Derek Tapscott, Arsenal 1934/1958

Derek Robert Tapscott was born in Barry 30 June 1932 and died 12 June 2008.  He was one of sixteen children.

After leaving school at 14 he worked as a delivery boy, TV repairman’s assistant and bricklayer (during which period he also played with Barry Town).

At the age of 18 he was called up for National Service and joined the Royal Engineers, moving into the drill staff, but also regularly played for Barry Town FC.  He served with Jim Fortheringham who was also a future member of Arsenal.

In 1953 he had a trial with Tottenham, before, in October 1953 he was then signed by Tom Whittaker for £4,000 (Wiki) or £2750 (Arsenal) or £2000 (The Guardian).   He played his first game for the first team on 10 April 1954 against Liverpool and scored twice.  He was just 5′ 9″ tall and weighed 10st 12lb – short and light for the average footballer, but had a reputation for being quick and brave.

He played for the most part inside right, although very occasionally inside left, His scoring was prolific and he was top scoring in 1955/6 and 1956/7, during an era of  Lawton (at the end of his career) Holton, Herd and Groves as centre forwards.   He also played for London in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1956.However an injury in playing for Wales put him out of the first team, and with other players pushing for the position he moved to Cardiff in September 1958 for £10,000.  He is the record holder for the most goals in a single game (6) during a 16-0 win in the Welsh Cup

Season League games Goals Manager
1953/4 5 5 Whittaker
1954/5 37 13 Whittaker
1955/6 31 17 Whittaker
1956/7 38 25 Crayston
1957/8 8 2 Crayston
Total 119 62  

He then moved on to Newport County of Division 5 before moving onto non-league clubs,  Cinderford Town, Haverfordwest County and Carmarthen Town retiring in 1970.  He won 14 caps for his country, scoring four goals.
During his time at Arsenal the side never came higher than 5th and did finish as low as 12th.  The club also never got past the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

After retirement from football he worked in the sporting goods trade for Gola and wrote his autobiography, Tappy.  He was married and had two daughters all of whom survived him.

The books…

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