Roger Ord – Arsenal keeper who made his last appearance 17 March 1900.


Roger Ord was the Woolwich Arsenal goalkeeper from 1897 to 1900.  He was born in Northumberland in 1871 (I don’t have a date of his death) and played for Hebburn Argyle, Middlesbrough Ironopolis, Hebburn A (for a second time) and then Woolwich Arsenal.  After leaving Plumstead he went to Luton Town in September 1900 and ended up at Wellingborough.

He played 99 times for Arsenal (89 in the league, 10 FA Cup) and was also “A useful cricketer” according to Bernard Joy.

He made his league debut in a 4-1 win over Grimsby Town on the opening day of the 1897/98 campaign and played his last game on 17 March 1900.

Hebburn Argyle AFC, or as they were often known, “The Irish Highlanders” were formed by parishioners at the local church.  Formed in 1882 (four years before Royal Arsenal) they were originally called St Aloysius Juniors.

The Tyneside League was founded in 1891, and Hebburn Argyle, applied to be a member but were rejected.  After this they started bringing in professional footballers, and this is when Roger Ord came in although I don’t know how many times he played for the club.

During his time at Arsenal he kept 29 clean sheets out of his 99 games.  a ratio of 3.41 percent which makes him the 16th highest on the Arsenal clean sheets list.

And that’s about it for Roger Ord – a player of whom we know a little in footballing terms, but really not too much.

His final destination – Wellingborough – is actually very close to my home, and so I can add a little there.  The original Wellingborough Town FC was formed in 1867 – 19 years before Royal Arsenal – and is the sixth oldest football club in England – although initially they played a different sort of football – only becoming a football club in the modern sense in 1869.

Wellingborough Town claim to be the first club to play under floodlights when they played Bedford around this time – but again details are lacking.

Wellingborough joined Division 1 of the Southern League in 1901, and moved to the ground they still use (and currently share with Rushden and Diamonds) at the Dog & Duck, London Road, Wellingborough.   This was where they stayed until 1906, and I suspect this period included Roger Ord as their keeper – although I don’t have records to check this.

As you can’t have failed to note, “details missing” is just about the main aspect of this report.  If you know anything more about Roger Ord or his time in football, please do write in.


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16 Replies to “Roger Ord – Arsenal keeper who made his last appearance 17 March 1900.”

  1. Hello, Roger was my Great Grandad. It is probably my entry on Genes Reuinited you are referring to. His mum’s maiden name (and his middle name)was Gillis which was how I was able to identify definitively that I had the correct person for his death. He died in Didsbury in the house next door to where my grandparent’s (his daughter)lived.Lynda

  2. Hi Tony you’re very welcome. I will see what other information I have and let you know. I have a photo of him , I think in the Wellingborough line up. Sadly I haven’t yet found on of him with the Arsenal team. Lynda

  3. Hi Tony. I’m Roger’s great grandson (and Lynda’s brother!). I’ve researched Roger’s football career, mainly during his time at Arsenal. from local newspaper reports and news items of the time. I have match reports of all his Football League appearances for Arsenal and some of his appearances in the other leagues of the time. There is some nice stuff, including a great report of how he saved a penalty by rushing the taker and diving at his legs (it seems that goalies were allowed to leave their line on the ref’s whistle in those days!). I’m a journalist myself who spent some time as a sportswriter. I’d be happy to write an account of Roger’s career for you from the info I have if you’d find it of interest. I have a photocopy of an Arsenal team photo of the time with him on it, also one at Luton Town. He had a great moustache but, looking at the rest of his teammates, you clearly looked a bit out of place in later Victorian Britain without one! Please reply to my email address. Paul

  4. Paul – 1000% yes please do write all you can – and also if you can scan in any newspaper cuttings or programmes that would be good. The rushing from the goal line is interesting – I didn’t know that was the rule. In the early days the keeper could handle anywhere in his own half, but the rushing the keeper is a new one … anything you have on that would be great too.

  5. No worries Tony and I also have your email reply. I’ll dig out my Roger folder in the next few weeks and put something together, then you can use it as you wish. I have copies of the newspapers articles but no programmes or photos of Roger in action. So if anyone has either of those I’d love to see them and maybe make copies.The keeper rule is what I deduced from the incident as described so I will scan that and you can see what you think. Always thought a book on the changing rules of football would be interesting – the FA and League must surely have this stuff in their archives?

  6. Hi Tony, did you get any more information from Paul and if so did you publish it anywhere please?

  7. Martin

    Anything I do get tends to be published on the site – usually as a comment under the article. But you can always search using the search facility on the site – just write in what you are searching for – so in this case Roger Ord. Any article that has his name in full will come up at the top of the search list results – so the relevant articles are always there first.


  8. I think his daughter Gladys Maud was married to my great uncle,I would like to know
    for sure they lived in Northumberland.

  9. Roger Gillis Ord married my Great Grand Aunt in 1894 so I do have a bit of his family history. I had a letter from John Burt your historian in 1984. You have replies from people who are obviously related to me, although quite distant, so would it be possible to contact them through this page. I wouldn’t like my e-mail published but it’s ok to pass it on to Paul etc. I have a couple of photographs of Roger as a team member of Shankhouse Black Watch in 1891/2.

  10. Hi
    I was wondering if you can help I’m trying to find a photograph of Roger ORD , He made one appearance for Everton in his career and id like to add a picture of him , I have a squad picture from Hebburn but don’t know which one would be him.

    it would be great if you can help

    kind regards

    Richie Gillham
    EFC Heritage Society

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