked regularly but scoring just one goal in 16 appearances. He was dropped when Jones returned but following another injury a week later, Belfitt was not picked and promptly handed in a transfer request being signed by Bobby Robson at Ipswich Town for £55,000. Belfitt's last game was as a substitute away to Manchester United on 30 October 1971 (his 26th birthday).
During his 8 years at Leeds Belfitt scored 17 goals from 75 league appearances with a further 16 cup goals from 53 games.
Belfitt was successful from the start, scoring in his first two games for his new club (against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 6 November 1971 and Crystal Palace) and finished the season as equal leading scorer with 7 goals in 26 games equal with Mick Hill. Belfitt made a fine start to the following season with a goal against his old club Leeds featuring amongst them. A ninth goal was scored in a 2–2 draw at Everton on 28 October impressing manager Harry Catterick to make an offer for the striker. Belfitt moved to Merseyside on 30 October 1972, his 27th birthday, with David Johnson making the move from Everton in the opposite direction. Belfitt was valued at £65,000 in this deal.
Before Belfitt's move to Everton, he was invited to play for the Civil Service first eleven after a disappointing goal return from their attack. Belfitt's first game for Everton was away in a 1–0 defeat by Crystal Palace followed by a home game where he scored against Manchester City although Everton lost 3–2. Belfitt is possibly unique in scoring two consecutive goals for different teams in consecutive Everton home games having scored for Ipswich. After 17 games and three goals Belfitt as sold to Sunderland by new manager Billy Bingham for £70,000.
Belfitt spent a year at Sunderland scoring four goals in 24 appearances. His lack of goals is partly explained by being deployed with some success at centre half. Within a year Belfitt was transfer listed and in November 1974 spent a brief period on loan at Fulham scoring a single goal in six games. Belfitt was transferred in February 1975 to Huddersfield Town managed by former Leeds United teammate Bobby Collins.
Belfitt had joined a struggling Third Division side and was unable to help them stave off relegation to the Fourth Division (then the bottom tier of the Football League). He scored eight goals in 34 appearances before moving to non-league football in June 1975.
- 1968 Football League Cup
- Winners: 1968
- There are conflicting sources that state Belfitt was born in Doncaster
- "Rod Belfitt - Reliable grafter". The definitive history of Leeds United. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- Eastwood, John; Moyse, Tony (1986). The men who made the town (First ed.). Pentlow,UK: Almeida Books. pp. 152–154.