Ebbsfleet United are sad to report the death of one of the last surviving members of our 1957/58 Southern League Championship side. Jimmy Robertson passed away on June 11 after suffering a stroke at his home in Falkirk. He was 86.
Born in Falkirk on February 20, 1929, he began his career at local amateur club Dunipace Thistle. He moved to Arsenal in 1948 as a 19-year-old and also played Army representative matches while undergoing National Service. He played once for the Gunners, in 1951/52, before moving to Brentford in September 1953 as part of an exchange deal that saw Tommy Lawton travel in the opposite direction.
At Griffin Park he became a regular in a three-season spell, playing 84 times and scoring 14 goals. Fleet manager Lionel Smith, who played with Jimmy at Arsenal, brought him to Stonebridge Road for the start of the 1956/57 season and he enjoyed a long and successful spell with the Fleet.
In his second season the club won its first and only Southern League title and he was part of one of the most talented sides the Fleet have ever produced. His skills on the left wing made him a crowd favourite and he clocked up 207 appearances and 37 goals before injury ended his career in 1961.
Club historian Paul Harrison remembers, “It was a wet day against Folkestone in February 1961 and he was on the end of a bad tackle that broke his leg and that was it. He never played again. He was at the top of his game with us and could have carried on for a few more years as he was still in his early thirties. He was probably one of the last of that 1958 side, I can only think of the goalkeeper Peter Heathcote who is still with us.”
The club would like to extend their sympathies to Jimmy’s wife Helen, daughters Carol and Doreen and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.