Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROOSE , LEIGH RICHMOND ( 1877 - 1917 ), Association football player ,

one of the greatest players of his generation, goalkeeper for Wales . He had been thoroughly grounded in the fundamentals of his art, and gave interpretation to them in the style and manner of a man of genius. Spectators could only gaze in wonder at his prehensile grip, the immense power of his punch, and the prodigious length of his goal kicks; they could only guess at the uncanny intuition by which he divined the aims of his opponents, the swift agile mind that worked behind the small, narrow eyes. His personality dominated everything and everybody; and he was human enough to be more than delighted with the acclamations of the multitude.

Roose was born at Holt near Wrexham on 27 Nov. 1877 , the son of the Rev. R. L. Roose , the Presbyterian minister ; he was for a time at the Holt Academy before entering University College , Aberystwyth , in Jan. 1895 . He very soon became prominent in the Town and Gown matches , and in the skirmishes for the Welsh Cup . But it was not long before it became evident that the world of Town and Gown would not be enough to hold him; in Feb. 1900 , he was invited to play for Wales against Ireland , the first time out of six. Against England he appeared nine times, against Scotland , nine. His leisure moments were spent walking the London hospitals — ‘this eminent bacteriologist ’ was the term used of him by ‘ Tityrus ’ of the Athletic News — but in his more serious intervals he was playing either for Wales or for Everton , Sunderland , Stoke , or the Glasgow Rangers , always as an amateur, and always with that wonderful combination of sound judgement with flashes of colour and the triumph of the unexpected. He joined the Forces in the first World War , and was posted among the ‘missing’ in France in 1917 . Thus passed away not only a great player but a highly picturesque personality.

Sources:

  • Personal memories;
  • information from the Registrar of the University College of Wales and from G. G. Lerry , Wrexham ( 30 May 1949 );
  • Association Football Annuals ;
  • files of Athletic News , 1900-11.

Author:

Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959