Alf Robinson

Alf Robinson : Blackburn Rovers

Alfred Robinson was born in Manchester in 1888. A talented goalkeeper, he played local football before joining Gainsborough Trinity in 1908. After playing 54 league games in three years Robert Middleton persuaded Robinson to sign for Blackburn Rovers in 1911.

Robinson joined a defence that included players such as Bob Crompton, Arthur Cowell, Albert Walmsley, George Chapman, Percy Smith and Billy Bradshaw.

The 1911-12 season began badly with Blackburn Rovers losing two of its first three games. Robert Middleton decided to move George Chapman from centre-half to centre-forward. This was a great success and Blackburn's form gradually improved and the team went on an unbeaten run that lasted three months. This took them to the top of the league.

Despite being defeated by Bolton Wanderers and Arsenal, Blackburn went on another good run and by the end of the season they had three more points than main challengers, Everton. It was the first time in Blackburn's history that they had won the Football League title. Top scorers were Wattie Aitkenhead (15) and George Chapman (9). Robinson played well and Blackburn only conceded 43 goals league goals. Only Everton let in fewer goals that season.

Blackburn started the 1912-13 season very well and were undefeated until December. This was followed by five successive defeats. In an attempt to regain the championship, Robert Middleton broke the British transfer record by buying Danny Shea from West Ham United for £2,000. Patsy Gallagher, described Shea as "one of the greatest ball artists who has ever played for England... his manipulation of the ball was bewildering."

Robert Middleton also purchased another forward, Joe Hodkinson for £1,000. Shea scored 12 goals but it was not enough and Blackburn finished 5th that season. Edwin Latheron (14), Wattie Aitkenhead (13), George Chapman (10) were the club's other top scorers. The defence played well and conceded only 43 goals league goals. Only Manchester City had a better defensive record that season.

In July 1913, Alec Bell, the Scottish international left-half, joined Blackburn from Manchester United for £1,000. Bell was recruited as cover for the half-back line of Albert Walmsley, Percy Smith and Billy Bradshaw.

In the 1913-14 season Blackburn once again won the league title. Danny Shea was in great form scoring 27 goals. Edwin Latheron also did well that season with 13 goals. Both men also won international caps for England. The defence, marshaled by Bob Crompton, also performed well and only let in 42 league goals that season.

The following season Blackburn broke the transfer record again when they bought Percy Dawson for £2,500 from Heart of Midlothian. Blackburn Rovers scored 83 goals in 1914-15 season. However, their defence was not as good and Blackburn finished 3rd behind the champions, Everton. Dawson was top scorer with 20 goals. He was followed by Edwin Latheron (17), Danny Shea (13), George Chapman (9) and Wattie Aitkenhead (8).

Robinson returned to the Blackburn Rovers team after the First World War. By the time he left the club in 1920 Robinson had played in 144 games for the club.